He stretches out the north over empty space
And hangs the earth on nothing.
Job 26:7 NASB
For the pillars of the earth are the Lord’s,
And He set the world on them.
1 Samuel 2:8 NASB
Who shakes the earth out of its place,
And its pillars tremble;
Job 9:6 NASB
The earth hangs on nothing.
There are sometimes mystical expressions in the Bible and we would like to understand what was meant by the original writers.
(Job 26:7) This seems to be a contradiction in itself. How is it possible that something can hang on nothing? However for what we know as modern people this is a brilliant description of the nature of the bodies of the universe. They move forward in vast ellipses through the universe apart from some irregularities; in general they don’t fall down but instead they follow their route in time. It seems miraculous thinking about it, even with the laws of Newton (gravitation) in mind. The earth is always in time; incomparable and unapproachable for any human being! Anyone who tries to ridicule this is not worth to be taken seriously. “The earth hangs on nothing,” is there any expression that fits better the reality of our planet earth?
The question remains of course: “But did the people of old know the same thing about planet earth as we know? That it had a ball form (spherical shape) and moved forward not connected with other things? And how then could they use also the expression of “the pillars of the earth”?
Circle of Light
In the same passage of Job, a few verses further, we read (26:10):
“He has inscribed a circle on the surface of the waters; At the boundary of light and darkness.”
At least two times a Circle of Light appeared on the waters on earth.
(1) With the creation of light on the first day. It is said that “the Spirit of God was moving over the surface of the waters.” Waters were covering the earth and the first light came thereupon: a Circle of Light. That means the people of old had a clear insight in the ball form (spherical shape) of planet earth.
(2) The second time was after the Great Flood. When the rain stopped and the clouds disappeared again a Circle of Light appeared on the water, as if a second creation was at hand. In all probability the end of the Great Flood is meant here as we will see.
Pillars of Heaven
In the next verse Job 26:11-12 we learn:
“The pillars of heaven tremble; And are amazed at His rebuke. He quieted the sea with His power, …”
Yes, this (rebuke) is the information that makes clear that not Creation is at stake but the Flood. After it mountains arose to large highlands (pillars of heaven trembled) and seafloors sank forming the vast oceans (quieted the sea).
Pillars of the Earth
It is remarkable that about four different Hebrew words are used for the single English translation ‘pillar’:
èdèn: pedestal, sock (plur. bases, foundations of the earth; Job 38:6)
‘amud: pillar, column (plur. pillars of the earth; Job 9:6)
mácon: fundament, foundation (plur. foundations of the earth; Psalm 75:4)
matsuk: support (plur. pillars of the earth; 1 Samuel 2:8, or crag 14:5)
The variety of words (Lexicon Koehler-Baumgartner, 1953) suggests that more is meant than ‘pillars under the earth’, to provide a strong base for planet earth or so.
It is remarkable how always the opponents of the Christian faith claim a “Biblical world view” as follows: the earth would be a flat surface with pillars preventing it from sinking in a universal (mythical) ocean. There has never been found any serious Christian author in history who has promoted this odd view as the biblical one. No, the people of old had a spherical shape of planet earth in mind and it is unlikely that they thought of pillars under that ball form; even not in a metaphorical sense. The old writers of the scriptures speak here about the foundations of the land (Hebrew èrèts) in the earth crust. These foundations are deep and stable inside the earth, the bedrock.
And now we are at the point to understand 1 Samuel 2:8 and Job 9:6.
When Hannah brought her son Samuel to the tabernacle for the service of Yahweh she praised God (1 Samuel 2:8). She referred to the stability of the deep foundations in the earth crust as to God’s rules of righteousness that do not fail as they are reliable to man. She could fairly speak so as God had promised Noah that he would not again bring a worldwide Flood over the earth, never again would the surface of the earth be destroyed and changed completely.
There was another one who had a heavy struggle in life. Job reproached the Lord that He can do what He likes and nobody can stop or control Him (Job 9:6). If God likes to “shake the earth and makes the pillars tremble” and everything gets out of order (the Flood) no one can stop Him. In the same way the Lord had brought Job’s life in total disorder and that he felt this was not fair. Job seemed to forget that God had given his oath that He would not let that (a global Flood) happen again.
The pillars of the earth are not columns under a flat earth (as the critic implies), but they are foundations of the surface of the earth deep inside the earth crust.
Planet earth is not set on pillars at all.
No Bible Contradictions