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In Genesis 1:2, darkness and deep are much more than the absence of light and depth. They correspond to the meaning of tohu va bohu.

In Genesis 1:2 the darkness and deep before Genesis in stark contrast to life after Genesis

The darkness and deep before Genesis in stark contrast to life after Genesis

The description of Earth, in Genesis 1:2, before the seven days of creation is intriguing. There are many interpretations of this situation. To understand God’s intention, we need to look at the Biblical Hebrew, particularly the Hebrew roots. The English can lead us astray, whereas the Hebrew word roots, the sixth Key to master Biblical Hebrew, unlock Bible meaning.

Genesis 1:2

And the earth was without form, H8414 and void; H922 and darkness H2822 was upon the face of the deep (H8415). And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.

We have a cursory knowledge of the meaning of the words darkness (H2822) and deep (H8415) in Genesis 1:2, so we don’t give it much more attention than that.

The Deep associated with darkness before creation

Deep in Genesis 1:2, as you now can easily understand, also carries a meaning beyond simple physical depth. Go to and find the root meaning. In Strong, every time you see from H… you are seeing a derivative of a root word. The root word will be a link, click and you’ll see the root.


תְּהוֹם tᵉhôwm teh-home’; or תְּהֹם; (usually feminine) from H1949 (הוּם); an abyss (as a surging mass of water), especially the deep (the main sea or the subterranean watersupply):

KJV – deep (place), depth.


הוּם hûwm hoom; a primitive root (compare H2000 (הָמַם)); to make an uproar, or agitate greatly:

KJV – destroy, move, make a noise, put, ring again.

Already we see destroy, move, noise which, in English, have nothing to do with deep. The Hebrew is telling us the state of the Earth prior to the 7 day Creation was destruction associated with noisy movement.

Compare H2000. From the Hebrew word in brackets following H2000 (הָמַם) you see we have the same letters as H1949, הוּם. I agree, this can be a little tricky, but practice makes perfect. For information, in הוּם. the middle letter is a vowel and in הָמַם the last two letters מַם are the same. In Hebrew, a few letters change shape at the end of the word. Also, when there are only two letters in a word (הם), often the second doubles to reach a three-letter root (הָמַם). A bit of grammar, but not to worry, Strong has got your back and with these comparisons knows these rules. The point is to realize how roots dig deep in a fuller comprehension of Genesis 1:2.

Exercise: Click on the link H2000. See if the meaning enhances your understanding of deep and destroy.

>> Do this exercise now, before continuing 🙂 then open the box below, for the answer (down-arrow on the right).

H2000 compared to deep and destroy

H2000 – compare H2000 (H1949)

הָמַם hâmam haw-mam’; a primitive root (compare H1949 (הוּם), H1993 (הָמָה)); properly, to put in commotion; by implication, to disturb, drive, destroy:   

KJV – break, consume, crush, destroy, discomfit, trouble, vex.


הָמָה hâmâh haw-maw’; a primitive root (compare H1949 (הוּם)); to make a loud sound (like English ‘hum’); by implication, to be in great commotion or tumult, to rage, war, moan, clamor:

KJV – clamorous, concourse, cry aloud, be disquieted, loud, mourn, be moved, make a noise, rage, roar, sound, be troubled, make in tumult, tumultuous, be in an uproar.

Did you click on H1993? It too, has the same root letters (הָמָה). The ה at the end (left) is a silent vowel in this case. The English translated words are revealing: commotion, clamourous, tumult….

There certainly was a hullabaloo on Earth before the 7-day Creation. The question is, what is this tumult? Since God doesn’t destroy, for simple destruction, who did? If the Earth was in a state of destruction before the 7-day Creation, when did Earth come into existence? Yes, there might be more questions than answers at this point, but at least you have the right scenario.

Tip: At the bottom of each Strong’s entry there are two links, Previous / Next 5. They allow you to see more entries. Check the letters to see words with the same roots. The transliterations also help you to know there are similar letters. Get familiar with Biblical Hebrew roots spread over numerous words. The nuances, as we see in Genesis 1:2, add clarity and reveal a fuller picture than just deep.

Exercise: Click on the links before and after H1949 and H1993. See more words related to deep. This is a more lengthy list because I want you to feel the impact of Hebrew roots for unlocking Bible meaning. You’ll also see a name that you could be familiar with. What is its role?

>> Do this exercise now, before continuing 🙂 then open the box below, for the answer (down-arrow on the right).

Click on Previous / Next 5

Next 5 after H1949.


הוֹמָם Hôwmâm ho-mawm’; from H2000 (הָמַם); raging; Homam, an Edomitish chieftain:

KJV – Homam. Compare H1967 (הֵימָם).


הָמוֹן hâmôwn haw-mone’; or הָמֹן; (Ezekiel 5:7), from H1993 (הָמָה); a noise, tumult, crowd; also disquietude, wealth:

KJV – abundance, company, many, multitude, multiply, noise, riches, rumbling, sounding, store, tumult.


הֲמוֹן גּוֹג Hămôwn Gôwg ham-one’ gohg; from H1995 (הָמוֹן) and H1463 (גּוֹג); the multitude of Gog; the fanciful name of an emblematic place in Palestine:

KJV – Hamogog.


הֲמוֹנָה Hămôwnâh ham-o-naw’; feminine of H1995 (הָמוֹן); multitude; , the same as H1996 (הֲמוֹן גּוֹג) Hamonah:

KJV – Hamonah.


הֶמְיָה hemyâh hem-yaw’; from H1993 (הָמָה); sound:

KJV – noise.

Previous 5.


הֵם hêm haym; from H1993 (הָמָה); abundance, i.e. wealth:

KJV – any of theirs.

Hamogog, H1996 should remind you of Revelation 20:8 “…Gog and Magog, to gather them together to battle: the number of whom is as the sand of the sea.” The multitude making a tumult of destruction. By the way, this incorporates Key 5, the meaning of names. See how interesting and instructive this study gets.

Exercise: Click on Hebrew Concordance for H8415 (under Strong’s entry for deep) and read those verses.

Exodus 15:5 reveals this figurative commotion aspect of deep in Genesis 1:2: “The depths (H8415) have covered them [referring to enemies]: they sank into the bottom as a stone.” Is the use of this hyperbole an exaggeration? Is there a biblical example of going from the highest height to the lowest depths?

Read these articles for more information about this destruction before the Creation and who fell into the deep pit.

Biblical Hebrew roots reveal much more than any foreign language. Key 6 is fundamental to unlock Bible meaning. Do the same study for without form, void, darkness in Genesis 1:2. There’s more in the next lesson.


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