Corners of the Earth | Free Online Biblical Library

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Corners of the Earth

CORNERS OF THE EARTH, Heb. מֵאַרְבַּ֖ע כַּנְפֹ֥ות הָאָֽרֶץ Isaiah 11:12 and variations in Job 37:3 and 38:13; Ezekiel 7:2. A phrase to describe the expanse of the physical earth derived from semantic equivalents of great antiquity. The phrase, “four corners,” as expressive of the whole earth or a country, occurs in inscrs. of the Old Akkadian and Old Babylonian period (c. 2300 b.c.).

International Standard Bible Encyclopedia (1915)

The "corners" or "ends" of the earth are its "wings" (kanephoth ha-’arets), i.e. its borders or extremities. The word in general means a wing, because the wing of a bird is used as a covering for its young, and from this meaning it acquires that of the extremity of anything stretched out. It is thus used in De 22:12: "Thou shalt make thee fringes upon the four borders (wings) of thy vesture, wherewith thou coverest thyself." It thus also means the coasts or boundaries of the land surface of the earth; its extremities. It is translated "corners" in Isa 11:12; "ends" in Job 37:3, 38:13. The "four corners" of the earth (Isa 11:12) or "land" (Eze 7:2) are therefore simply the extremities of the land in the four cardinal directions.

See also ASTRONOMY, sec. III, 3.