What are…

also known as: fenns (Old English)

This word appears once in the book of Job in the King James Version translation. Fens is an old Middle English word meaning areas of low wet land. Today we instead use such words as swamps or marshes.

The original Hebrew word is a noun consisting of 3 letters: בִצָּ֑ה —transliteration: bitstsah —meaning: swamp.

This word occurs 3 times in Scripture:

  1. Job 40:21 — בִצָּ֑הbitstsah — “and the marsh”
  2. Job 8:11 — בִצָּ֑הbissah — “a marsh”
  3. Ezekiel 47:11 _ בִּצֹּאתָ֧יוbissotaw — “but its swamps”

The context of Job 40:21 is when God is speaking to the man Job out of a whirlwind in a way that is purposely humbling him. God is pointing out how little Job or any person knows about God’s power and deeds, and He comes to an example involving a very great type of land animal (probably the greatest) that Job is familiar with—the behemoth (an ancient Hebrew name).

He lieth under the shady trees,
in the covert of the reed, and fens. —Job 40:21 KJV

The New King James Version translates bitstsah as “marsh” (Job 40:21 NKJV).

The original Hebrew word for the trees involved here is צֶאֱלִים —transliteration: tseelim or tse'elim. This is the only occurrence of this word in Scripture.

More information

Article Version: August 2, 2021