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EARTH (Heb. ’ădhāmâh, ground; ’erets, earth; Gr. gē, earth; oikoumenē, inhabited earth; kosmos, orderly arrangement). The Hebrew word ’ădhāmâh most commonly means the tilled reddish soil of Palestine. But it is also used to denote a piece of real estate (
Sometimes it is difficult to tell whether the earth or the land is meant, particularly in the prophetic books. For example, in
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia (1915)
(’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" (
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
`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
In the Septuagint and
See further ANTHROPOLOGY; ASTRONOMY; EVOLUTION; WORLD.