[b-hebrew] A VISUAL EXPRESSION OF A THEOLOGICAL IDEA OF THE SKY/HEAVEN
George.Athas at moore.edu.au
Tue Sep 4 03:22:03 EDT 2012
In your examples, the noun פנים in the expression על פני refers to the face of people. As such, it has a personal usage ('against' or 'opposite'). This is certainly not the case in Gen 1.20, unless you want to propose the רקיע is a being, which I don't think you do. This is a common distinction: the 'face' of people and the 'surface' of things. Same word in Hebrew (פנים), but different connotations and different words in English.
The birds fly through the sky, but the sky that is under the רקיע, which stands as a dome-like roof above everything. The birds flying through the שׁמים are thus seen to be flying 'across the surface' of the רקיע above them. You are confusing שׁמים with רקיע, but they are distinct.
Dean of Research,
Moore Theological College (moore.edu.au)
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