New American Standard Bible
Who makes the Bear, Orion and the Pleiades, And the chambers of the south;
King James Bible
Which maketh Arcturus, Orion, and Pleiades, and the chambers of the south.
Darby Bible Translation
Who maketh the Bear, Orion, and the Pleiades, and the chambers of the south;
World English Bible
He makes the Bear, Orion, and the Pleiades, and the rooms of the south.
Young's Literal Translation
Making Osh, Kesil, and Kimah, And the inner chambers of the south.
Job 9:9 Parallel
CommentaryBarnes' Notes on the Bible
Which maketh Arcturus - This verse, with others of the same description in the book of Job, is of special importance, as they furnish an illustration of the views which prevailed among the patriarchs on the subject of astronomy. There are frequent references to the sciences in this book (see the Introduction), and there is no source of illustration of the views which prevailed in the earliest times in regard to the state of the sciences, so copious as can be found in this poem. The thoughts of people were early turned to the science of astronomy. Not only were they led to this by the beauty of the heavens, and by the instinctive promptings of the human mind to know something about them, but the attention of the Chaldeans and of the other Oriental nations was early drawn to them by the fact that they were shepherds, and that they passed much of their time in the open air at night, watching their flocks.
Having nothing else to do, and being much awake, they would naturally contrive to relieve the tediousness of the night by watching the movements of the stars; and they early gave employment to their talents, by endeavoring to ascertain the influence which the stars exerted over the fates of people, and to their imagination, by dividing the heavens into portions, having a fancied resemblance to certain animals, and by giving them appropriate names. Hence, arose the arrangement of the stars into constellations, and the names which they still bear. The Hebrew word rendered Arcturus, is עשׁ ‛ayı̂sh. The Septuagint renders it, Πλειάδα Pleiada - the Pleiades. Jerome, Arcturum. The Hebrew word usually means a moth, Job 4:19; Job 13:28; Job 27:18. It also denotes the splendid constellation in the northern hemisphere, which we call Ursa Major, the Great Bear, Arcturus, or the Wain; compare Niebuhr, Des. of Arabia, p. 114.
The word עשׁ ‛ayı̂sh does not literally mean a bear, but is made by aphaeresis from the Arabic nas, by the excision of the initial n - as is common in Arabic; see Bochart, Hieroz. P. II. Lib. I. c. xvi. p. 113, 114. The word in Arabic means a bier, and is the name given to the constellation which we denominate Ursa Major, "because," says Bochart, "the four stars, which are a square, are regarded as a bier, on which a dead body is borne. The three following (the tail of the bear) are the daughters or sons which attend the funeral as mourners." This name is often given to this constellation in Arabic. The Arabic name is Elna'sch, the bier. "The expression," says Ideler, "denotes particularly the bier on which the dead are borne, and taken in this sense, each of the two biers in the Ursa Major and Ursa Minor is accompanied by three mourning-women. The biers and the mourning-women together, are called Benâtna'sch, literally, daughters of the bier; that is, those who pertain to the bier."
Untersuchungen uber den Ursprung und die Bedeutung der Sternnamen, S. 419; compare Job 38:32 : "Canst thou guide Arcturus with his sons?" Schultens regards the word עשׁ ‛ayı̂sh as synonymous with the Arabic asson, night-vigil, from assa to go about by night, and supposes this constellation to be so called, because it always revolves around the pole, and never sets. The situation and figure of this constellation are well known. It is seen at all times in the northern part of the heavens, perpetually revolving around the North Star, and two of its principal stars point to the North Star always. Its resemblance to a bear, is quite fanciful - as it might be imagined as well to resemble any other object. The design of this fancy was merely to assist the memory. The only thing which seems to have suggested it was its slight resemblance to an animal followed by its young. Thus, the stars, now known as the "tail," might have been supposed to resemble the cubs of a bear following their dam.
The comparison of the constellation to a bier, and the movement to a funeral procession, with the sons or daughters of the deceased following on in the mourning train, is much more poetical and beautiful. This constellation is so conspicuous, that it has been an object of interest in all ages, and has been one of the groups of stars most attentively observed by navigators, as a guide in sailing. The reason was, probably, that as it constantly revolved around the North Pole, it could always be seen in clear weather, and thus the direction in which they were sailing, could always be told. It has had a great variety of names. The name Ursa Major, or the Great Bear, is that which is commonly given to it. It is a remarkable fact, also, that while this name was given to it in the East a tribe of the American Indians - the Iroquois, also gave the same name of the Great Bear to it. This is remarkable, because, so far as known, they had no communication with each other, and because the name is perfectly arbitrary.
Is this an evidence that the natives of our country, North America, derived their origin from some of the nations of the East? In some parts of England the constellation is called "Charles' Wain," or Wagon, from its fancied resemblance to a waggon, drawn by three horses in a line. Others call it the Plow. The whole number of visible stars in this constellation is eighty seven, of which one is of the first, three of the second, seven of the third, and about twice as many of the fourth magnitude. The constellations of Ursa Major and Ursa Minor were represented by the ancients, under the image of a waggon drawn by a team of horses. This is alluded to by the Greek poet, Aratus, in an address to the Athenians:
The one called Helix, soon as day retires.
Observed with ease lights up his radiant fires;
The other smaller and with feebler beams,
In a less circle drives his lazy teams:
But more adapted for the sailor's guide,
Whene'er by night he tempts the briny tide.
Among the Egyptians these two constellations are represented by the figures of bears, instead of waggons. Whence the Hebrew name is derived is not quite certain; but if it be from the Arabic, it probably means the same - a bier. There seems no reason to doubt, however, that the Ursa Major is intended; and that the idea here is, that the greatness of God is shown by his having made this beautiful constellation.
Orion - The Vulgate renders this Orion, the Septuagint, "Εσπερον Hesperon, Hesperus - that is, the evening star, Venus. The word כסיל kesı̂yl, is from כסל kâsal, to be fat or fleshy; to be strong, lusty, firm; and then to be dull, sluggish, stupid - as fat persons usually are. Hence, the word כסיל kesı̂yl means a fool, Psalm 49:11; Proverbs 1:32; Proverbs 10:1, It is used here, however, to denote a constellation, and by most interpreters it is supposed to denote the constellation Orion, which the Orientals call a giant. "They appear to have conceived of this constellation under the figure of an impious giant bound upon the sky." Gesenius. Hence the expression, Job 38:31; "Canst thou loose the bands of Orion?" According to the Eastern tradition, this giant was Nimrod, the founder of Babylon, afterward translated to the skies; see the notes at Isaiah 13:10, where it is rendered constellation. Virgil speaks of it as the Stormy Orion:
LibraryWashed to Greater Foulness
Turning to my text, let me say, that as one is startled by a shriek, or saddened by a groan, so these sharp utterances of Job astonish us at first, and then awake our pity. How much are we troubled with brotherly compassion as we read the words,--"If I wash myself with snow water, and make my hands never so clean; yet shalt thou plunge me in the ditch, and mine own clothes shall abhor me!" The sense of misery couched in this passage baffles description. Yet this is but one of a series, in which sentence …
Charles Haddon Spurgeon—Spurgeon's Sermons Volume 32: 1886
The Power of God
Whether Man Can Know that He Has Grace?
Opposition to Messiah in Vain
"Out of the south comes the storm, And out of the north the cold.
"Can you bind the chains of the Pleiades, Or loose the cords of Orion?
"Can you lead forth a constellation in its season, And guide the Bear with her satellites?
He who made the Pleiades and Orion And changes deep darkness into morning, Who also darkens day into night, Who calls for the waters of the sea And pours them out on the surface of the earth, The LORD is His name.
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