'Heavens' in the Bible
In the beginning God (Elohim) created [by forming from nothing] the heavens and the earth.
God called the expanse [of sky] heaven. And there was evening and there was morning, a second day.
Then God said, “Let the waters below the heavens be gathered into one place [of standing, pooling together], and let the dry land appear”; and it was so.
Then God said, “Let there be light-bearers (sun, moon, stars) in the expanse of the heavens to separate the day from the night, and let them be useful for signs (tokens) [of God’s provident care], and for marking seasons, days, and years;
God placed them in the expanse of the heavens to provide light upon the earth,
Then God said, “Let the waters swarm and abundantly produce living creatures, and let birds soar above the earth in the open expanse of the heavens.”
So the heavens and the earth were completed, and all their hosts (inhabitants).
This is the history of [the origin of] the heavens and of the earth when they were created, in the day [that is, days of creation] that the Lord God made the earth and the heavens—
For behold, I, even I, will bring a flood of waters on the earth, to destroy all life under the heavens in which there is the breath and spirit of life; everything that is on the land shall die.
In the six hundredth year of Noah’s life, on the seventeenth day of the second month, on that same day all the fountains of the great deep [subterranean waters] burst open, and the windows and floodgates of the heavens were opened.
God destroyed (blotted out, wiped away) every living thing that was on the surface of the earth; man and animals and the crawling things and the birds of the heavens were destroyed from the land. Only Noah and those who were with him in the ark remained alive.
Also the fountains of the deep [subterranean waters] and the windows of the heavens were closed, the [pouring] rain from the sky was restrained,
And the Lord brought Abram outside [his tent into the night] and said, “Look now toward the heavens and count the stars—if you are able to count them.” Then He said to him, “So [numerous] shall your descendants be.”
Then the Lord rained down brimstone (flaming sulfur) and fire on Sodom and on Gomorrah from the Lord out of heaven,
indeed I will greatly bless you, and I will greatly multiply your descendants like the stars of the heavens and like the sand on the seashore; and your seed shall possess the gate of their enemies [as conquerors].
I will make your descendants multiply as the stars of the heavens, and will give to your descendants all these lands; and by your descendants shall all the nations of the earth be blessed,
Now may God give you of the dew of heaven [to water your land],And of the fatness (fertility) of the earth,And an abundance of grain and new wine;
Then Isaac his father answered and [prophesied and] said to him,“Your dwelling shall be away from the fertility of the earthAnd away from the dew of heaven above;
By the God of your father who will help you,And by the Almighty who blesses youWith blessings of the heavens above,Blessings lying in the deep that couches beneath,Blessings of the [nursing] breasts and of the [fertile] womb.
Then the Lord said to Moses and Aaron, “Take handfuls of soot from the brick kiln, and let Moses throw it toward the sky in the sight of Pharaoh.
Now the Lord said to Moses, “Stretch out your hand [with your staff] toward the sky, so that there may be hail in all the land of Egypt, on man and on animal and on all the vegetation of the field, throughout the land of Egypt.”
Moses stretched out his staff toward the sky, and the Lord sent thunder and hail, and lightning (fireballs) ran down to the earth and along the ground. And the Lord rained hail on the land of Egypt.
Then the Lord said to Moses, “Stretch out your hand toward the sky, so that darkness may come over the land of Egypt, a darkness which [is so awful that it] may be felt.”
Then the Lord said to Moses, “Behold, I will cause bread to rain from heaven for you; the people shall go out and gather a day’s portion every day, so that I may test them [to determine] whether or not they will walk [obediently] in My instruction (law).
Then the Lord said to Moses, “Write this in the book as a memorial and recite it to Joshua, that I will utterly wipe out the memory of Amalek [and his people] from under heaven.”
“You shall not make for yourself any idol, or any likeness (form, manifestation) of what is in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the water under the earth [as an object to worship].
For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea and everything that is in them, and He rested (ceased) on the seventh day. That is why the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy [that is, set it apart for His purposes].
and they saw [a manifestation of] the God of Israel; and under His feet there appeared to be a pavement of sapphire, just as clear as the sky itself.
It is a sign between Me and the Israelites forever; for in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, and on the seventh day He ceased and was refreshed.”
Remember Abraham, Isaac, and Israel (Jacob), Your servants to whom You swore [an oath] by Yourself, and said to them, ‘I will multiply your descendants as the stars of the heavens, and all this land of which I have spoken I will give to your descendants, and they shall inherit it forever.’”
I will break your pride in your power, and I will make your sky like iron [giving no rain and blocking all prayers] and your ground like bronze [hard to plow and yielding no produce].
The Lord your God has multiplied you, and look, today you are as numerous as the stars of heaven.
Where can we go up? Our brothers (spies) have made our hearts melt [in fear] and demoralized us by saying, “The people are bigger and taller than we; the cities are large, and fortified [all the way up] to heaven. And besides, we saw the [giant-like] sons of the Anakim there.”’
This day I will begin to put the dread and the fear of you on the peoples (pagans) under the whole heaven, who, when they hear the reports about you, will tremble and be in anguish because of you.’
And beware that you do not raise your eyes toward heaven and see the sun and the moon and the stars, all the host of heaven, and let yourselves be led astray and worship them and serve them, [mere created bodies] which the Lord your God has allotted to [serve and benefit] all the peoples under the whole heaven.
“Indeed, ask now about the days that are past, [those days] which were before you, since the day that God created man on the earth, and ask from one end of the heavens to the other. Has anything been done like this great thing, or has anything been heard like it?
Therefore know and understand today, and take it to your heart, that the Lord is God in the heavens above and on the earth below; there is no other.
‘You shall not make for yourself an idol [as an object to worship], or any likeness (form, manifestation) of what is in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the water under the earth.
And He will hand over their kings to you, and you will make their name perish from under heaven; no man will be able to stand before you until you have destroyed them.
“Hear, O Israel! You are crossing the Jordan today to go in to dispossess nations greater and more powerful than you, great cities fortified to heaven,
Let Me alone, so that I may destroy them and wipe out their name from under heaven; and I will make of you a nation mightier and greater than they.’
Behold, the heavens and the highest of heavens belong to the Lord your God, the earth and all that is in it.
Your fathers went down to Egypt, seventy persons [in all], and now the Lord your God has made you as numerous as the stars of heaven.
But the land into which you are about to cross to possess, a land of hills and valleys, drinks water from the rain of heaven,
or [else] the Lord’s anger will be kindled and burn against you, and He will shut up the heavens so that there will be no rain and the land will not yield its fruit; and you will perish quickly from the good land which the Lord is giving you.
so that your days and the days of your children may be multiplied in the land which the Lord swore to your fathers to give them, as long as the heavens are above the earth.
and has gone and served other gods and worshiped them, or the sun or the moon or any of the heavenly host, [doing these things] which I have commanded not to do,
Therefore when the Lord your God has given you rest from all your surrounding enemies, in the land which the Lord your God gives you as an inheritance to possess, you shall wipe out the memory of Amalek from under heaven; you must not forget.
The Lord will open for you His good treasure house, the heavens, to give rain to your land in its season and to bless all the work of your hand; and you will lend to many nations, but you will not borrow.
The heaven which is over your head shall be bronze [giving no rain and blocking all prayers], and the earth which is under you, iron [hard to plow and yielding no produce].
The Lord will make the rain of your land powder and dust; from heaven it will come down on you until you are destroyed.
Because you did not obey the voice of the Lord your God, you who were as numerous as the stars of heaven shall be left few in number.
the Lord will not be willing to forgive him, but then the anger of the Lord and His jealousy will burn against that man, and every curse which is written in this book will rest on him; the Lord will blot out his name from under heaven.
Even if any of your dispersed are at the ends of the earth, the Lord your God will gather you together from there, and from there He will bring you back.
“Listen, O heavens, and I will speak;And let the earth hear the words of my mouth.
“There is none like the God of Jeshurun (Israel),Who rides the heavens to your help,And through the skies in His majestic glory.
“So Israel dwells in safety and security,The fountain of Jacob alone and secluded,In a land of grain and new wine;His heavens also drop down dew.
When the men of Ai turned back and looked, behold, the smoke of the city was ascending toward the sky, and they had no opportunity to run this way or that way. Then the people who had been running to the wilderness turned back toward the pursuers.
As they fled before Israel, while they were at the descent of Beth-horon, the Lord threw down large stones [of hail] from heaven on them as far as Azekah, and they died. More [Amorites] died because of the hailstones than those whom the sons of Israel killed with the sword.
So the sun stood still, and the moon stopped,Until the nation [of Israel] took vengeance upon their enemies.Is it not written in the Book of Jashar? So the sun stood still in the middle of the sky and was in no hurry to go down for about a whole day.
“Lord, when You went out from Seir,When You marched from the field of Edom,The earth quaked, the heavens also dripped,Yes, the clouds dripped water.
“From the heavens the stars fought,From their courses they fought against Sisera.
For when the flame went up toward heaven from the altar, the Angel of the Lord ascended in the altar flame. When Manoah and his wife saw this they fell on their faces to the ground.
But when the [signal] cloud began to rise out of the city in a column of smoke, the Benjamites looked behind them; and behold, the entire city went up in smoke to heaven.
Now Absalom met the servants of David. Absalom was riding on his mule, and the mule went under the thick branches of a massive tree, and his head was caught in [the thick branches of] the tree; and he was left hanging [in midair] between heaven and earth, while the mule that had been under him kept going.
“Then the earth shook and quaked,The foundations of the heavens trembledAnd were shaken, because He was angry.
“He bowed the heavens also, and came downWith thick darkness under His feet.
But will God indeed dwell on the earth? Behold, heaven and the highest heaven cannot contain You; how much less this house which I have built!
The dogs will eat [the carcass of] anyone belonging to Jeroboam who dies in the city, and the birds of the sky will eat [the carcass of] anyone who dies in the field, for the Lord has spoken it.”’
The dogs will eat anyone belonging to Baasha who dies in the city, and the birds of the sky will eat anyone belonging to him who dies in the field.”
In a little while the sky grew dark with clouds and wind, and there were heavy showers. And Ahab mounted and rode [his chariot] and went [inland] to Jezreel.
But the Lord had not said that He would blot out the name of Israel from under the heavens, so He saved them by the hand of Jeroboam [II] the son of Joash [king of Israel].
They abandoned all the commandments of the Lord their God and made for themselves cast images of two calves; and they made an Asherah [idol] and worshiped all the [starry] host of heaven and served Baal.
Hezekiah prayed before the Lord and said, “O Lord, the God of Israel, who is enthroned above the cherubim [of the ark in the temple], You are the God, You alone, of all the kingdoms of the earth. You have made the heavens and the earth.
For he rebuilt the high places [for the worship of pagan gods] which his father Hezekiah had destroyed; and he set up altars for Baal and made an [image of] Asherah, just as Ahab king of Israel had done, and he worshiped all the [starry] host of heaven and served them.
And he built altars for all the host of heaven in the two courtyards of the house of the Lord.
Then the king commanded Hilkiah the high priest and the priests of the second rank and the doorkeepers to bring out of the temple of the Lord all the articles made for Baal, for [the goddess] Asherah, and for all the [starry] host of heaven; and he burned them outside Jerusalem in the fields of the Kidron, and carried their ashes to Bethel [where Israel’s idolatry began].
He got rid of the idolatrous priests whom the kings of Judah had ordained to burn incense [to pagan gods] in the high places in Judah’s cities and all around Jerusalem—also those who burned incense to Baal, to the sun, to the moon, to the constellations [of the zodiac], and to all the [starry] host of heaven.
For all the gods of the peoples are [lifeless] idols,But the Lord made the heavens.
Let the heavens be glad, and let the earth rejoice;And let them say among the nations, “The Lord reigns.”
Then David raised his eyes and saw the angel of the Lord standing between earth and heaven, having a drawn sword in his hand stretched out over Jerusalem. Then David and the elders, covered in sackcloth, fell on their faces.
But David did not count those twenty years of age and under, for the Lord had said he would multiply Israel as the stars of heaven.
Yours, O Lord, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the victory and the majesty, indeed everything that is in the heavens and on the earth; Yours is the dominion and kingdom, O Lord, and You exalt Yourself as head over all.
and he said, “O Lord, God of Israel, there is no god like You in heaven or on the earth, keeping covenant and showing mercy and lovingkindness to Your servants who walk before You [in obedience] with all their heart,
“But will God actually dwell with mankind on the earth? Behold, heaven and the highest heaven cannot contain You; how much less this house which I have built!
“When the heavens are shut up and there is no rain because Your people have sinned against You, and they pray toward this place and confess Your name, and turn from their sin when You afflict and humble them;
For he rebuilt the [idolatrous] high places which his father Hezekiah had torn down; and he set up altars for the Baals and made the Asherim, and worshiped all the host of heaven [the sun, the moon, stars and planets] and served them.
He built altars for all the host of heaven in the two courts of the house of the Lord.
and I said, “O my God, I am ashamed and embarrassed to lift up my face to You, my God, for our wrongdoings have risen higher than our heads and our guilt has grown to the heavens.
but if you return to Me and keep My commandments and do them, though those of you who have been scattered are in the most remote part of the heavens, I will gather them from there and will bring them to the place where I have chosen for My Name to dwell.’
[And Ezra said],“You are the Lord, You alone;You have made the heavens,The heaven of heavens with all their host (the heavenly bodies),The earth and everything that is on it,The seas and everything that is in them.You give life to all of them,And the heavenly host is bowing down [in worship] to You.
While he was still speaking, another [messenger] also came and said, “The fire of God (lightning) has fallen from the heavens and has burned up the sheep and the servants and consumed them, and I alone have escaped to tell you.”
When they looked from a distance and did not recognize him [because of his disfigurement], they raised their voices and wept; and each one tore his robe [in grief] and they threw dust over their heads toward the sky [in sorrow].
Who alone stretches out the heavensAnd tramples down the waves of the sea;
So man lies down and does not rise [again].Until the heavens are no longer,The dead will not awake nor be raised from their sleep.
“Behold, God puts no trust in His holy ones (angels);Indeed, the heavens are not pure in His sight—
“Though his pride reaches the heavensAnd his head touches the clouds,
“The heavens will reveal his wickedness and guilt,And the earth will rise up against him.
‘Thick clouds are a hiding place for Him, so that He cannot see,And He walks on the vault (circle) of the heavens.’
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