Windows of Heaven – Comment Page

This page is dedicated to discussion on the topic of the ‘windows of heaven’ — arrubot hashamaym and related expressions. I do have material on this topic that I have not published yet, in answer to commenter Mako. Until then Mako made some terrific points. I would note that it is important to not treat this expression in isolation from some other related expressions (like ‘treasuries’ or ‘storehouses’ of heaven). Cheers!

5 thoughts on “Windows of Heaven – Comment Page

  1. Hi.

    I was just wondering if you could make a case for what the windows of heaven were. I think that they were clouds (or, more specifically, condensation nuclei*) in the atmosphere. I think that a case can be made from the fact that the clouds (Heb: shachaq) is put in parallel with “doors of heaven” in Psalm 78:23** and is also put in parallel with “water jars of heaven” in Job 38:37***, both similar metaphors to windows of heaven.

    Also, one might want to add in that the ancient Israeli people had a fairly good conception of the water cycle. They come up from the sea (Amos 5:8, 1 Kings 18:44-45, Jeremiah 10:13), then they are in the clouds (Job 26:8, Job 37:11, Proverbs 3:20, Judges 5:4, Ecclesiastes 11:3), then they distill (Job 36:27) and then, the water comes back down (Psalm 77:17). One would note the absence of any windows in the “solid dome sky”.

    It may also be noted that 2 Kings 7:2 says

    “The royal officer on whose hand the king was leaning answered the man of God and said, “Behold, if the LORD should make windows in heaven, could this thing be?” Then he said, “Behold, you will see it with your own eyes, but you will not eat of it.””

    The word for “make” is asah which carries the sense of actually making something using some other material. If it was just the “lattices in the sky” so to speak, then surely God would simply just need to open the existing ones instead of having to make new ones. However, the idea fits up well with clouds which are not always seen in the sky and thus, may need to be made.

    One might say that the word used for “window” (‘ărubbâh) is used in the sense of a lattice and therefore, the Israelites thought that there were lattice like objects in the heavens. However, I would respond that the ancient Hebrews thought of things in relation to their function, not their appearance****. The root of the word has the meaning “to ambush” and the word seems to be used in the sense of something trapping or being around you. Therefore, the idea would be of something holding back or trapping the water in the cloud, not its appearance.

    Just a thought. I could very well be wrong on this and I also admit that I am not a scholar. However I do see the above as being reasonable.

    “Greek thought describes objects in relation to its appearance. Hebrew thought describes objects in relation to its function.

    A deer and an oak are two very different objects and we would never describe them in the same way with our Greek form of descriptions. The Hebrew word for both of these objects is (ayil) because the functional description of these two objects are identical to the ancient Hebrews, therefore, the same Hebrew word is used for both. The Hebraic definition of is “a strong leader”.

    A deer stag is one of the most powerful animals of the forest and is seen as “a strong leader” among the other animals of the forest. Also the oak tree’s wood is very hard compared to other trees such as the pine which is soft and is seen as a “strong leader” among the trees of the forest.”

  2. Some great points Mako! I will publish material on this down the road, perhaps soon. A couple notes:

    One would note the absence of any windows in the “solid dome sky”.

    Well actually it does talk about ‘windows of heaven’! So I wouldn’t want to claim that. The question is: are we on solid ground arguing these ‘windows’ were only metaphorical expressions? I believe that is the case, and you have some good arguments to that effect as well.

    ‘water-cycle’ – true indeed. This is a critically important point that commentators seem to seriously avoid. Note: this has nothing to do with claiming they had advanced scientific understanding, meaning something they could not have figured out in the absence of telescopes and microscopes. The passages you cite on this are very important.

    1. Thanks Nicholas! Btw, you have any idea when you would be publishing anything else on this blog?I really enjoy what I have read so far here.

  3. “I will publish material on this down the road, perhaps soon.”

    Sorry, I didn’t see that you wrote this. It seems I carelessly skipped it over. Apologies

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