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Reference: Isle, Island


The Hebrew word which is more commonly translated isle, means strictly dry land, habitable country, in opposition to water, or to seas and rivers, Isa 42:15. Compare Isa 50:2. Hence, as opposed to water in general, it means land adjacent to water, either washed or surrounded by it, that is, maritime country, coast, island. Thus it means coast, when used of Ashdod, Isa 20:6; of Tyre, Isa 23:2,6; of Peloponnesus, or Greece, Eze 27:7; "the isles of Elishah." It means island when used of Caphtor, for example, or Crete, Jer 47:4; 2:10; Ps 97:1; Es 10:1, where the phrase isles of the sea is in antithesis with the land or continent. The plural of this word, usually translated islands, was employed by the Hebrews to denote distant regions beyond the sea, whether coasts or islands; and especially the islands and maritime countries of the west, which had become indistinctly known to the Hebrews, through the voyages of the Phoenicians, Isa 24:15; 40:15; 42:4,10,12; Ps 72:10. In Eze 27:15, the East Indian Archipelago would seem to be intended.

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