From BiblePortal Wikipedia

Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament [1]


The term is employed in apostolic history to designate (1) a large body of water or collection of waters; (2) the Red Sea; (3) the Mediterranean Sea; (4) with γῆ and οὐρανός, the whole created universe; and (5) the ‘sea of glass’ before the throne of God.

1. A large body of water or collection of waters ( Acts 27:30;  Acts 27:38;  Acts 27:40 (41),  Acts 28:4,  Romans 9:27,  2 Corinthians 11:26,  Hebrews 11:12,  James 1:6,  Judges 1:13,  Revelation 7:1-3;  Revelation 8:8-9;  Revelation 10:2;  Revelation 10:5;  Revelation 10:8;  Revelation 12:12;  Revelation 13:1;  Revelation 16:3;  Revelation 18:17;  Revelation 18:19;  Revelation 18:21;  Revelation 20:8;  Revelation 20:13;  Revelation 21:1; cf.  Acts 27:5, πέλαγος;  James 3:7, εὐάλιος).-In the first of these passages, the sailors with Paul on his memorable voyage to Rome, pretending that additional anchors from the prow of the vessel would help to steady the ship, and that they must go off in a boat to carry them out to cables’ length rather than drop them over the prow, ‘lowered the boat into the sea’ ( Acts 27:30). But he saw through their scheme and warned the centurion. Later they cast the cargo of wheat into the sea ( Acts 27:38); and again they loosened the cables of the anchors and let them fall off into the sea ( Acts 27:40). Then, chancing on a sand bank between two seas, in the narrow channel leading into St. Paul’s Bay, between the little island of Salmonetta and the mainland of Melita, they ran the vessel aground ( Acts 27:41); Going on shore, the barbarians, seeing a viper clinging to Paul’s hand, regarded him as a murderer, whom, though he had escaped from the sea, the goddess Justice would not suffer to live ( Acts 28:4).

Paul was thrice shipwrecked. He also suffered other ‘perils in the sea’ ( 2 Corinthians 11:26); but he does not pause to specify them. In writing to the Romans he again alludes to the ‘sea.’ Quoting  Isaiah 10:22, he says that though Israel be as numerous ‘as the sand of the sea,’ yet it is not the unbelieving many but the faithful few who are the object of God’s care. Only the remnant shall be saved ( Romans 9:27). A similar reference is found in  Hebrews 11:12, in which the writer emphasized how faith on Abraham’s part brought life out of death, giving him posterity ‘as the sand which is upon the sea shore innumerable.’ On the other hand, another writer describes the doubter as ‘like the surge of the sea’ (ἔοικεν κλύδωνι θαλάσσης,  James 1:6), driven by the wind and tossed. The instability of a billow changing rapidly from moment to moment furnishes a wonderfully apt symbol of the mind that cannot steady itself in belief. Jude uses a similar figure when he describes the ungodly and libertines as ‘wild waves of the sea’ (κύματα ἄγρια θαλάσσης,  James 1:13) foaming out their own lawlessness and shame (cf.  Isaiah 57:20).

John likewise, in the Apocalypse, often uses the term in its natural sense. Thus, no hurt is to befall the earth or the sea until the servants of God are sealed in their foreheads; no physical convulsions are to take place until the saints of God are secured ( Revelation 7:1-3). On the other hand, judgment is imminent. Pausing in the process of unrolling judgment and consolation, the Seer beholds a strong angel standing like a colossus astride the earth and sea, holding in his hand an open book ( Revelation 10:2;  Revelation 10:5;  Revelation 10:8). He hears woes pronounced upon the earth and sea ( Revelation 12:12). A monster dragon comes up out of the sea, as the father of cruelty and blasphemy ( Revelation 13:1; cf.  Daniel 7:2 ff.). When the second angel sounds, one third of the creatures which are in the sea die ( Revelation 8:8-9); when the same angel pours out his bowl into the sea, it becomes blood and every living thing dies ( Revelation 16:3). At the fall of Babylon (i.e. Rome) mariners on every hand take up a lamentation because of her commercial loss to the world of trade ( Revelation 18:17;  Revelation 18:19;  Revelation 18:21); while in the final issue of events, after the millennium and after Satan has been loosed to deceive the nations, ‘the number of whom is as the sand of the sea,’ and after he is cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, and the dead are summoned to judgment, then, we read, ‘the sea gave up the dead which were in it’-in its great maw-to be judged every man according to his works ( Revelation 20:8;  Revelation 20:13). But, when heaven is described and the abode of the blessed is portrayed, and a new heaven and a new earth are created, the Seer is careful to say, ‘and the sea is no more’ ( Revelation 21:1). This passage is a most instructive witness to the estimate of the sea among the ancient Hebrews. They had a universal horror of it. To them it was a synonym of turbulence, estrangement, hostility, fickleness, isolation, and separation. It was the home of storms and tempests and vague terrors. As a great monster enemy it devoured men; yea, the sea was the prolific mother of monsters. Naturally the sea, therefore, could have no place in an ideal universe. According to Plutarch, the ancient Egyptians regarded the sea as no part of nature, but an alien element full of destruction and disease. The priests of Isis are said to have shunned it as impure and unsocial for swallowing up the sacred Nile. One favourite tradition made the sea disappear in the final conflagration of the world. But John ignores this view, and regards the sea rather as no longer existent. God’s dread opponent, the dragon, he practically says, shall disappear from the abode of the redeemed; and the powers hostile to God, whether men or demons, shall be brought to naught.

2. The Red Sea ( Acts 7:36,  1 Corinthians 10:1-2,  Hebrews 11:29).-In some respects this is the most remarkable body of water on the globe. It is subject to extreme evaporation; and, though no rivers empty into it, it is never exhausted. It is 1350 miles long, and 205 miles broad at its widest part. There are three references to it in apostolic history: (a) Stephen in his memorable apology speaks of Moses thus: ‘This man led them forth, having wrought wonders and signs in Egypt, and in the Red sea, and in the wilderness forty years’ ( Acts 7:36). His argument is that, as Moses’ Divine appointment was attested by signs and wonders, so signs and wonders formed part of the credentials of Christ. (b) Paul also, in writing to the Corinthians, says, ‘For I would not, brethren, have you ignorant, how that our fathers were all under the cloud, and all passed through the sea; and were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea’ ( 1 Corinthians 10:1-2). The Apostle’s point is that ancient Israel started well; all were protected and guided by the cloud; all were safely brought through the sea; all were sealed as by a baptism into trustful allegiance to Moses as their deliverer; yet in the end all except two failed to enter Canaan. Those who sang victory at the crossing of the Red Sea never reached the promised land. (c) A different use is made of the same fact in  Hebrews 11:29. The author here emphasizes how faith finds a path in life. ‘By faith they passed through the Red sea as by dry land: which the Egyptians assaying to do were swallowed up.’ What the writer means to teach is, that Israel’s passage through the Red Sea was due to the discovery of faith. It was not a path which anyone could find. Indeed, to the Egyptians who had no faith, it became a sea. Hence it is an example of the wonder-working power of faith.

3. The Mediterranean Sea ( Acts 10:6;  Acts 10:32;  Acts 17:14).-The Mediterranean was to the Hebrews ‘the great sea’ ( Numbers 34:6). It was probably the largest expanse of water with which they were familiar; it was like a mighty mirror flashing the glories of the sun. Two passages are in point here, though one refers more particularly to the aegean. (a) The first recounts how Cornelius sent to Joppa to fetch Peter, who lodged with one Simon, a tanner, ‘whose house is by the sea side’ ( Acts 10:6;  Acts 10:32). The sea here alluded to is obviously the Mediterranean. Simon’s house, which doubtless was a very humble abode, was by the sea because there he would have easy access to water; and it was outside the city, at least 50 cubits, because tanning was held to be an ‘unclean’ employment, bringing one constantly into contact with dead animals. (b) The other passage tells how the brethren of BerCEa sent forth Paul, whose safety was in jeopardy, ‘to go as far as to the sea’ ( Acts 17:14). The main road from Macedonia to Thessaly bent about the base of Mt. Olympus close along the sea. Whether St. Paul, on arriving at the coast, changed his plan, and, instead of taking ship for Athens at Methone or Pydna, went on foot, it is impossible to say.

4 With γῆ and οὐρανός , the whole created universe ( Acts 4:24;  Acts 14:15,  Revelation 5:13;  Revelation 10:6;  Revelation 14:7).-For example, in  Acts 4:24 ff., after the healing of the lame man, Peter and John, who had been accused and brought before the elders, and charged and even threatened by them not to speak any more in the name of Jesus, prayed, ‘O Lord, thou that didst make the heaven and the earth and the sea and all that in them is … grant unto thy servants to speak thy word with all boldness’ ( Acts 4:24;  Acts 4:29). The opening words were probably not altogether unfamiliar to them, as they seem to have belonged to the earliest known psalm of thanksgiving in the Christian Church (cf.  Isaiah 37:16;  Isaiah 37:20). In similar language, Barnabas and Paul remonstrated with the men of Lystra, saying, ‘We also are men of like passions with you, and bring you good tidings, that ye should turn from these vain things unto the living God, who made the heaven and the earth and the sea, and all that in them is’ ( Acts 14:15). The Lystrans are thus introduced by the apostles to the true and living God. In  Revelation 14:7 there is a striking parallel to their summons, the implication being that the God who creates has a right also to judge His creatures. In  Revelation 5:13, also, by a sweep of prophetic imagination, even sea-monsters join with departed spirits in a doxology of praise to the Lamb; while in  Revelation 10:6 the thought of God’s creatorship, of earth and heaven and sea, prepares the way for the announcement that the God of creation and providence is also a God of judgment.

5. The apocalyptic sea of glass before the throne of God ( Revelation 4:6;  Revelation 15:2).-The first passage ( Revelation 4:6) reminds one of the ‘molten sea’ in Solomon’s Temple ( 1 Kings 7:23;  1 Kings 7:39). In fancy the Rabbis compared the shining floor of the Temple to crystal. To John heaven is a sort of glorified Temple, and the crystal pavement is a kind of sea. The figure greatly enhances the splendour of the picture. The Apostle was probably attempting to portray the other with all its clearness and calm, shimmering yet motionless. In the other and only remaining passage ( Revelation 15:2) he beholds ‘a glassy sea mingled with fire.’ On its shores the redeemed stand, as the children of Israel did on the shores of the Red Sea, victorious, singing the song of Moses and of the Lamb. See, further, next article.

George L. Robinson.

American Tract Society Bible Dictionary [2]

The Hebrews give the name of sea to any large collection of water,  Job 14:11; as to the lakes of Tiberias and Asphaltites, and also to the rivers Nile and Euphrates,  Isaiah 11:15   18:2   21:1   Jeremiah 51:36,42 . The principal seas mentioned in Scripture are the following:

1. The Great Sea the Mediterranean, called also the Hinder or Western Sea. Indeed, the Hebrew word for sea, meaning the Mediterranean, is often put for the west. The Great Sea  Isaiah 2,200 miles long, and in the widest part 1,200 miles in width. In many places it is so deep as to give no soundings. It is little affected by tides, but is often agitated by violent winds. The prevailing direction of the wind in spring is from the southeast and southwest and from the northeast and northwest the rest of the year.

2. The  Exodus 10:19   13:18   Psalm 106:7,9,22 , derived its name from Edom, which lay between it and Palestine; or from the hue of the mountains on its western coast, or of the animalcule which float in masses on its surface. It lies between Arabia on the east and northeast, and Abyssinia and Egypt on the west and southwest, and extends from the straits of Babelmandel to Suez, a distance of about 1,400 miles, with an average width of 150 miles, and a depth of 1,800 feet. At the northern end it is divided into the two gulfs Suez and Akaba, anciently called the Gulf of Heroopolis and the Elanitic Gulf. The first of these  Isaiah 190 miles in length and the second   Isaiah 100 miles. Between these gulfs lies the celebrated peninsula of Mount Sinai. That of Akaba is connected with the Dead Sea by the great sand valley El Arabah described under the article   Zechariah 10:11 , both the Red Sea and the Nile appear to be mentioned.

3. The  Genesis 14:3; The sea of the Plain,  Deuteronomy 4:40; The Eastern sea,  Zechariah 14:8; by the Greeks and Romans, lake Asphaltites; and by the modern Arabs, The sea of Lot. It lay at the southeast corner of the Holy Land, and receives the wastes of the Jordan from the north, and of the Arnon and several smaller streams from the east. It is over forty miles long, and eight or nine miles wide, and lies as in a chaldron between bare limestone cliffs, which rise on the west side 1,200 or 1,500 feet above its surface, and on the east side 2,000 feet or more. At the south end is a broad and low valley, overflowed after the annual rains. The general aspect of the region is dreary, sterile, and desolate; but at a few points there are brooks or fountains of fresh water, which in their way to the sea pass through spots of luxuriant verdure, the abode of birds in great numbers.

The waters of the Dead Sea are clear and limpid, but exceedingly salt and bitter. Their specific gravity exceeds that of all other waters known, being one-fifth or one-fourth greater than that of pure water. They are found by repeated analyses to contain one-fourth their weight of various salts, chiefly the chlorides of magnesium and sodium. Salt also is deposited by evaporation on the shore, or on garments wet in the sea. In the bed of the sea it is found in crystals and near the shore in incrustation deposited on the bottom. No fish can live in these acrid waters, and those which are brought down by the Jordan quickly die. Compare  Ezekiel 47:8-10 , where the healing of this deadly sea, and its abounding in fish, as well as the new fertility and beauty of the dreary wilderness between it and Jerusalemby means of the healing power of the Kidron flowing from beside that altar of Godforcibly illustrate the healing and renovating power of gospel grace.

A person unacquainted with the art of swimming floats at ease upon the surface of lake Asphaltites, and it requires an effort to submerge the body. The boat of Lieutenant Lynch met with a gale on entering it from the Jordan; and "it seemed at if the bows, so dense was the water, were encountering the sledgehammers of the Titans, instead of the opposing waves of an angry sea."

At times, and especially after earthquakes, quantities of asphaltum are dislodged from the bottom, rise and float on the surface, and are driven to the shores, where the Arabs collect them for various uses. Sulphur is likewise found on the shores and a kind of stone or coal, called Musca by the Arabs, which on being rubbed exhales an intolerable odor. This stone, which also comes from the neighboring mountains, is black, and takes a fine polish. Maundrell saw pieces of it two feet square, in the convent of St. John in the Wilderness, carved in bas-relief, and polished to as great a lustre as black marble is capable of. The inhabitants of the country employ it in other places of public resort. In the polishing its disagreeable odor is lost. When placed by Mr. King upon hot coals, a strong stench of sulphur issued from it, and it soon began to blaze. The blaze rose four or five inches high, and continued about two minutes.

An uncommon love of exaggeration is observable in all the older narratives, and in some of modern date, respecting the nature and properties of the Dead Sea. Chateaubriand speaks of a "dismal sound proceeding from this lake of death, like the stifled clamors of the people ingulfed in its water," and says that its shores produce a fruit beautiful to the sight, but containing nothing but ashes; and that the heavy metals float on the surface of the sea. Others allege that black and sulphurous exhalations are constantly issuing from the water, and that birds attempting to fly across it are struck dead by its pestiferous fumes. These legends are corrected by more reliable accounts, which show that the birds fly over or float upon the sea uninjured; that no vapor is exhaled from its surface, except that caused by the rapid evaporation or its waters under the hot sun; and that the low level and excessive heat of the valley of the Jordan and the Dead Sea account for the diseases prevailing there, without imagining any more fearful cause. The "apostle of Sodom" above referred to by Chateaubriand, and described by Josephus and others answer, with some exaggerations, to fruits now growing around the Dead Sea.

In 1848, Lieutenant Lynch of the United States' navy passed down the Jordan from the Sea of Tiberias, with two metallic boats, and spent three weeks in a survey of the Sea of Sodom. He found it nearly 1,300 feet deep and its surface more than 1,300 feet below the level of the Mediterranean. From the eastern side, some eight miles from the south end, a low promontory projects three-fourths of the way towards the western cliffs, and sends up a point five miles towards the north. Below this point the lake becomes suddenly shallow, the southern bay not averaging more than twelve or fifteen feet in depth,  Joshua 15:2 .

This lower part is believed to cover the sites of the cities destroyed by fire from heaven, Sodom, Gomorrah, Admah, and Zeboim. The vale of Siddim was once a smiling plain, well-watered, and like a garden of the Lord,  Genesis 13:10; it is now, and for all future ages, a monument of his just indignation,  Deuteronomy 29:23 , and an awful warning to reckless sinners that the day of the Lord will come upon them also suddenly and without remedy,  Matthew 10:15   11:22-24   2 Peter 2:4-9   Jude 1:7 . The bottom of the shallow bay is a deep slimy mud,  Genesis 14:10 . On its southwest border lies a mountain or ridge composed chiefly of rock salt, and called Usdum or Sodom, between which and the sea stands a round pillar of salt forty feet high, reminding one of Lot's wife.

At present the Dead Sea has no perceptible outlet, and the waters poured into it by the Jordan are probably evaporated by the intense heat of the unclouded sun, or in part absorbed in the earth. It is thought by some that the northern and principal part of the sea was the product of some convulsion of nature, long before that which destroyed Sodom and formed the south bay; that the Jordan at first flowed into the Red Sea through the remarkable crevasse which extends from its sources to the Gulf of Akabah; and that at some period beyond the reach of history, its bed and valley sunk down to their present level and formed the Dead Sea. Lieutenant Lynch in sounding discovered a ravine in the bed of the sea, corresponding to the channel of the Jordan in its valley north of the sea. See Jordan .

4. The SEA OF TIBERIAS or of Galilee; the lake of Gennesareth, or of Cimmereth,  Numbers 34:11 , is so called from the adjacent country, or from some of the principal cities on its shores. It resembles, in its general appearance, the Lake of Geneva in Switzerland, though not so large. The Jordan passes through it from north to south. It is twelve or fourteen miles long, six or seven miles in breadth, and 165 feet deep. Its waters lie in a deep basin, surrounded on all sides by rounded and beautiful hills, from 500 to 1,000 feet high, except the narrow entrance and outlet of the Jordan at either end. Its sheltered location protects it in some degree from the wind, but it is liable to sudden squalls and whirlwinds, and many travellers on its shores have met with violent tempests-reminding them of those encountered by Christ and his disciples. A strong current marks the passage of the Jordan through the middle of the lake, on its way to the Dead Sea. The volcanic origin of the basin of this lake is strongly inferred from numerous indications, such as the black basaltic rocks which abound, frequent and violent earthquakes, and several hot springs. According to Lieutenant Symonds, it  Isaiah 328 feet below the level of the Mediterranean. Lieutenant Lynch makes it 653 feet below. Its waters are clear and sweet, and contain various kinds of excellent fish in great abundance. The appearance of the sea from the hills on the western shore is far less grand and more beautiful than that of the Dead Sea. It should be seen in spring, when the hills around it are clothed with grain and festooned wit flowers. The towns that once crowed its shores with a teeming population, the groves and shrubbery that covered its hills, and the boats and galleys that studded its surface are gone. But the sea remains, hallowed by many scenes described in the gospels. The Saviour of mankind often looked upon its quiet beauty and crossed it in his journeys; he stilled its waves by a word, and hallowed its shores by his miracles and teachings. Here several of the apostles were called to become "fishers of men,"   Matthew 4:18   14:22   Luke 8:22   John 21:1 .

"How pleasant to me thy deep blue wave,

O sea of Galilee,

For the glorious One who came to save

Hath often stood by thee.

O Savior gone to God's right hand,

Yet the same Savior still,

Graved on thy heart is this lovely strand

And every fragrant hill."


5. Sea or Waters Of Merom See Merom .

The BRAZEN or Molten Sea made by Solomon for the temple, was

a circular vessel at least fifteen feet in diameter, which stood in

the court of the temple, and contained three thousand baths,

according to  2 Corinthians 4:5 , or two thousand baths according to 1Ki

7:26. Calmet supposes this may be reconciled by saying that the cup

or bowl contained two thousand baths, and the foot or basin a

thousand more. It was supported by twelve oxen of brass, and was

probably the largest brazen vessel ever made-an evidence of the skill

of the workers in metal at that period. It contained from 16,000 to

24,000 gallons, and was supplied with water either by the labor of

the Gibeonites, or as Jewish writers affirm, by a pipe from the well

of Etam, so that a constant flow was maintained. This water was used

for the various ablutions of the priests,  1 Chronicles 4:6; a perpetual

and impressive testimony from God of the necessity of moral

purification in the inexhaustible foundation of Christ's grace. The

preceding engraving must be chiefly imaginary.

Vine's Expository Dictionary of NT Words [3]

A — 1: Θάλασσα (Strong'S #2281 — Noun Feminine — thalassa — thal'-as-sah )

is used (a) chiefly literally, e.g., "the Red Sea,"  Acts 7:36;  1—Corinthians 10:1;  Hebrews 11:29; the "sea" of Galilee or Tiberias,  Matthew 4:18;  15:29;  Mark 6:48,49 , where the acts of Christ testified to His Deity;  John 6:1;  21:1; in general, e.g.,  Luke 17:2;  Acts 4:24;  Romans 9:27;  Revelation 16:3;  18:17;  20:8,13;  21:1; in combination with No. 2,  Matthew 18:6; (b) metaphorically, of "the ungodly men" described in  Jude 1:13 (cp.   Isaiah 57:20 ); (c) symbolically, in the apocalyptic vision of "a glassy sea like unto crystal,"  Revelation 4:6 , emblematic of the fixed purity and holiness of all that appertains to the authority and judicial dealings of God; in  Revelation 15:2 , the same, "mingled with fire," and, standing by it (RV) or on it (AV and RV marg.), those who had "come victorious from the beast" (ch. 13); of the wild and restless condition of nations,  Revelation 13:1 (see   Revelation 17:1,15 ), where "he stood" (RV) refers to the dragon, not John (AV); from the midst of this state arises the beast, symbolic of the final gentile power dominating the federated nations of the Roman world (see Dan., chs. 2; 7; etc.).

 Deuteronomy 30:13 Romans 10:7Bottom

A — 2: Πέλαγος (Strong'S #3989 — Noun Neuter — pelagos — pel'-ag-os )

"the deep sea, the deep," is translated "the depth" in  Matthew 18:6 , and is used of the "Sea of Cilicia" in  Acts 27:5 . See Depth , No. 2. Pelagos signifies "the vast expanse of open water," thalassa, "the sea as contrasted with the land" (Trench, Syn., xiii).

B — 1: Ἐνάλιος (Strong'S #1724 — Adjective — enalios — en-al'-ee-os )

"in the sea," lit., "of, or belonging to, the salt water" (from hals, "salt"), occurs in  James 3:7 .

B — 2: Παράλιος (Strong'S #3882 — Adjective — paralios — par-al'-ee-os )

"by the sea,"  Luke 6:17 : see Coast.

B — 3: Παραθαλάσσιος (Strong'S #3864 — Adjective — parathalassios — par-ath-al-as'-see-os )

"by the sea,"  Matthew 4:13 , see Coast , Note 2.

B — 4: Διθάλασσος (Strong'S #1337 — Adjective — dithalassos — dee-thal'-as-sos )

primarily signifies "divided into two seas" (dis, "twice," and thalassa); then, "dividing the sea," as of a reef or rocky projection running out into the "sea,"  Acts 27:41 .

Vine's Expository Dictionary of OT Words [4]

Yâm ( יָם , Strong'S #3220), “sea; ocean.” This word has cognates in Aramaic, Akkadian, Ugaritic, Phoenician, and Ethiopic. It occurs about 390 times and in all periods of biblical Hebrew.

This word refers to the body of water as distinct from the land bodies (continents and islands) and the sky (heavens): “For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea and all that in them is …” (Exod. 20:11). Used in this sense yâm means “ocean.” This is its meaning in Gen. 1:10, its first biblical appearance; unlike the use in the singular, where the word is a collective noun, it appears here in the plural: “And God called the dry land Earth; and the gathering together of the waters called he Seas.…”

Yâm may be used of “seas,” whether they are salty or fresh. The Great Sea is the Mediterranean: “From the wilderness and this Lebanon even unto the great river, the river Euphrates, all the land of the Hittites, and unto the Great Sea toward the going down of the sun, shall be your coast” (Josh. 1:4). This sea is also called the sea of the Philistines (Exod. 23:31) and the hinter or western sea (Deut. 11:24; KJV, “uttermost sea”). The Dead Sea is called the Salt Sea (Gen. 14:3), the Arabah (Deut. 3:17; KV, “plain”), and the east sea (Ezek. 47:18). Thus, yâm can be used of an inland salty “sea.” It can also be used of a fresh water “sea” such as the Sea of Galilee: “… And the border shall descend, and shall reach unto the side of the Sea of Chinnereth eastward” (Num. 34:11).

The word is sometimes used of the direction west or westward, in the sense of toward the (Great) Sea: “Lift up now thine eyes, and look from the place where thou art northward, and southward, and eastward, and westward” (Gen. 13:14). In Gen. 12:8 yâm means “on the west side”: “And he removed from thence unto a mountain on the east of Beth-el, and pitched his tent, having Beth-el on the west, and Hai on the east.…” This word can also refer to a side of something and not just a direction, but it is the side that faces westward: “He turned about to the west side …” (Ezek. 42:19). Exod. 10:19 uses yâm as an adjective modifying “wind”: “And the Lord turned a mighty strong west wind, which took away the locusts.…”

Yâm is used of the great basin immediately in front of the Holy Place: “And the pillars of brass that were in the house of the Lord, and the bases, and the brazen sea that was in the house of the Lord, did the Chaldees break in pieces, and carried the brass of them to Babylon” (2 Kings 25:13). This is also called the “sea” of cast metal (1 Kings 7:23; KJV, “molten sea”) or simply the “sea” (Jer. 27:19).

Yâm is used of mighty rivers such as the Nile: “And the waters shall fail from the sea, and the river shall be wasted and dried up” (Isa. 19:5). This statement occurs in the middle of a prophecy against Egypt. Therefore, “the river” is the Nile. But since the term “river” is in synonymous parallelism to “the sea,” this latter term also refers to the Nile. Ezek. 32:2 uses yâm of the branches of the Nile: “… And thou art as a whale in the seas: and thou camest forth with thy rivers, and troubledst the waters with thy feet, and fouledst their rivers.” This word can also be used of the Euphrates River (Jer. 51:36).

In some instances the word yâm may represent the Canaanite god Yamm, “which alone spreadeth out the heavens, and treadeth upon the waves of the sea” (Job 9:8). If understood as a statement about Yamm, this passage would read: “and tramples upon the back of Yamm.” The parallelism between “heavens” and “seas,” however, would lead us to conclude that the reference here is to the literal “sea.” Ps. 89:9- 10 is a more likely place to see a mention of Yamm, for there the word is identified as one of God’s enemies in immediate proximity to the goddess Rahab: “Thou rulest the raging of the sea [Yamm]: when the waves thereof arise, thou stillest them. Thou hast broken Rahab in pieces, as one that is slain; thou hast scattered thine enemies with thy strong arm.” Especially note Job 7:12: “Am I a sea [Yamm], or a whale, that thou settest a watch over me?” (cf. Job 26:12; Ps. 74:13).

Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible [5]

SEA in Scripture generally means the Mediterranean, when the context introduces no distinction by which the particular sea is defined, e.g. in   Numbers 33:8 ,   Joshua 24:6 f. etc. ‘The Great Sea ’ is the Mediterranean (  Numbers 34:6 ,   Ezekiel 47:10 etc.). ‘The Sea of the Arabah ’ is the Dead Sea (  2 Kings 14:25 etc.). The ‘ Sea of Chinnereth ’ is the Sea of Galilee (  Numbers 34:11 etc.). The ‘ Sea of the Philistines ’ is the Mediterranean off the Philistine coast (  Exodus 23:31 ). Yâm Sûph , ‘Sea of Weeds’ (  Exodus 10:19 etc.), is identical with ‘the Red Sea ’ of   Hebrews 11:29 , Jdt 5:12 etc., and is always so translated. The Nile, as in modern Arabic ( el Bahr ), is called ‘the sea’ (  Isaiah 18:2 etc.), so also the Euphrates (  Isaiah 21:1 ,   Jeremiah 51:36 ). ‘The sea’ of Jazer is a scribal error (  Jeremiah 48:32; cf.   Isaiah 16:8 ). yâm , ‘sea,’ Is the usual word for ‘West’; the Mediterranean forming the W. boundary of PalestineGenesis 12:6 etc.). The phrase ‘from sea to sea’ (  Amos 8:12 etc.) probably signified the ends of the earth. The Influence of the Babylonian myth of the conflict of the gods with the primeval sea may be traced in certain Scripture representations of the sea (  Job 7:12 etc. See art. ‘Cosmogony’ in Hastings’ DB [Note: Dictionary of the Bible.] ). TÄ•hôm (EV [Note: English Version.] ‘deep’) of   Genesis 1:2 etc. resembles the Bab. [Note: Babylonian.] Tiâmat . By the dismemberment of this monster the ordered world is produced (  Genesis 1:6 ). The turbulent and dangerous character of the sea is often referred to in Scripture (  Psalms 46:2;   Psalms 89:9 ,   Isaiah 17:12 ,   Jeremiah 49:23 etc.). From the sea came up the monsters of Daniel’s vision (  Daniel 7:2 ff.); so also in the Apocalypse (  Revelation 13:1 ). If in the literature of the Hebrews there is manifest a certain horror of, and shrinking from, the sea, which seem strange to a seafaring people, we must remember that, as a nation, Israel never knew the sea; nor need we wonder if, viewed from their mountain heights, stretching vast and mysterious into the far horizons, it seemed to them the very home of storms and vague terrors. So when the Jewish seer depicts the future home of the blessed there is ‘no more sea’ (  Revelation 21:1 ). Cf. Dualism, 1 , Rahab, 2.

W. Ewing.

Wilson's Dictionary of Bible Types [6]

 Exodus 14:2 (c) It may be used to represent extremely difficult problems and situations which arise in the Christian's path and are impossible to conquer unless the Lord performs a miracle.

 1 Chronicles 16:32 (b) This represents peoples, nations and tongues. GOD is comparing the great praises of the people to the roaring of the ocean. (See  Psalm 96:11;  Psalm 98:7;  Revelation 17:15).

 Psalm 80:11 (b) Here is a type which represents Israel as reaching out all her influence to gather and to give blessing for all the earth.

 Isaiah 23:4 (a) The sea has covered the site of this city and rendered it desolate. Therefore, human activity has ceased on the site. The sea is represented as telling the world of this destruction.

 Isaiah 43:16 (b) This represents the great difficulties and serious hindrances in life. GOD opens a path for His child to enter and pass safely through them. Since the ocean seems to typify "people," this figure may represent difficulties caused in the life by relatives or neighbors or enemies, or even officials. In all of these troubles caused by "people," our Lord makes a way of escape and deliverance.

 Isaiah 48:18 (a) It is a figure of the many blessings and sweet benedictions which GOD gives to those who walk with Him. They keep coming and never cease.

 Isaiah 57:20 (a) As the sea is constantly moving and is restless, throwing debris on the shore, so the ungodly live. They too exhibit in their lives the evil of their hearts. They constantly reveal to others the wickedness of their unsatisfied lives.

 Lamentations 2:13 (a) As the ocean separates lovers who must live far apart, so GOD is separated oftentimes from His people whom He loves. (See  Isaiah 59:2).

 Nahum 1:4 (c) GOD is assuring us He has power to rebuke all peoples and to restrain their fury. This picture is seen also in His power to calm the storm, the storms of life. (See also  Zechariah 10:11).

 James 1:6 (a) This is a picture of the professing Christian who is not rooted and grounded in the faith. His life is constantly in a turmoil.

 Judges 1:13 (a) This symbolizes the great power and energy put forth by the enemies of GOD who rise up out of the great mass of people (the sea), and are leaders in opposing the work of GOD and the people of GOD.

 Revelation 13:1 (a) The word in this verse evidently refers to the great multitudes of the earth. (See  Revelation 17:15).

 Revelation 15:2 (b) The physical ocean hides all that is in its depths; but our Lord will unfold all the hidden sins and iniquities of the human heart so that nothing is hidden from His sight. It is a picture of the wrath of GOD revealing all secret sins.

Morrish Bible Dictionary [7]

The seas referred to in scripture are:

1. THE MEDITERRANEAN,under the names of 'the great sea,'  Numbers 34:6,7;  Ezekiel 48:28; 'the uttermost sea,' or 'the hinder sea,'  Deuteronomy 11:24;  Zechariah 14:8; 'the sea of Joppa,'  Ezra 3:7; 'sea of the Philistines,'  Exodus 23:31 .

The 'Sea Of Cilicia And PAMPHYLIA,' Acts 27:5 , is the N.E. corner of the Mediterranean Sea.

2. THE SALT SEA, Numbers 34:3,12; also called 'the east sea,'  Ezekiel 47 :18;  Joel 2:20; 'the former sea,'  Zechariah 14:8; 'the sea of the plain,'  Deuteronomy 3:17;  Joshua 3:16;  Joshua 12:3;  2 Kings 14:25 . See Salt Sea

3. THE RED SEA, Exodus 10:19;  Psalm 106:7,9,22;  Hebrews 11:29; alsocalled 'the Egyptian sea,'  Isaiah 11:15 . See RED SEA.

4. THE SEA OF GALILEE, Mark 1:16; also called the 'Sea of Tiberias,'  John 21:1; the 'Sea of Chinnereth,'  Numbers 34:11;  Joshua 12:3;  Joshua 13 :27; the 'Lake of Gennesaret,'  Luke 5:1 . See Galilee, Sea Of

5. SEA OF JAZER,a small lake in Gilead, now represented by someponds, near where Jazer stood.  Jeremiah 48:32 .

Hawker's Poor Man's Concordance And Dictionary [8]

The Hebrews called the ocean Jam, and they called also the lakes and rivers, and even large pools, by the same name. They distinguished the different seas with which they were acquainted with different names, as the Red Sea, the Salt Sea, the Great Sea, the Dead Sea, and the like; and the entrance is sometimes called the tongue of the sea. ( Isaiah 11:15)

It is worthy remark, however, that Jerusalem, which the Lord chose for his people had no sea or navigable river near it. There was no river of any consequence belonging to it but the sacred river Jordan, so that Jerusalem had not, as most cities, a garrison, or rocks, or water, to defend it, neither of maritime resources to open commerce and trade with other powers. But what the holy city wanted in those supplies of nature and art the Lord abundantly, compensated in his presence to protect, and in the supply of his manifold gifts, to bless. The prophet beautifully speaks of this in his usual style of devotion and elegance—"Thou shall not see (saith he, speaking of the glory of all lands) a fierce people, a people of a deeper speech than thou canst perceive, of a stammering tongue that thou canst not understand. Look upon Zion, the city of our solemnities; thine eyes shall see Jerusalem a quiet habitation, a tabernacle that shall not be taken down, not one of the stakes thereof shall ever be removed, neither shall any of the cords thereof be broken: but there the glorious Lord will be unto us a place of broad rivers and streams, wherein shall go no galley with oars, neither shall gallant ship pass thereby." ( Isaiah 33:19-21)

People's Dictionary of the Bible [9]

Sea. The Hebrew word Yam, or "sea," is used in Scripture: 1. For the "gathering of waters," or the ocean.  Genesis 1:2;  Genesis 1:10;  Deuteronomy 30:13. 2. As referring to the Mediterranean Sea, under the title of the "hinder," the "western," the "utmost," sea, or the "sea of the Philistines," the "great sea," or simply "the sea."  Deuteronomy 11:24;  Deuteronomy 34:2;  Joel 2:20;  Exodus 23:31;  Numbers 34:6-7;  Joshua 15:47;  Genesis 49:13;  Psalms 80:11;  Psalms 107:23;  1 Kings 4:20. 3. As referring to the Red Sea.  Exodus 15:4. 4. As referring to inland lakes, like the Salt or Dead Sea. 5. To any great collection of waters, as the Nile or the Euphrates in time of a flood or high water.  Isaiah 19:5;  Amos 8:8, A. V., "flood;"  Nahum 3:8;  Ezekiel 32:2;  Jeremiah 51:36.

Smith's Bible Dictionary [10]

Sea. The sea, yam , is used in Scripture to denote -

1. "The gathering of the waters," "the Ocean."  Genesis 1:2;  Genesis 1:10;  Genesis 30:13; etc.

2. Some portion of this, as the Mediterranean Sea, called the "hinder," the "western" and the "utmost" sea,  Deuteronomy 11:24;  Deuteronomy 34:2;  Joel 2:20 "sea of the Philistines,"  Exodus 23:31 "the great sea,"  Numbers 36:6-7;  Joshua 15:47, "the sea."  Genesis 49:13;  Psalms 80:11. Also frequently of the Red Sea.  Exodus 15:4. See Red Sea .

3. Inland lakes termed, seas, as the Salt or Dead Sea. See Sea, The Salt .

4. Any great collection of waters, as the river Nile,  Isaiah 19:5, and the Euphrates.  Jeremiah 51:36.

King James Dictionary [11]

SEA, n. see. This word, like lake, signifies primarily a seat, set or lay, a repository, a bason.

1. A large bason, cisternor laver which Solomon made in the temple, so large as to contain more than six thousand gallons. This was called the brazen sea, and used to hold water for the priests to wash themselves.  1 Kings 7 .  2 Chronicles 4 2. A large body of water, nearly inclosed by land, as the Baltic or the Mediterranean as the sea of Azof. Seas are properly branches of the ocean, and upon the same level. Large bodies of water inland, and situated above the level of the ocean, are lakes. The appellation of sea, given to the Caspian lake, is an exception, and not very correct. So the lake of Galilee is called a sea, from the Greek. 3. The ocean as, to go to sea. The fleet is at sea, or on the high seas. 4. A wave a billow a surge. The vessel shipped a sea. 5. The swell of the ocean in a tempest, or the direction of the waves as, we head the sea. 6. Proverbially, a large quantity of liquor as a sea of blood. 7. A rough or agitated place or element.

In a troubled sea of passion tost. Milton.

Webster's Dictionary [12]

(1): ( n.) One of the larger bodies of salt water, less than an ocean, found on the earth's surface; a body of salt water of second rank, generally forming part of, or connecting with, an ocean or a larger sea; as, the Mediterranean Sea; the Sea of Marmora; the North Sea; the Carribean Sea.

(2): ( n.) An inland body of water, esp. if large or if salt or brackish; as, the Caspian Sea; the Sea of Aral; sometimes, a small fresh-water lake; as, the Sea of Galilee.

(3): ( n.) The ocean; the whole body of the salt water which covers a large part of the globe.

(4): ( n.) The swell of the ocean or other body of water in a high wind; motion of the water's surface; also, a single wave; a billow; as, there was a high sea after the storm; the vessel shipped a sea.

(5): ( n.) A great brazen laver in the temple at Jerusalem; - so called from its size.

(6): ( n.) Fig.: Anything resembling the sea in vastness; as, a sea of glory.

Fausset's Bible Dictionary [13]

Yam .

(1) The ocean in general ( Genesis 1:2;  Genesis 1:10;  Deuteronomy 30:13).

(2) The Mediterranean, with the article; "the hinder," "western," or "utmost sea" ( Deuteronomy 11:24); "the sea of the Philistines," "the great sea" ( Exodus 23:31;  Numbers 34:6-7).

(3) The Red Sea ( Exodus 15:4).

(4) Inland lakes, as the Salt or Dead Sea.

(5) The Nile flood, and the Euphrates ( Isaiah 19:5;  Jeremiah 51:36). In  Deuteronomy 28:68, "Jehovah shall bring thee into Egypt again with ships," explain, thou didst cross the sea, the waves parting before thee, in leaving Egypt; thou shalt return confined in slave ships.

Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary [14]

The Hebrews gave the name of sea to all great collections of water, to great lakes or pools. Thus the sea of Galilee, or of Tiberias, or of Cinnereth, is no other than the lake of Tiberias, or Gennesareth, in Galilee. The Dead Sea, the sea of the Wilderness, the sea or the East, the sea of Sodom, the sea of Salt, or the Salt Sea, the sea of Asphaltites, or of bitumen, is no other than the lake of Sodom. The Arabians and orientals in general frequently gave the name of sea to great rivers, as the Nile, the Euphrates, the Tigris, and others, which, by their magnitude, and by the extent of their overflowings, seemed as little seas, or great lakes. In  Isaiah 11:15 , these words particularly apply to the Nile at the Delta.

Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature [15]

(Heb. יָם , Yam; Chahl. יַמָּא , Yamma; Θάλασσα ), as opposed to land or earth ( אֶרֶצ , Erets,  Genesis 1:10), in which all the waters of the earth are included, originated by the separation of its waters from those of the air, or the clouds (vet. 6 sq.). The sea is represented as deep ( Psalms 68:23;  Micah 7:19;  Amos 9:3;  Job 38:16), wide (11:9), and mighty ( Psalms 104:25;  Job 7:12;  Lamentations 2:13); surrounding the earth at its utmost bounds ( Deuteronomy 30:13;  Psalms 139:9; comp. the ancient Greek view of Oceanus, Ὠκέανος , Fubiger, Handb. D. Alt. Geogr. i, 4); the earth, indeed, resting on the ocean ( Psalms 24:2). The surface (comp. Βυθός , the deep,  2 Corinthians 11:25) is roused by winds ( Daniel 7:2; comp.  Jonah 1:11;  Jonah 1:13) into waves ( גַּלִּים ,  Psalms 65:8;  Psalms 107:25;  Isaiah 66:18; Κύματα ,  Judges 1:13; Κλύδων ,  James 1:6), so that it roars and rages ( Jeremiah 6:23; Jeremiah 1, 42;  Isaiah 5:30;  Isaiah 57:20;  Psalms 96:11;  1 Chronicles 16:32), and is only subject to God ( Job 38:11;  Psalms 89:10). The countless inhabitants of the sea ( James 3:7,  Revelation 8:8 sq.) are given to men for food ( Genesis 9:2 sq.),but the people of God may only eat those which are legally clean ( Leviticus 11:9 sq.). On the coasts of the sea (Heb. Samah', שָׂמָה ) lie great lands; and the Sand Of The Sea ( חוֹל ; Gr. Ἄμμος ) Is proverbial for multitude ( Genesis 22:17;  Joshua 11:4;  2 Samuel 17:11;  Job 29:18;  Hosea 1:10;  1 Maccabees 11:1;  Revelation 20:8, etc.; Homer, Iliad, 9: 885; Callim. Dish. p. 252; Ovid, Trist. 4:1, 55; Ars Am. i, 254. Comp. Pindar, Olymp. ii, 178; Calpurn. ii, 72. See also Gesen. Thesaur. p. 598 sq.).

It may be remarked that almost all the figures of speech taken from the sea in Scripture refer either to its power or its danger, and among the woes threatened in punishment of disobedience, one may be remarked as significant of the dread of the sea entertained by a non-seafaring people, the being brought back into Egypt "in ships" ( Deuteronomy 28:68). The national feeling on this subject may be contrasted with that of the Greeks in reference to the sea. No mention of the tide is found in Scripture.

The above Heb. word, יָם , Yam, is sometimes connected with תְּהוֹן , Tehom ( Ἄβυσσος , abyssus, "the deep,"  Genesis 1:2;  Jonah 2:5). It also means the West (Gesen. Thesaur. p. 360, 598). When used for the sea, it very often, but not always, takes the article. Other words for the sea (in the A.V. "deep") are: מְצוּלָה , Metsulah, or מְצוֹלָה , Metsolah (only in the plural), or צוּלָה , Tsulah simply ( Ἄβυσσος , Βάθος , Abyssus, Profundum ) ; מַבּוּל , mabbul ( Κατακλυσμός , Diluvium, "water-flood,"  Psalms 29:10).. Smaller pools were distinguished into אֲגָם , Ogdm, a natural pool or pond (evil, 35;  Psalms 114:8;  Isaiah 35:7;  Isaiah 41:18, etc.), and בְּרֵכָה , Berekah, the same as the Arabic Birkeh; an artificial pool or reservoir ( 2 Samuel 2:13;  2 Samuel 4:12;  Nahum 2:9).

The following are the applications Of the term yam in Scripture:

1. The "gathering of the waters" ( Yammin ) , encore-passing the land, or what we call in a more or less deft-nite sense "the Ocean." In this sense the term is used in  Genesis 1:2;  Genesis 1:10, and elsewhere, as  Deuteronomy 30:13;  1 Kings 10:22;  Psalms 24:2;  Job 26:8;  Job 26:12;  Job 38:8; see Homer, Iliad, 14:301, 302; Hesiod, Theog. 107, 109; and  2 Peter 3:5.

2. The word is used, with the article, of some definite part of the great circumambient water, viz.:

(a.) Of the Mediterranean Sea, called the "hinder" ( אַחֲרוֹן ), the "western," and the "utmost" sea ( Deuteronomy 11:24;  Deuteronomy 34:2;  Joel 2:20); "sea of the Philistines" ( Exodus 23:31); "the great sea" ( Numbers 34:6-7;  Joshua 15:47); "the sea" ( Genesis 49:13;  Psalms 80:11; evil, 23;  1 Kings 4:20, etc.). (See Mediterranean).

(b.) Also frequently of the Red Sea ( Exodus 15:4;  Joshua 24:6), or one of its gulfs ( Numbers 11:31;  Isaiah 11:15), and perhaps ( 1 Kings 10:22) the sea traversed by Solomon's fleet. (See Red Sea).

The place "where two seas met" ( Τόπος Διθάλασσος ,  Acts 27:41) is explained by Conybeare and Howson as a place where the island Salmonetta, off the coast of Malta, in St. Paurs Bay, so intercepts the passage from the sea without to the bay within as to give the appearance of two seas, just as Strabo represents the appearance of the entrance from the Bosphorus into the Euxine; but it seems quite as likely that by the "place of the double sea" is meant one where two currents, caused by the intervention of the island, met and produced an eddy, which made it desirable at once to ground the ship (Conybeare and Howson, 5, 423; Strabo, ii, 124).

3. The term is also applied to the great internal Lakes of Palestine, whether fresh or salt; e.g.

(a.) The Sea Of Chinnereth, יַם כִּנֶּרֶת ( Numbers 34:11), called in the New Test. "the Sea of Galilee" ( Matthew 4:18), the "Sea of Tiberias" ( John 21:1), and "The sea (or lake) of Gennesareth" ( Matthew 14:34;  Mark 6:53;  Luke 5:17), which last is but a variation of the Hebrew name. (See Sea Of Galilee).

(b.) The Dead Sea, called in Scripture the Salt Sea, יָם הָמֶּלַח ( Genesis 14:3), the Sea of the Plain, or the Arabah, יָם חָעֲרָבָה ( Deuteronomy 4:40), and the Eastern Sea, הַיָּם חַקַּדְמֹנִי ( Joel 2:20;  Ezekiel 47:18;  Zechariah 14:8). It is not named or alluded to in the New Test. It is called by Josephus (War, iii, 10, 7 ) Λίμνη Ασφαλτίτης , by which name, or in the Latin form of Lacus Asphaltites, it was known to the classical writers. (See Salt Sea).

(c.) The Lake Merom is named once only in Scripture, where it is called

מֵי מְרוֹם , Waters Of Merom ( Joshua 11:5;  Joshua 11:7). By Josephus it is called Semechonitis ( Σεμεχωνίτις , Ant. v, 5, 1), and at present bears the name of Huleh: this is the uppermost and smallest of the three lakes on the Jordan. (See Merom).

4. The term yam, like the Arabic Bahr, is also applied to great rivers, as the Nile ( Isaiah 19:5;  Amos 8:8, A.V. "flood;"  Nahum 3:8;  Ezekiel 32:2) and the Euphrates ( Jeremiah 51:36). See Stanley, Syr. And Pal. App. p. 533; Hackett, Illust. Of Script, p. 119.

5. Finally, the great copper ( נְחשֶׁת ) or molten ( מוּצָק ) laver, which stood in the court of Solomon's Temple, is called a yam ( 1 Kings 7:23-44;  2 Kings 16:17, etc.). (See Brazen Sea); (See Laver)

International Standard Bible Encyclopedia [16]

( ים , yām  ; θάλασσα , thálassa  ; in   Acts 27:5 πέλαγος , pélagos ): The Mediterranean is called ha - yām ha - gādhōl , "the great sea" ( Numbers 34:6;  Joshua 1:4;  Ezekiel 47:10 , etc.); ha - yām ha - 'aḥărōn , "the hinder," or "western sea" ( Deuteronomy 11:24;  Deuteronomy 34:2;  Joel 2:20;  Zechariah 14:8 ); yām pelishtı̄m , "the sea of the Philis" ( Exodus 23:31 ); the King James Version translates yām yāphō' in  Ezra 3:7 by "sea of Joppa," perhaps rightly.

The Dead Sea is called yām - melaḥ , "the Salt Sea" (  Numbers 34:3;  Deuteronomy 3:17;  Joshua 3:16 , etc.); ha - yām ha - ḳadhmōnı̄ , "the east sea" ( Ezekiel 47:18;  Joel 2:20;  Zechariah 14:8 ); yām - ‛ărābhāh ,"the sea of the Arabah" ( Deuteronomy 3:17;  Joshua 3:16;  Joshua 12:3;  2 Kings 14:25 ).

The Red Sea is called yām ṣūph , literally, "sea of weeds" (  Exodus 10:19;  Numbers 14:25;  Deuteronomy 1:1;  Joshua 2:10;  Judges 11:16;  1 Kings 9:26;  Nehemiah 9:9;  Psalm 106:7;  Jeremiah 49:21 , etc.); (ἐρυθρὰ θάλασσα , eruthrá thálassa ), literally, "red sea" (The Wisdom of Solomon 19:7;  Acts 7:36;  Hebrews 11:29 ); yām micrayim , "the Egyptian sea" ( Isaiah 11:15 ).

Yām is used of the Nile in   Nahum 3:8 and probably also in   Isaiah 19:5 , as in modern Arabic baḥr , "sea," is used of the Nile and its affluents. Yām is often used for "west" or "westward," as "look from the place where thou art,... westward" ( Genesis 13:14 ); "western border" ( Numbers 34:6 ). Yām is used for "sea" in general ( Exodus 20:11 ); also for "molten sea" of the temple ( 1 Kings 7:23 ).

The Sea of Galilee is called kinnereth , "Chinnereth" (  Numbers 34:11 ); kinărōth , "Chinneroth" ( Joshua 11:2 ); kinnerōth , "Chinneroth" ( 1 Kings 15:20 ); yam kinnereth , "the sea of Chinnereth" ( Numbers 34:11;  Joshua 13:27 ); yām kinnerōth , "the sea of Chinneroth ( Joshua 12:3 ); (ἡ λίμνη Γεννσαρέτ , lı́mnē Gennēsarét ), "the lake of Gennesaret" ( Luke 5:1 ); and (τὸ ὔδωρ Γεννησάρ , húdōr Gennēsár ), "the water of Gennesar" (1 Macc 11:67), from late Hebrew גּנסר , ginēṣar , or (גּניסר , genēṣar  ; ἡ θάλασσα τῆς Γαλιλαίας , thálassa tḗs Galilaı́as ), "the sea of Galilee" ( Matthew 4:18;  Matthew 15:29;  Mark 1:16;  Mark 7:31;  John 6:1 ); (ἡ θάλασσα τῆς Τιβεριάδος , thálassa tḗs Tiberiádos ), "the sea of Tiberias" ( John 21:1; compare  John 6:1 ).

In  Jeremiah 48:32 we have yām ya‛zēr , "the sea of Jazer." Jazer is a site East of the Jordan, not satisfactorily identified ( Numbers 21:32;  Numbers 32:1 ,  Numbers 32:3 ,  Numbers 32:15;  Joshua 13:25;  Joshua 21:39;  2 Samuel 24:5;  1 Chronicles 6:81;  1 Chronicles 26:31;  Isaiah 16:8 ,  Isaiah 16:9 ). See Sea Of Jazer .

In midhbar yām , "the wilderness of the sea" (  Isaiah 21:1 ), there may perhaps be a reference to the Persian Gulf.

Kitto's Popular Cyclopedia of Biblial Literature [17]

The term 'sea' was much more in use among the Hebrews than with us, being applied by them generally to all large collections of water, as they had not a set of terms such as we employ to discriminate the different kinds.

Mediterranean Sea

The Mediterranean, being on the west, and therefore behind a person facing the east, is called in Scripture the Hinder Sea , that is, Western Sea; and also, 'the Sea of the Philistines' , as that people possessed the largest proportion of its shore in Palestine. Being also the largest sea with which the Hebrews were acquainted, they called it by pre-eminence, 'the Great Sea' (;;;;; ); or simply 'the sea' .

Red Sea

The Red Sea—How this gulf of the Indian Ocean came by the name of Red Sea is not agreed. Prideaux assumes (Connection, i. 14-15) that the ancient inhabitants of the bordering countries called it Yam Edom, or, 'the Sea of Edom' (it is never so called in Scripture), as its north-eastern part washed the country possessed by the Edomites. Now Edom means red , and the Greeks, who borrowed the name from the Phoenicians, mistook it for an appellative instead of a proper name, and rendered by 'the Red Sea.' Others have conjectured that the Arabian Gulf derived its name from the coral rocks and reefs in which it abounds; but the coral of the Red Sea is white, not red. It is now in question whether the name originated from the singularly red appearance presented by some of the mountains along the western coast; or from the redness which the surface of the water sometimes assumes from its being covered to a great extent with a numberless multitude of very small mollusca.

The ancients applied the name of Erythraean Sea not only to the Arabian Gulf, but to that part of the Indian Ocean which is enclosed between the peninsulas of India and Arabia; but in modern usage the name of Red Sea is restricted to the Arabian Gulf, which enters into the land from the Indian Ocean in a westerly direction, and then, at the straits of Babel-Mandeb, turns N.N.W., maintaining that direction till it makes a near approach to the Mediterranean, from which its western arm is only separated by the isthmus of Suez. It thus separates the western coast of Arabia from the Eastern coast of the north-eastern part of Africa. It is about 1400 miles in length from Suez to the straits, and on an average 150 miles in breadth. On approaching its northern termination the gulf divides into two branches, which enclose between them the peninsula of Sinai. The western arm, which terminates a little above Suez, is far more extensive than the other, and is that which was crossed by the Israelites in their escape from Egypt. This arm, anciently called Heroopoliticus Sinus, and now the Gulf of Suez, is 190 miles long by an average breadth of 21 miles; but at one part (Birket el-Faroun) it is as wide as 32 miles. The eastern arm, which terminates at Aqabah, and bears the name of the Gulf of Aqabah, was anciently called Aelaniticus Sinus, from the port of Aelana, the Scriptural Elath, and is about 112 miles long by an average breadth of 15 miles. Towards its extremity were the ports of Elath and Eziongeber, celebrated in the history of the attempts made by the Hebrew kings to establish a maritime traffic with the East [[[Elath; Ezion-Geber]]]

Sea of Chinnereth

The Sea of Chinnereth , called in the New Testament 'the Sea of Galilee' , the 'Sea of Tiberias' , and 'the sea' or 'Lake of Gennesareth '(;; ); which last is but a variation of the Hebrew name.

This lake lies very deep, among fruitful hills and mountains, from which, in the rainy season, many rivulets descend: its shape will be seen from the map. The Jordan enters it on the north, and quits it on the south; and it is said that the river passes through it without the waters mingling. Its extent has been greatly over-rated. Dr. Robinson considers that its length, in a straight line, does not exceed eleven or twelve geographical miles, and that its breadth is from five to six miles. From numerous indications it is inferred that the bed of this lake was formed by some ancient volcanic eruption, which history has not recorded: the waters are very clear and sweet, and contain various kinds of excellent fish in great abundance. It will be remembered that several of the apostles were fishermen of this lake, and that it was also the scene of several transactions in the life of Christ: it is thus frequently mentioned in the New Testament, but very rarely in the Old. The borders of the lake were in the time of Christ well peopled, being covered with numerous towns and villages; but now they are almost desolate, and the fish and water-fowl are but little disturbed.

Dead Sea

The Dead Sea, called in Scripture the Salt Sea , the Sea of the Plain, or the Arabah , and the Eastern Sea (;; ). It is not named or alluded to in the New Testament. From its history and qualities, it is the most remarkable of all the lakes of Palestine; and is supposed either to have originated in, or at least to have been greatly enlarged by, the awful event which overwhelmed the cities of the plain.

It is about thirty-nine or forty geographical miles long from north to south, and nine or ten miles wide from east to west: it lies embedded very deep between lofty cliffs on the western side, which are about 1500 feet high, and mountains on the eastern shore, the highest ridges of which are reckoned to be from 2000 to 2500 feet above the water. The water of the lake is much Salter than that of the sea. From the quantity of salt which it holds in solution it is thick and heavy, and no fish can live or marine plants grow in it. The old stories about the pestiferous qualities of the Dead Sea and its waters are mere fables or delusions; the actual appearances being the natural and obvious effects of the confined and deep situation, the intense heat, and the uncommon saltness of the waters.

On the borders of this lake is found much sulfur, in pieces as large as walnuts, and even larger. There is also a black shining stone, which will partly burn in the fire, and which then emits a bituminous smell: this is the 'stink-stone' of Burckhardt. At Jerusalem it is made into rosaries and toys, of which great quantities are sold to the pilgrims who visit the sacred places. Another remarkable production, from which, indeed, the lake takes one of its names, is the asphaltum, or bitumen. Josephus says, that 'the sea in many places sends up black masses of asphaltum, which float upon the surface, having the size and shape of headless oxen.' From recent information it appears that large masses are rarely found, and then generally only after earthquakes. The substance is doubtless produced from the bottom of the sea, in which it coagulates, and rises to the surface; or possibly the coagulation may have been ancient, and the substance adheres to the bottom until detached by earthquakes and other convulsions, when its buoyancy brings it to the surface. We know that 'the vale of Siddim' was anciently 'full of slime-pits,' or sources of bitumen; and these, now under the water, probably supply the asphaltum which is found on such occasions.

Lake Merom

The Lake Merom is named once only in Scripture, where it is called waters of Merom . By Josephus it is called Semechonitis, and at present bears the name of Huleh: this is the uppermost and smallest of the three lakes on the Jordan. It serves as a kind of reservoir to collect the waters which form that river, and again to send them forth in a single stream. In the spring, when the waters are highest, the lake is seven miles long and three and a half broad; but in summer it becomes a mere marsh. In some parts it is sown with rice, and its reeds and rushes afford shelter to wild hogs.