Island, Isle

ISLAND, ISLE. These words are translations of the Hebrew i, which has a much wider significance than the English words. Its root meaning is supposed to be “habitable land.”

1. Dry land, as opposed to water (Isa.42.15).

2. An island as usually understood (Jer.2.10).

3. A coastland, whether belonging to continents or islands, as the coastland of Palestine and Phoenicia (Isa.20.6) and the coasts and islands of Asia Minor and Greece (Gen.10.5).

4. The farthest regions of the earth (Isa.41.5; Zeph.2.11). The Jews were not a maritime people, and so there are not many references to islands in the OT. Most of them are found in Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Ezekiel. In the NT a number of islands are mentioned in connection with the missionary journeys of the apostle Paul, viz., Cyprus, Crete, Lesbos, Samos, Samothrace, Chios, Melita, and Sicily. John was banished to the Isle of Patmos for the sake of the Word of God (Rev.1.9).