[b-hebrew] Genesis 1:6-7, 8:1, Waters Above and Below

david.kimbrough at charter.net david.kimbrough at charter.net
Mon Jun 14 01:48:19 EDT 2004

The key to undestanding this section for me is found in 
Genesis 8, the story of the flood.  After the flood waters 
had been on the earth for 150 days, God sent a wind (RWX, 
just like in Genesis 1 where the same RWX that *fluttered* 
over the water) after the *springs of the deep* [thywm, the 
same *deep* as Genesis 1 ] and the sluicegates  of heaven 
(again the same #mym as in Genesis) were stopped up.  The 
RWX caused the waters to receed.

The two sections of Genesis 1 and 8 both present a similar 
image (according the DH folks, these are both P portions).  
The eart is surrounded by water, above and below.  The 
firmament  [ lrky) ]above holds back the waters above while 
the firmament (earth) below hold back the waters below. 
This is what Genesis 1:6 says, separating the water from 
the water.  After Noah, there is a second creation of 

The world was just water until God created the firmament 
which pushed the waters apart, creating an empty space, a 
void, between the sky and the earth.  When God destroyed 
the earth, he allowed the water above and below to fill 
enough of the void to wipe out all life except for what 
floated in Noah's box.

> From: "Dora Smith" <villandra at austin.rr.com>
> Date: 2004/06/14 Mon AM 04:04:52 GMT
> To: <b-hebrew at lists.ibiblio.org>
> Subject: [b-hebrew] Question on Genesis 1:6-7
> I have a question about the meaning of raqiya in GEnesis 
1.  Also the
> phrase, v'yhiy mav'diyl, beyn mayiym lamayiym.
> First of all, the notion that raqiya means "heaven", 
"sky" or "air" makes
> little sense.   I always thought that "firmament" means 
hard land, because
> the English word contains the word "firm", and because 
only land in that
> context makes any sense.
> Here is how verses 6 and 7 translate.   And God said, let 
tehre be a sky in
> the midst of the waters.   and let there be divided, 
between/among the
> waters to/for the waters.    Which is translated, and let 
the sky divide the
> waters from the waters.   How does any part of this add 
> And God made the sky, and he separated between the the 
waters which were
> "from under" the sky, and the waters which were "from 
upon" the sky.
> (mitachat and mi'al)    Whatever that means.   No clue 
why not just say
> tachat and al; under and upon, if that's what it means.   
Translated as God
> made the sky, and divided the waters which were under the 
sky from the
> waters which were over the sky.
> All of this after verse 2 just got through explaining 
that the Earth had no
> form at all, it was completely empty, and God hovered 
over the waters- how
> did he manage that if there was no sky?   And where did 
the light that he
> created shine if all there was was water and mysteriously 
some space above
> the water where the breath of God blew in the not air 
which he hadn't
> created yet.
> And what sort of waters were above the sky?
> Can someone please make sense of these words?
> Yours,
> Dora Smith
> Austin, Texas
> villandra at austin.rr.com
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David Kimbrough
San Gabriel

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