WEST (Heb. yām, sea, māvô’, setting of the sun, ma‘ărāv, west, Gr. dysmē). Yām, “sea,” is the Hebrew word usually used for “west,” because the
WEST. For any nation occupying a Palestinian homeland the W has a threefold significance. (1) It is the direction in which the sun sets; hence Heb. מָבוֹא, H4427, sunset, Gr. δυσμή, G1553, for W. (2) It is the direction in which the sea lies; hence Heb. יָם, H3542, sea, also used for W. (3) In consequence, it is also the direction from which come the rain-bearing winds. Thus in
Ceremonially, the W was neither more nor less important than other compass points in the life of Israel, most Biblical layouts being based on the “foursquare” pattern, in which people or structures surrounded a focal point.
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia (1915)
(1) Usually (yam), "sea" because the Mediterranean lies to the West of Palestine; not usually in figurative expressions; but compare
(2) Often (ma`arabh); compare Arabic (gharb), and (maghrib), "west" (maghrib-ush-shems), or simply (maghrib), "sunset."
(3) (mebho’ ha-chemesh), "entrance of the sun," (mabho’, bo’), "to come in." (Just as mizrach, is the rising of the sun, or east, so mabho’ (or ma’arabh], is the setting of the sun, or west: "From the rising of the sun (mizrach-shemesh) unto the going down (mabho) thereof" (
(4) (dusme, from duo), "to enter," "sink," "set." The Greek usage is parallel to the Hebrew just cited: "Many shall come from the east anatole, "rising") and the west" (dusme, "setting") (
The chief figurative use of the word "west" is in combination with "east" to denote great or infinite distance, as:
"As far as the east is from the west,
So far hath he removed our transgressions