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DEEP:

  • 1. In contradistinction to "rock," which is used figuratively for "a refuge" (Isa. xxxiii. 16; Ps. xxvii. 5, xl. 2, lxi. 3), the "deep" ("ma'amaḳḳim") is a metaphorical expression for misfortune or sorrow (Ps. lxix.2,15; cxxx. 1). Thus the "deep valley" ("'emeḳ") designates a "place of affliction and judgment" (Joel iv. 2, 12, 14, Hebr.), and the phrase "deep pit" and similar words are used in the sense of "great danger" (Prov. xxii. 14, xxiii. 27; Isa. xxiv. 17, 22; Zech. ix. 11; Ps. lv. 23, lxxi. 20, lxxxvi. 13, lxxxviii. 6, cvii. 20; Lam. iii. 47, 53; iv. 20; compare the Arabian saying. "They live in a valley that is at the mercy of torrents." Hence "the depths of Shcol" (Prov. ix. 18) is an image of utter affliction.
  • 2. "Deep" is also an expression for the unfathomableand inscrutable. Therefore hardened sinners are said to make deep—that is, heap up—their sins (Isa. xxxi. 6; Hosca v. 2, ix. 9), and "deep" is synonymous with "inexhaustible quantity" (Rom. xi. 33; II Cor. viii. 2). The Bible also speaks of people who are "deep"; that is, are cautious in speech (Isa. xxxiii. 19; Ezek. xxxiii. 5 et seq.). The Bible applies the word "deep" also to the heart (Ps. lxiv. 7; Judith viii. 14), and to a man's words (Prov. xviii. 4), or to his plans (Prov. xx. 5), while it finds "deep things" (secrets) in the universe (Job xii. 22), in the nature of things (Eccl. vii. 24), and in history (Dan. ii. 22). Hence the word "deep" is used in the sense of "inscrutable" in reference to God's thoughts (Ps. xcii. 6). As a further consequence of these metaphorical applications, "to make deep" came to be an equivalent for "to conceal" or "to deceive" (Isa. xxix. 15). It is interesting to note that in the cuneiform texts wisdom is designated as "the deep" ("nimeḳu"), and is characterized thereby as something difficult of attainment and seldom found.
E. G. H. E. K.
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