1. Depression in the middle of the belly marking the place where the umbilical cord was formerly attached.
Ezekiel 16:4 graphically portrays Jerusalem's hopeless state before God's adoption in the image of a child whose navel string (umbilical cord) is not cut (See Midwife). Modern translations often replace navel with another word more appropriate to the context, for example, flesh or belly (Job 40:16;
Song of Solomon 7:2). 2. Hebrew expression for “midst of the land” or “center of the earth” (NRSV) in
Ezekiel 38:12. Israel's neighbors used the term to designate the earthly place, often a worship place or sacred city, linking heaven and earth. Some scholars use later Jewish references to Jerusalem as the cultic “navel of the earth” to interpret Gerazim and Jerusalem as places celebrated as the earth's linking point. The two biblical passages seem to have only geographical meanings, however.
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 'NAVEL'". "Holman Bible Dictionary".