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Tehom (Hebrew: תְּהוֹם‎), literally "deep" or "abyss".

Tehom in the Bible refers to the great deep of the primordial waters of creation. It is first mentioned in Genesis 1:2: "veharetz hayta tohu vavohu vekhoshekh al-pnei tehom veruach elohim merakhefet al-pnei hamayyim". "And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.". (King James version)

It was from this place that the waters of Noah's flood had their origin (Gen. 7:11) and the place that God temporarily receded the sea for the Israelites to pass over (Isaiah 51:10) before destroying a pursuing army with a tidal wave, and the place that God will dry up for the righteous to walk on towards their redemption at the end of days. In contrast to this, in another book from the Jewish Bible the drying of the Tehom will be a punishment to the wicked rather than a reward. (Isaiah 19:5)

In Gnostic Belief used this text to propose the original creator God, called the "Pleroma" or "Bythos" (from the Greek, meaning "Deep") was supposed to pre-exist Elohim, and gave rise to such later divinities and spirits by way of emanations, progressively more distant and removed from the original form.

Tehom is also the first of seven "Infernal Habitations" that correspond to the ten Qliphoth (literally "peels") of Jewish Kabbalic tradition.

"Tehom" is a cognate of the Akkadian word tamtu and Ugaritic t-h-m which have similar meaning.

References


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