chan'-el ('aphiq (root 'aphaq, "to hold or contain," "to be strong"; compare Arabic 'afaq "to overcome" and 'afiq, "preeminent"); shibboleth (shabhal, "to go," "to go up or grow," "to flow"; compare Arabic 'asbal, "to flow," "to rain," "to put forth ears"; sabalat, "an ear of grain"; sabil, "a road," "a public fountain")): In Job 12:21; 40:18; 41:15 we have 'aphiq in the sense of "strong" (but compare Job 40:18, the Revised Version (British and American) "tubes" (of brass)). Elsewhere it is translated "river," "brook," "stream," "channel" or "watercourse." Shibboleth (in the dialect of Ephraim cibboleth (Jg 12:6)) means "an ear of grain" (Ge 41:5 ff; Ru 2:2; Isa 17:5) or "a flood of water" (Ps 69:2,15; Isa 27:12). In 2 Sam 22:16 (compare Ps 18:15) we have:

See the definition of channel in the KJV Dictionary

"Then the channels of the sea appeared,

The foundations of the world were laid bare,

See also the McClintock and Strong Biblical Cyclopedia.

By the rebuke of Yahweh,

At the blast of the breath of his nostrils."

This is reminiscent of "fountains of the deep" (Ge 7:11; 8:2; Pr 8:28). It is a question how far we should attribute to these ancient writers a share in modern notions of oceanography, but the idea seems to be that of a withdrawal of the water of the ocean, and the laying bare of submarine declivities and channels such as we know to exist as the result of erosion during a previous period of elevation, when the given portion of ocean floor was dry land.

The fact that many streams of Palestine flow only during the rainy season seems to be referred to in Job 6:15; and perhaps also in Ps 126:4.


Alfred Ely Day

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