The word Miqveh in Hebrew means hope.


Original: מּקוא מקוה מקוה o

Transliteration: miqveh miqvêh miqvê'

Phonetic: mik-veh'

BDB Definition:

  • hope

  • ground of hope

  • things hoped for

  • outcome

Origin: from H6960

Part(s) of speech: Noun Masculine

Strong's Definition: miqveh miqvêh miqvê'....

From H6960; something waited for, that is, confidence (objectively or subjectively); also a collection, that is, (of water) a pond, or (of men and horses) a caravan or drove: - abiding, gathering together, hope, linen yarn, plenty [of water], pool.

But in Genesis 1:10

And God called the dry land Earth and the gathering together (H4723=Miqveh) of the waters called he Seas: and God saw that it was good

The same word also occurs in other passages of the old testament like:

Lev 11:36

Nevertheless a fountain or pit, wherein there is plenty of water (H4723=Miqveh), shall be clean : but that which toucheth their carcass shall be unclean

Exo 7:19

the LORD spake unto Moses, Say unto Aaron , Take thy rod, and stretch out thine hand  upon the waters of Egypt, upon their streams, upon their rivers, and upon their ponds, and upon all their pools (H4723=Miqveh) of water  that they may become blood ; ......

John the beloved who was Jewish later said this about the new earth.

In Revelations 21:1

Now I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away. Also there was no more sea.

John being Jewish is speaking about the sea based on the early Mosaic definition (Sea= the gathering of the waters).

So this is why I am in need of clarity as to Moses' choice of the word Miqveh to describe the gathering of the waters that made it possible for dry land to appear.

  • In the Apocalypse, the sea is imagery for the nations. Out of that comes the beast. Finally, there is only New Jerusalem - and no more sea.
    – Nigel J
    Nov 16, 2017 at 22:28
  • A "sea" is different from the primordial ocean in that it is enclosed, such as the Dead Sea. In fact, "No more sea" refers specifically to the Dead Sea and not to the primordial ocean.
    – Ruminator
    Nov 17, 2017 at 1:51
  • Note the homonyms in BDB: †I. מִקְוֶה S4723, 4724 TWOT1994c, 1995a GK5223, 5224, 5225 n.[m.] hope; Brown, F., Driver, S. R., & Briggs, C. A. (1977). Enhanced Brown-Driver-Briggs Hebrew and English Lexicon (p. 876). Oxford: Clarendon Press. †II. [מִקְוֶה S4723, 4724 TWOT1994c, 1995a GK5223, 5224, 5225] n.[m.] collection, collected mass (P);—cstr. מִקְוֵה Gn 1:10 Brown, F., Driver, S. R., & Briggs, C. A. (1977). Enhanced Brown-Driver-Briggs Hebrew and English Lexicon (p. 876). Oxford: Clarendon Press.
    – Perry Webb
    Feb 11, 2018 at 0:30

2 Answers 2


מִקְוֶה is a homograph - it has two different, distinct meanings.

Genensius' Hebrew-Chaldee Lexicon to the Old Testament explains:

מִקְוֶה (from the root קָוָה), [once מִקְוֵח, once מִקְוֵא כ׳].

(1) prop. expectation, hope, confidence, 1 Ch. 29:15; Ezr. 10:2; also the person confided in, used of God, Jer. 14:8; 17:13; 50:7.

(2) a congregation, gathering together (from the root קָוָה Niph. to be gathered together).—(a) of water, Gen. 1:10; Exod. 7:19; Levit. 11:36.—(b) a host, a company of men and animals, as horses.

The Septuagint reads σύστημα (systema) (viz. "system"), meaning "community", "gathering", consistent with the latter meaning above. Jerome translated the proto-Hebrew he consulted into congregātiō.

Based on these witnesses, it does not seem that the writer intended the latter meaning (a gathering) and not the former (hope).

  • Thanks for your response. But your answer doesn't plunge the depths of the question. The word Miqveh is also used in 2ch 1:16 and 1ki 10:28 to describe linen yarn. Nov 17, 2017 at 18:09
  • I'm looking for an inspired angle as to why Moses specifically chose a word that could mean yarn, plenty water and hope to describe an act of God in creation. Possibly the most important act. Cos it is around the dust/ land that the entire biblical narrative is centered. Nov 17, 2017 at 18:12
  • The word in 2 Chronicles is קְוֵה (qewē(h)), a proper noun - the city of Que (or Kue). Some versions mistranslate this verse; the JPS Tanakh reads, Solomon's horses were imported from Egypt and from Que .... The mistranslation arises from the KJV translators' unfamiliarity with the place the verse referred to. There is an explanation here
    – user33515
    Nov 17, 2017 at 19:07
  • I guess what I am saying is that there does not seem to be a basis for such a reading given the various witnesses we have to the original text, the oldest being the Septuagint (2nd c. BC), the latest being the Masoretic Text (11th c. AD).
    – user33515
    Nov 17, 2017 at 19:11
  • Isn't it striking that in 1jn 3:4 he says "whoever has this hope in him purifies himself just as he is pure". If hope purifies just like water does. Then John may be giving us a clue as to the true symbolism behind the ceremonial washings of the old testament.
    – user20490
    Nov 18, 2017 at 0:49

More than literal creation of heaven/earth... Words in Hebrew have multiple meanings and it can be profound, just look at the following words and many others from Genesis 1 which are used in Isaiah: gathered/hope:qavah:6960/8615 from:beyin:0996 season:mow`ed:4150

Isaiah the book of new heavens/earth... God rested in the 7th day, sabbath law etc, creation of the world means much more than something literal when looking at the prophet's (and God's) perspective...

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