Q. Isa 48:13 My own hand laid the foundations of the earth, and my right hand spread out the heavens …
2 Sam 22:8 “Then the earth shook and quaked, The foundations of heaven were trembling and were shaken, because He was angry.
Does the Bible tell us what are the foundations of the earth and the foundations of heaven? Why heaven and heavens? (singular and plural)
A. It appears you’ve quoted the NIV for Isa 48:13 but the NASB for 2 Sam 22:8. For consistency I will use the more literal NASB throughout. The term “foundations of the earth” appears 7 times in the NASB, as follows:
• Ps 82:5 They do not know nor do they understand; They walk about in darkness; All the foundations of the earth are shaken.
• Prov 8:29 When He set for the sea its boundary So that the water would not transgress His command, When He marked out the foundations of the earth;
• Isa 24:18 Then it will be that he who flees the report of disaster will fall into the pit, And he who climbs out of the pit will be caught in the snare; For the windows above are opened, and the foundations of the earth shake.
• Isa 40:21 Do you not know? Have you not heard? Has it not been declared to you from the beginning? Have you not understood from the foundations of the earth?
• Isa 51:13 That you have forgotten the LORD your Maker, Who stretched out the heavens And laid the foundations of the earth, That you fear continually all day long because of the fury of the oppressor, As he makes ready to destroy? But where is the fury of the oppressor?
• Jer 31:37 Thus says the LORD, “If the heavens above can be measured And the foundations of the earth searched out below, Then I will also cast off all the offspring of Israel For all that they have done,” declares the LORD.
• Micah 6:2 “Listen, you mountains, to the indictment of the LORD, And you enduring foundations of the earth, Because the LORD has a case against His people; Even with Israel He will dispute.
While you may be thinking of a literal, physical foundation, the Bible uses this term more figuratively:
• Ps 82:5 – In context God addresses kings & judges as “gods” who know & understand nothing. So the “foundations” or world order under their rule are shaken.
• Prov 8:29 – God’s work in creation is compared to the construction of a building. It is pictorial language.
• Isa 24:18 – The shaking of the foundations refers to earthquakes
• Isa 40:21 – “from the foundations of the earth” means “since the earth was founded” i.e. since the beginning of creation
• Isa 51:13 – Poetic description of God as Maker or Creator
• Jer 31:37 – A promise that God will not completely cast off Israel, similar to the Lord’s “it is easier for heaven & earth to pass away” in Lk 16:17
• Micah 6:2 – Here God is depicted as prosecutor bringing charges against Israel & calling inanimate objects (mountains & foundations) as witnesses because they are enduring or lasting.
Although I believe in a literal interpretation as far as possible, I also believe the Bible uses figurative language and we need not always push for a literal physical explanation.
(To be continued)