Earth [N] [S]

  • In the sense of soil or ground, the translation of the word adamah' . In Genesis 9:20 "husbandman" is literally "man of the ground or earth." Altars were to be built of earth ( Exodus 20:24 ). Naaman asked for two mules' burden of earth ( 2 Kings 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 ( Genesis 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 ( 2 Chronicles 13:9 ). In the New Testament "the earth" denotes the land of Judea ( Matthew 23:35 ); also things carnal in contrast with things heavenly ( John 3:31 ; Colossians 3:1 Colossians 3:2 ).

    These dictionary topics are from
    M.G. Easton M.A., D.D., Illustrated Bible Dictionary, Third Edition,
    published by Thomas Nelson, 1897. Public Domain, copy freely.

    [N] indicates this entry was also found in Nave's Topical Bible
    [S] indicates this entry was also found in Smith's Bible Dictionary

    Bibliography Information

    Easton, Matthew George. "Entry for Earth". "Easton's Bible Dictionary". .

  • Earth. [N] [E]

    The term is used in two widely-different senses: (1) for the material of which the earths 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.

    [N] indicates this entry was also found in Nave's Topical Bible
    [E] indicates this entry was also found in Easton's Bible Dictionary

    Bibliography Information

    Smith, William, Dr. "Entry for 'Earth'". "Smith's Bible Dictionary". . 1901.


    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" (Exodus 20:24), "land" (Psalms 105:35), a "land" or country (Isaiah 14:2), "ground" (Genesis 4:11), "the earth" (Genesis 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 Genesis 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 Genesis 2:7:

    "Yahweh God formed man of the dust of the ground"; Job 2:12: ".... sprinkled dust upon their heads"; Psalms 104:29:

    ".... they die, and return to their dust"; Genesis 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 Luke 21:26 the King James Version.


    Alfred Ely Day

    Copyright Statement
    These files are public domain.

    Bibliography Information
    Orr, James, M.A., D.D. General Editor. "Entry for 'EARTH'". "International Standard Bible Encyclopedia". 1915.