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the sea

Hebrew: יָם —transliteration: yam

Meaning of “sea”

In general use in modern times, the word “sea” is used to refer to large bodies of salt water, such as the oceans and partially landlocked waters such as the Mediterranean Sea or landlocked bodies such as the Caspian Sea. However, “sea” is also occasionally used to refer to large fresh water bodies, such as the Sea of Galilee.

The word “sea” appears 400 times in 352 verses in the King James Version of the Bible. The Hebrew word is yam—from an unused root meaning “to roar.” “The name is used in Hebrew to refer to a sea (as breaking in noisy surf) or a large body of water; specifically (with the article) the Mediterranean; sometimes a large river, or an artificial basin.”

  1. The Great Sea

    Hebrew: רַבָּֽא׃ לְיַמָּ֥א

    the Mediterranean Sea (Exodus 23:31; Numbers 34:6, 7; Joshua 15:47; Psalm 80:11; Dan. 7:2; etc.)

  2. “the gathering together of the waters,” the ocean (Genesis 1:10)

  3. a river, as the Nile (Isaiah 19:5), the Euphrates (Isaiah 21:1; Jeremiah 51:36)

  4. the Red Sea (Exodus 14:16, 27; 15:4, etc.)

  5. the “Sea of Galilee,” an inland fresh-water lake

  6. the Dead Sea or “salt sea” (Genesis 14:3; Numbers 34:3, 12, etc.).

The word “sea” is used symbolically in Isaiah 60:5, where it probably means the nations around the Mediterranean. In Dan. 7:3, Rev. 13:1 it may mean the tumultuous changes among the nations of the Earth.

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Article Version: June 17, 2019