"He gathereth the waters of the sea together as an heap: He layeth up the depth in storehouses" (Psalm 33:7).
The ocean, the virtually unexplored mass covering seventy-one percent of the earth's surface and comprising a volume of 340 million cubic miles, occupied a place of special interest to Old Testament Israelites. They frequently used the word tehom (translated as "deep" or "depth" in English Bibles) to describe this extraordinary environment.
The ocean was present in the creation. Genesis 1:2 says, "And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep |tehom|. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters." Psalm 33:7 refers to waters during creation being placed in "storehouses," which is possibly a reference to "springs of the sea" (Job 38:16) when God "shut up the sea with doors" (Job 38:8).
The ocean was also involved in judgment. Genesis 7:11 says that the "fountains of the great deep" were a physical cause of Noah's Flood. Later, at God's command, the "fountains also of the deep . . . were stopped" (Genesis 8:2). We are told of God's sovereign control of the sea when the children of Israel passed through the Red Sea during the Exodus: "Art thou not it which hath dried the sea, the waters of the great deep; that hath made the depths of the sea a way for the ransomed to pass over?" (Isaiah 51:10). Thus, two of the most remarkable judgments and deliverances involved the ocean. "Whatsoever the LORD pleased, that did He in heaven, and in earth, in the seas, and all deep places" (Psalm 135:6). "By His knowledge the depths are broken up" (Proverbs 3:20).
Finally, the contemplation of the ocean drew the writers of the Old Testament into an attitude of worship. After mentioning the ocean, David says, "Let all the earth fear the LORD: let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of Him" (Psalm 33:8). SAA