I am not looking for the meaning for the word ḥōq like answered here. but if it can be possibly interpreted as a sphere or a ball without being erroneous.

Isaiah 40:22

He sits enthroned above the circle of the earth, and its people are like grasshoppers. He stretches out the heavens like a canopy and spreads them out like a tent to live in

Also put in mind that there are verses with a word that means a ball like Isaiah 22:18 has the word "kad-dūr"

So the question is can Ishaiah 40:20 be translated correctly to this as the Arabic bible does ?

"He who sits on the globe, and its inhabitants are like grasshoppers. He who spreads the heavens as a tabernacle, and spreads them out as a tent to dwell in.” ( Isaiah 40:22 ).

All the Arabic versions of the bible translate it as globe while almost all the English translations translate it as circle ... so who is the right one ?

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    I am not sure how anything can be added on top of what was said earlier. The word refers either to the horizon or the dome or vault of heaven. It does not refer to a ball or sphere. If they wanted to write "ball" or similar, one might have used the word דּוּר as in Isa 22;18.
    – Dottard
    May 9, 2022 at 9:57
  • @Dottard Gotcha , So the All the Arabic bibles are in wrong for doing it this way ? ..... But how would horizon attach to "of the earth" I can't foreseen what would it actually mean ....Also isn't the dome thing related to the centralized earth and flat earth ? or ... ?
    – mina nageh
    May 9, 2022 at 22:14
  • See the earlier answer.
    – Dottard
    May 9, 2022 at 22:29
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    "the circle of the horizon of the dome of the sky" I am absolutely lost ... is there is any image of what does this look like ? but where did the earth word go ? even in the most correct translation on netbible.org/bible/Isaiah+40# .... it says " He is the one who sits on the earth’s horizon" not "the circle of the horizon of the dome of the sky" .... @Dottard
    – mina nageh
    May 10, 2022 at 15:39
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    This is pointless - you believe what you wish the Bible said, not what it says. See my other comments.
    – Dottard
    May 10, 2022 at 20:57

1 Answer 1


The word in question in Isaiah 40:22 is חוּג, chug, which appears in at least six other verses:

  1. I Samuel 30:16: וְהִנֵּה נְטֻשִׁים עַל פְּנֵי כָל הָאָרֶץ אֹכְלִים וְשֹׁתִים וְחֹגְגִים בְּכֹל הַשָּׁלָל הַגָּדוֹל אֲשֶׁר לָקְחוּ
  2. Isaiah 44:13: חָרַשׁ עֵצִים נָטָה קָו יְתָאֲרֵהוּ בַשֶּׁרֶד יַעֲשֵׂהוּ בַּמַּקְצֻעוֹת וּבַמְּחוּגָה יְתָאֳרֵהוּ וַיַּעֲשֵׂהוּ כְּתַבְנִית אִישׁ כְּתִפְאֶרֶת אָדָם לָשֶׁבֶת בָּיִת
  3. Psalms 42:5: אֵלֶּה אֶזְכְּרָה וְאֶשְׁפְּכָה עָלַי נַפְשִׁי כִּי אֶעֱבֹר בַּסָּךְ אֶדַּדֵּם עַד-בֵּית אֱלֹהִים בְּקוֹל-רִנָּה וְתוֹדָה הָמוֹן חוֹגֵג
  4. Psalms 107:27 יָחוֹגּוּ וְיָנוּעוּ כַּשִּׁכּוֹר וְכָל-חָכְמָתָם תִּתְבַּלָּע
  5. Proverbs 5:27: בַּהֲכִינוֹ שָׁמַיִם שָׁם אָנִי בְּחוּקוֹ חוּג עַל-פְּנֵי תְהוֹם
  6. Job 22:14: עָבִים סֵתֶר-לוֹ וְלֹא יִרְאֶה וְחוּג שָׁמַיִם יִתְהַלָּךְ

In I Samuel 30:16 it means "they are celebrating", probably because celebrants dance in circles.

In Isaiah 44:13 it means some sort of compass, a tool for drawing circles.

In Psalms 42:5 it means celebrating.

In Psalms 107:27 it refers to the movements of a drunk person - around in circles.

In Proverbs 5:27 it means circling from above like a hawk or vulture circles.

In Job 22:14 it means "the circle of the sky", though this reading is somewhat dependent on the readings in the previous verses.

So it would seem that the usage in question means "circle".

The only use of כדור in the OT is also in Isaiah, but not referring to the sky or the earth. In any event, כדור does not fit verse 40:22 because חוג is used to alliterate with חגבים, grasshoppers, in the continuation of the verse. So it is "circle", like in Job 22:14.

The other word that is used to describe the sky, רקיע, as used in Genesis and commonly translated as "firmament", has connotations of "background", "area", or "platform" or "a flattened area".

Having said all of this, I don't think that the translations to which you refer are incorrect or misleading, except in the word-for-word literal sense, which usually results in poor translation. The sense of the translation that you provide is correct. It would help to understand the translator's reasoning if you could quote the verse here في اللغة العربية or at least state which Arabic translation you are using.

At the time that Isaiah was written there was no science as we know it today. The descriptions of the world are presented as the common person experiences them in the day-to-day Iron Age ancient world, because that is the prophet's audience. There is no descernable intent to make any statement either directly or indirectly about physical reality, only a use of our common perceptions of that reality to make a spiritual point. There is no indication in the language of the OT in general of a concept of a sphere in contrast with something circular. The language of this chapter of Isaiah is poetic and figurative. Word choice in Isaiah is often for alliteratory effect, particularly in this verse. So this verse is open to a wide range of translations and can't be used in any arguments about astronomy or physics as we understand them today.

  • Thanks mate for the answer. Can you add the last parts about the possible translation that @Dottard said "the horizon of the dome of the sky" .... A picture of it will do. Also the most accurate translation of the bible on the whole web at netbible translated it as "earth’s horizon" with other possible meanings ... vault (of the heavens) which is what Dottard said ... about the misleading part or not ... i think that it can be .. cause if the bible guessed the shape of earth right at that time it may be considered a miracle or a way to prove if the earth is flat if circle word used.
    – mina nageh
    May 13, 2022 at 3:02
  • Finally , Can the verse be used to determine/tell/prove the shape of earth , incase of flat earther's or round earth believers ? as such misuse is show here youtu.be/XJZqxH2C-UM?t=1359 @Abu Munir Ibn Ibrahim al Yahud , Thanks
    – mina nageh
    May 13, 2022 at 3:07
  • Also i suggest that you take a look on the verses that mentioned the word... Cause i can't find them too... Click on the wanted word then strong search or word search.... Also even on bible hub... There is only 3 mentions of the word... I think there is an error on your side biblehub.com/hebrew/2329.htm. |netbible.org/reader/bible/Isaiah%2040
    – mina nageh
    May 13, 2022 at 4:07
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    @minanageh Answered your comments in an edit to the reply. May 13, 2022 at 6:57
  • Dear @Abu Munir Ibn Ibrahim al Yahud .... The word in question "חוּג" which is used as a Noun Masculine in Isaiah 40:22 which is the verse in question doesn't use it as a Verb with code name H2329 not H2328 That leaves us with 3 verses only not 6... |Job 22:14 - Proverbs 8:27 - Isaiah 40:22| if you go with the verb one then we only have Job 26:10 but that isn't what we looking for. The word "חָגַג" with code name "H2287" in I Samuel 30:16 occurs in over 15 verses !! ... Remove Isaiah 44:13 & Psalms 42:5 & Psalms 107:27 from your answer and reformat pls
    – mina nageh
    May 13, 2022 at 19:47

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