Tract of land surrounded by water. Modern translations sometimes replace the island or isle of the KJV with the terms coast, coastline, or coastland (compare
Jeremiah 2:10). “Islands” frequently appears in parallel to peoples/nations (Isaiah 41:1;
Jeremiah 31:10) and to the earth (Isaiah 42:4). Often the idea of distant peoples and places is stressed by the parallelism (Isaiah 41:5;
Isaiah 49:1). The Hebrews were not a seafaring people and so easily equated the Mediterranean islands with the ends of the earth.
Scripture mentions many islands by name: Arvad (Ezekiel 27:8,Ezekiel 27:11) is an island two miles offshore from northern Phoenicia. Clauda or Cauda (NRSV) is a small island off Crete (Acts 27:16). Chios (Acts 20:15) is an island off the coast of Ionia. Coos or Cos (Acts 21:1 NIV) is an island 50 miles northwest of Rhodes. Crete (the Old Testament Caphtor,
Amos 9:7) is an island 152 miles long located to the southeast of Greece (Titus 1:5,
Titus 1:12). Cyprus (home of the Old Testament Chittim,
Ezekiel 27:6) is an island 75 miles long located toward the eastern end of the Mediterranean (Acts 4:36;
Acts 11:19-20 among others). Melita or Malta (NAS) is an island located 50 miles southwest of Sicily (Acts 27:39-28:10). Patmos is an island off the coast of Ionia west of Samos (Revelation 1:9). Rhodes is an island southwest of Asia Minor (Acts 21:1). Samos is an island located off the Ionian coast twelve miles southwest of Ephesus (Acts 20:15). Sardinia is a western Mediterranean island south of Corsica. Tyre (Ezekiel 26:2) was a famous Phoenician island city.
These dictionary topics are from the Holman Bible Dictionary, published by Broadman & Holman, 1991. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Broadman & Holman.
Butler, Trent C. Editor.. "Entry for 'ISLAND'". "Holman Bible Dictionary".