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The Blue Letter Bible

Dictionaries :: Earth

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Easton's Bible Dictionary


(1.) In the sense of soil or ground, the translation of the word adamah'. In Gen 9:20 "husbandman" is literally "man of the ground or earth." Altars were to be built of earth (Exd 20:24). Naaman asked for two mules' burden of earth (2Ki 5:17), under the superstitious notion that Jehovah, like the gods of the heathen, could be acceptably worshipped only on his own soil.

(2). As the rendering of 'erets, it means the whole world (Gen 1:2); the land as opposed to the sea (1:10). Erets also denotes a country (21:32); a plot of ground (23:15); the ground on which a man stands (33:3); the inhabitants of the earth (6:1; 11:1); all the world except Israel (2Ch 13:9). In the New Testament "the earth" denotes the land of Judea (Mat 23:35); also things carnal in contrast with things heavenly (Jhn 3:31; Col 3:1,2).

International Standard Bible Encyclopaedia


urth ('adhamah, ?erets, ?aphar; ge, oikoumene):

In a hilly limestone country like Palestine, the small amount of iron oxide in the rocks tends to be oxidized, and thereby to give a prevailing reddish color to the soil. This is especially the case on relatively barren hills where there is little organic matter present to prevent reddening and give a more blackish tinge.

?Adhamah (compare ?adham, "a man," and Adam) is from ?adham, "to be red," and is used in the senses: "earth" (Ex 20:24), "land" (Ps 105:35), a "land" or country (Isa 14:2), "ground" (Ge 4:11), "the earth" (Ge 7:4).

The word most in use is ?erets, undoubtedly from a most ancient root occurring in many languages, as English "earth," German Erde, Arabic ?ard. It is used in most of the senses of ?adhamah, but less as "soil" and more as "the earth" as a part of the universe; frequently with shamayim, "heavens," as in Ge 1:1: "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth."

?Aphar and its root word and derivatives are closely paralleled in the Arabic, and refer mainly to "dust" or "dry earth" (compare Arabic ?afir, "to be of the color of dust"; ?afar "dust"; ya?fur, "a gazelle"; Hebrew ?opher, "a gazelle"). Compare Ge 2:7: "Yahweh God formed man of the dust of the ground"; Job 2:12: ".... sprinkled dust upon their heads"; Ps 104:29: ".... they die, and return to their dust"; Ge 18:27: "dust and ashes."

In the Septuagint and New Testament, ge is used in nearly all cases, oikoumene being used a few times for the "habitable earth," as in Lu 21:26 the King James Version.





Vine's Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words
1 Strong's Number: g1065 Greek: ge



(a) "earth as arable land," e.g., Mat 13:5, 8, 23; in 1Cr 15:47 it is said of the "earthly" material of which "the first man" was made, suggestive of frailty;

(b) "the earth as a whole, the world," in contrast, whether to the heavens, e.g., Mat 5:18, 35, or to heaven, the abode of God, e.g., Mat 6:19, where the context suggests the "earth" as a place characterized by mutability and weakness; in Col 3:2 the same contrast is presented by the word "above;" in Jhn 3:31 (RV, "of the earth," for AV, "earthly") it describes one whose origin and nature are "earthly" and whose speech is characterized thereby, in contrast with Christ as the One from heaven; in Col 3:5 the physical members are said to be "upon the earth," as a sphere where, as potential instruments of moral evils, they are, by metonymy, spoken of as the evils themselves;

(c) "the inhabited earth," e.g., Luk 21:35; Act 1:8; 8:33; 10:12; 11:6; 17:26; 22:22; Hbr 11:13; Rev 13:8. In the following the phrase "on the earth" signifies "among men," Luk 12:49; 18:8; Jhn 17:4;

(d) "a country, territory," e.g., Luk 4:25; Jhn 3:22;

(e) "the ground," e.g., Mat 10:29; Mar 4:26, RV, "(upon the) earth," for AV, "(into the) ground;"

(f) "land," e.g., Mar 4:1; Jhn 21:8, 9, 11. Cp. Eng. words beginning with ge--, e.g., "geodetic," "geodesy," "geology," "geometry," "geography."

2 Strong's Number: g3625 Greek: oikoumene


the present participle, Passive Voice, of oikeo, "to dwell, inhabit," denotes the "inhabited earth." It is translated "world" in every place where it has this significance, save in Luk 21:26, AV, where it is translated "earth."

Note: For epigeios, translated "on earth" in Phl 2:10, ostrakino, "of earth," 2Ti 2:20, and katachthonios, "under the earth," Phl 2:10, see EARTHEN.

Smith's Bible Dictionary


The term is used in two widely‐different senses:

(1). for the material of which the earth's surface is composed;

(2). as the name of the planet on which man dwells. The Hebrew language discriminates between these two by the use of separate terms, adamah for the former, erets for the latter.

(1.) Adamah is the earth in the sense of soil or ground, particularly as being susceptible of cultivation (Genesis 2:7).

(2.) Erets is applied in a more or less extended sense-

(1). to the whole world (Genesis 1:1).

(2). to land as opposed to sea (Genesis 1:10).

(3). to a country (Genesis 21:32).

(4). to a plot of ground (Genesis 23:15) and

(5). to the ground on which a man stands (Genesis 33:3). The two former senses alone concern us, the fairest involving an inquiry into the opinions of the Hebrews on cosmogony, the second on geography.

(3.) Cosmogony.-

(1). The Hebrew cosmogony is based upon the leading principle that the universe exists, not independently of God, nor yet co‐existent with God, nor yet in opposition to Him as a hostile element, but dependently upon Him, subsequently to Him and in subjection to Him.

(2). Creation was regarded as a progressive work-a gradual development from the inferior to the superior orders of things.

(4.) Geography.-There seems to be traces of the same ideas as prevailed among the Greeks, that the world was a disk (Isaiah 40:22) bordered by the ocean, with Jerusalem as its centre, like Delphi as the navel, or, according to another view, the highest point of the world. As to the size of the earth, the Hebrews had but a very indefinite notion.

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