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Bible Encyclopedias

The 1901 Jewish Encyclopedia

Deep

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  1. In contradistinction to "rock," which is used figuratively for "a refuge" (Isaiah 33:16; Psalms 27:5, 2, 61:3), the "deep" ("ma'amaḳḳim") is a metaphorical expression for misfortune or sorrow (Psalms 692,15; 130:1). Thus the "deep valley" ("'emeḳ") designates a "place of affliction and judgment" (Joel 4:2,12,14, Hebr.), and the phrase "deep pit" and similar words are used in the sense of "great danger" (Proverbs 22:14, 23:27; Isaiah 24:17,22; Zechariah 9:11; Psalms 55:23, 71:20, 86:13, 88:6, 107:20; Lamentations 3:47,53; 4:20; compare the Arabian saying. "They live in a valley that is at the mercy of torrents." Hence "the depths of Shcol" (Proverbs 9:18) is an image of utter affliction.
  2. "Deep" is also an expression for the unfathomableand inscrutable. Therefore hardened sinners are said to make deep—that is, heap up—their sins (Isaiah 31:6; Hosca 5:2, 9:9), and "deep" is synonymous with "inexhaustible quantity" (Romans 11:33; 2 Corinthians 8:2). The Bible also speaks of people who are "deep"; that is, are cautious in speech (Isaiah 33:19; Ezekiel 33:5 et seq.). The Bible applies the word "deep" also to the heart (Psalms 64:7; Judith 8:14), and to a man's words (Proverbs 18:4), or to his plans (Proverbs 20:5), while it finds "deep things" (secrets) in the universe (Job 12:22), in the nature of things (Ecclesiastes 7:24), and in history (Daniel 2:22). Hence the word "deep" is used in the sense of "inscrutable" in reference to God's thoughts (Psalms 92:6). As a further consequence of these metaphorical applications, "to make deep" came to be an equivalent for "to conceal" or "to deceive" (Isaiah 29:15). It is interesting to note that in the cuneiform texts wisdom is designated as "the deep" ("nimeḳu"), and is characterized thereby as something difficult of attainment and seldom found.
E. G. H.
E. K.

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Bibliography Information
Singer, Isidore, Ph.D, Projector and Managing Editor. Entry for 'Deep'. 1901 The Jewish Encyclopedia. https://www.studylight.org/encyclopedias/eng/tje/d/deep.html. 1901.

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