[b-hebrew] "The eye of the earth"

Yigal Levin leviny1 at mail.biu.ac.il
Sun Jun 27 18:04:53 EDT 2004

Shalom Y'all,

In Balak's message to Balaam (Num. 22:5), which he repeats to God in verse 11, he refers to the Israelites as "there is a people come out from Egypt, behold, they cover )t (YN H)RC (et `ein ha-arec)". This is usually translated as "the face of the earth". The general meaning is clear, they are so many that they cover the whole land. 

However, an (YN, literally "eye", is usually something small and localized. It's most common use outside of anatomy is for "spring" or "well". 

So what exactly is "the eye of the earth"? Why should "eye" mean "face"?


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