Before the mountains had been shaped, before the hills, I was brought forth, before he had made the earth with its fields, or the first of the dust of the world. When he established the heavens, I was there; when he drew a circle on the face of the deep,(Proverbs 8:25-27) ESV
We think of Earth as down and the sky as up. Heaven above and hell below. Whatever happened on the second day has to allow for the eventual formation of heaven and hell. These aren’t spiritual concepts.
A compass refers to a drawing instrument compass, not a device for finding direction. We have to regard this as the description of physical changes that the deep is undergoing. It’s not flowery poetic speech.
The word taba also occurs in Proverbs 8:25-27, one of the passages from which we deduced that the creative act of the second day is the inception of gravity. God set a compass on the face of the depth. The point of the compass (focus) is the location of a gravitational singularity; the drawn circle (circumference) is the location of the firmament. In this case taba is translated were settled. So then:
- Before the mountains were settled [sank down], before the hills, before God made the Earth or the fields or the highest part of the dust of the Earth,
- the 3rd day of creation.
- When he prepared the heavens, when he set a compass on the face of the deep,
- the 2nd day of creation.
This is very precise timing for the concept of gravity, sinking down, to occur.
The concept of sinking down occurs in the creation narrative when God laid the foundations of the earth.