רָקִיעַ raqiya
The word raqiya comes from the root word raqa which can be found in several passages including Isaiah 40:19 - "The idol! a workman casts it, and a goldsmith overlays it with gold, and casts for it silver chains." The word "overlay" is the verb root raqa. Raqa is the process of hammering out a piece of gold or other metal into thin plates which was then applied to a carved or molten image. Numbers 16:39 reads "So Eleazar the priest took the bronze censers, which those who were burned had offered; and they were hammered out as a covering for the altar." Here, the phrase "were hammered out" is again the verb root raqa. The gold was hammered into thin sheets then laid over the surface of the alter. The word raqiya is the noun form of the verb raqa and is literally a "hammered out sheet". There are some scientists who have speculated that before the flood there was a thick sheet of water surrounding the earth up in the atmosphere. It is then possible that the "floodgates of heaven were opened," at the beginning of the flood, is the collapse of this "hammered out sheet" of water. It is estimated that the sheet of water would have filtered out harmful sun rays and contributed to the longevity of life on earth before the flood.

Strong's: #7549

Web Ancient-Hebrew.Org

AHRC Book Recommendation
(see our other recommendations)