Fountains of Great Deep

The word 'fountain' is primarily, but not exclusively, used in scripture for a fountain of water - a spring. Some verses even add the phrase "of water" to clarify what comes out of the fountain.

      1 Kings 18:5a (ESV)
      And Ahab said to Obadiah, "Go through the land to all the springs
      (fountains) of water and to all the valleys. . ."

      Psalm 114:8 (ESV)
      who turns the rock into a pool of water, the flint into a spring (fountain) of water.

Since fountains are primarily of water, we would expect the fountains in Genesis 7 to be of water unless the author specifically tells us otherwise. But, that is exactly what the text does. These were fountains of great deep. These were not fountains of water but fountains of (consisting of) great deep.

"Great deep" has two potential meanings. The sea (submarine) can be called the great deep, or anything far underground (subterranean) can be called great deep (Barrick, 2008). The definite article 'the' found in our English translations might suggest that the sea is the preferred answer. However, the definite article is not in the original Hebrew. The literal translation is, "fountains of (consisting of) great deep."

Is this event describing fountains consisting of seawater gushing out or fountains of great deep (lava) erupting - volcanos? There are two clues in the context that suggest the latter.

This page is in development 2/11/2014

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