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Psalm 104:5

"He set the earth on its foundations, so that it should never be moved". ESV. My emphasis.

Benson Commentary gives a time limit to this "never". It says,"till the end of time when it must give way to the new earth".

I'm not sure about the Hebrew, but "never" in the ESV seems to be saying, "without time limit".

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  • My answer is more complete now.
    – Perry Webb
    Feb 12, 2022 at 21:00

2 Answers 2

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  He established the earth on its foundations, 
          [יָֽסַד‬־אֶ֭רֶץ עַל־מְכֹונֶ֑יהָ]
     so that it shall never totter.
              [בַּל־תִּ֝מֹּ֗וט עֹולָ֥ם‬ וָעֶֽד׃]
             (Psalm 104:5, JPS)

Never comes from בַּל (not) ... עֹולָ֥ם (forever) וָעֶֽד (and ever). Thus, while עֹולָ֥ם can be disputed as meaning forever, when it's עֹולָ֥ם‬ וָעֶֽד, that is difficult to dispute. Thus, "never" is the author's intent. However, "end of time" is probably a valid ending to "never." Rev. 21:1 supports this view.

Psa. 45:7, “thy throne established by God [really “thy throne, O God”] לְעוֹלָם וָעֶד (shall stand) for ever.” Psalm 89:37, “his (David’s) seed shall endure for ever.” -- Gesenius, W., & Tregelles, S. P. (2003). In Gesenius’ Hebrew and Chaldee lexicon to the Old Testament Scriptures (p. 613). Logos Bible Software.

Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. (Rev. 21:1, ESV)

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I think Perry Webb makes it very clear that "never" from the Hebrew is forever and ever, i.e. without end. But then he modifies this by quoting Rev 21:1. So here I want to look at "new/kainen" in Rev 21:1

Romans 8:21

"The creation itself will beset free from its bondage to corruption". ESV.

Here the old is set free to become the new.

Matthew 5:5

"Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth".

I suggest here "the earth" implies the earth that people know about and not another one.

Colossians 2:20

"If with Christ you died to the elemental spirits of the world".

Here "elemental" are the fundamental principles by which the worldly spirits live. "stoicheion/elements" are basic principles not physical elements.

2 Peter 3:10

"But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a roar, and the heavenly bodies will be burned up and dissolved, and the earth and the works that are done on it will be exposed".

The "stoicheia/bodies" will be burned up. The elemental principles by which this world, first earth, is presently governed will be burned up and dissolved. The curse of Genesis 3:14-15 will be lifted.

Then the earth will be different/re-newed. Or as HELPS Word studies-'"New/kainon" in quality, fresh in development'. [This is not "neos /new" which might imply quantity, a second earth].

Conclusion: I quote 4 verses above that appear to me to be in broad agreement that "never" is not curtailed by the old being replaced by the new. Since the "new" is the old with the quality of the curse lifted.

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