1. Fixed foundation; established basis. [Obs.]
Custom is the . . . firmament of the law. --Jer. Taylor.
2. The region of the air; the sky or heavens.
And God said, Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters. --Gen. i. 6.
And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament. --Gen. i. 14.
Note: ☞ In Scripture, the word denotes an expanse, a wide extent; the great arch or expanse over out heads, in which are placed the atmosphere and the clouds, and in which the stars appear to be placed, and are really seen.
3. Old Astron. The orb of the fixed stars; the most remote of the celestial spheres.
n : the apparent surface of the imaginary sphere on which
celestial bodies appear to be projected [syn: celestial
sphere, sphere, empyrean, heavens, vault of
from the Vulgate firmamentum, which is used as the translation
of the Hebrew _raki'a_. This word means simply "expansion." It
denotes the space or expanse like an arch appearing immediately
above us. They who rendered _raki'a_ by firmamentum regarded it
as a solid body. The language of Scripture is not scientific but
popular, and hence we read of the sun rising and setting, and
also here the use of this particular word. It is plain that it
was used to denote solidity as well as expansion. It formed a
division between the waters above and the waters below (Gen.
1:7). The _raki'a_ supported the upper reservoir (Ps. 148:4). It
was the support also of the heavenly bodies (Gen. 1:14), and is
spoken of as having "windows" and "doors" (Gen. 7:11; Isa.
24:18; Mal. 3:10) through which the rain and snow might descend.