Learning Biblical Hebrew
2/19/10 at 10:47 AM 0 Comments

Jewish Mythology- Tehom

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According to the Bible, Tehom means abyss or "the deep". Tehom refers to the great deep of the primordial waters of creation. In the ancient world, the water of the Tehom is perceived as a threat that can destroy the world but also as an essential source.
There are a few interpretations to Tehom in the Scriptures:
Tehom is first mentioned in Genesis 1:2:
" וְהָאָרֶץ, הָיְתָה תֹהוּ וָבֹהוּ, וְחֹשֶׁךְ, עַל-פְּנֵי תְהוֹם; וְרוּחַ אֱלֹהִים, מְרַחֶפֶת עַל-פְּנֵי הַמָּיִם."

"Now the earth was unformed and void, and darkness was upon the face of the deep; and the spirit of God hovered over the face of the waters."
According to Genesis 7:11 the Tehom is the source of all springs of water and rivers including Noah's flood.

Tehom can also be found in Exodus 15:5, describing the crossing of the Sea of Reeds and the subsequent destruction of Pharaoh's army:
" תְּהֹמֹת, יְכַסְיֻמוּ; יָרְדוּ בִמְצוֹלֹת, כְּמוֹ אָבֶן."

"The deeps cover them--they went down into the depths like a stone."
Tehom is also identified with evil. The word Tehom appears in the context of sea monsters, as

mentioned in Psalms 148:7:
" הַלְלוּ אֶת-יְהוָה, מִן-הָאָרֶץ-- תַּנִּינִים, וְכָל-תְּהֹמוֹת."

"Praise the LORD from the earth, ye sea-monsters, and all deeps".

In Job 38:16 Tehom refers to something that is very far from the person:
" הֲבָאתָ, עַד-נִבְכֵי-יָם; וּבְחֵקֶר תְּהוֹם, הִתְהַלָּכְתָּ.?"

"Hast thou entered into the springs of the sea? Or hast thou walked in the recesses of the deep?"

 Main phrases of the post + transcription + translation

Hebrew  Transcription Translation
תְּהוֹם      tehôm          Deep
אִיּוּם       'iyûm           Threat
מַבּוּל      mabbûl         Flood
מַיִם      mayim           Water
תַּנִּין       tannîn           Crocodile
יָם         yām              Sea
מִפְלֶצֶת   mipletset      Monster


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