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Genesis 1:9-13 DAY 3
Pillars of the Earth


The Bible also talks about the pillars of the earth. In Job 9:6 it says, "Who shakes the earth out of its place, and its pillars (ydwmu) tremble." The LXX says, "Who shakes the earth under heaven from its foundations and its pillars (stuloi) totter." In Psalm 75:3 it says, "The earth and all its inhabitants are melting away; I set firm its pillars (ydwmu)." The LXX says, "I have strengthened its pillars (stuloi)." In I Samuel 2:8 it says, "For the pillars of the earth are the Lordís and he had set the world upon them." The Hebrew word for pillar is yqxm. The root is qx meaning "to melt" (BDB 1980, 848). Therefore, yqxm means, "a molten like pillar." The only other place it occurs is in I Samuel 14:5 referring to a mountain. Probably the pillars of the earth are the same thing as the foundations of the earth which were mountains.

In Ugaritic we have seen that there are two mountains, trgzz and trmg that bind the earth. Gibson says that these twin mountains were founded in the earth-encircling ocean, and held up the firmament, and also marked the entrance to the underworld (1978, 66). The mountains are said to bind the earth. This may indicate that the mountains surrounded, and supported the earth as well as confine the netherworld. The mountains were seen as the foundations of the earth, and the support pillars for the heavens. The Hebrews probably held a very similar view as the verses above indicate, as well as later Hebrew writings. So the phrase "pillars of heaven" and "pillars of earth" are referring to the same mountains. One emphasizes the height of the mountains holding up heaven, the other emphasizes the depth of the mountains that hold the earth firm.

Dead Sea Scrolls

In an Aramaic text of the Testament of Levi from Qumran it says, "And I saw the heavens opened and I saw below me a high mountains which touched the heavens and I was upon it. And the gates of heaven were opened to me" (Clifford 1972, 188). So even those at Qumran believed certain mountains reached heaven.

Next - Genesis 1:9-13 - Ends of the Earth
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