It is uncertain what this term (BDB 70, KB 83) means. It is something that lets something through.

  1. windows - Gen. 7:11; 8:2; 2 Kgs. 7:2,19; Isa. 24:18; Mal. 3:10
  2. lattice - Eccl. 12:3
  3. chimney - Hosea 13:3

Remember the ANE worldview.

  1. solid dome separated the waters above from the waters below
  2. moisture in its many forms fell from above
  3. deity controlled the moisture's release (i.e., blessing or judgment)
  4. there must be some mechanism to release the water
    1. Mesopotamian imagery - "breasts of heaven"
    2. Ugaritic imagery - clouds are buckets
    3. Egyptian imagery - gates
See John H. Walton, Ancient Near Eastern Thought and the OT, p. 170 and NIDOTTE, vol.2, pp. 143-144.

The Bible uses ANE imagery without affirming the reality of its polytheism. The Bible asserts the full and complete sovereignty of YHWH. This theistic worldview contrasts sharply with the modern scientific worldview. The Bible is not anti-scientific, but pre-scientific. Imagery is a tool to drive home truth.

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