on Job 38 :32
Mazzaroth in his season? - This is generally understood to mean the signs of the zodiac. מזרות Mazzaroth, according to Parkhurst, comes from מזר mazar, to corrupt; and he supposes it to mean that pestilential wind in Arabia, called simoom, the season of which is the summer heats.
on Job 38 :32
Canst thou bring forth Mazzaroth in his season? - Margin, "the twelve signs;" that is, the twelve signs of the zodiac. There has been much diversity of opinion about the meaning of this word. It occurs nowhere else in the Scriptures, and of course it is not easy to determine its signification. The Septuagint retains the word μαξσυρὠθ maxsurōth, without attempting to translate it. Jerome renders it, "Luciferum - Lucifer," the morning-star. The Chaldee, מזליא שטרי - the constellations of the planets. Coverdale, "the morning-star;" and so Luther renders it. Rosenmuller, "signa celestia" - the celestial signs, and so Herder, Umbreit, Gesenius, and Noyes, "the zodiac." Gesenius regards the word מזרה mazzârâh, as the same as מזלה mazzâlâh, properly "lodgings, inns;" and hence, the "lodgings" of the sun, or the places or "houses" in which he appears in the heavens, and thus as meaning the signs in the zodiac. Most of the Hebrew interpreters adopt this view, but it rests on no certain foundation, and as we are not certain as to the meaning of the word, the only safe way is to retain the original, as is done in our common version. I do not see how it is possible to determine its meaning with certainty, and probably it is to be regarded as a name given to some constellation or cluster of stars supposed to exert an influence over the seasons, or connected with some change in the seasons, which we cannot now accurately understand.
Or canst thou guide Arcturus? - On the constellation "Arcturus" (עשׁ ‛ayish), see the notes at Job 9:9. The word rendered "guide" in the text, is in the margin "guide them." The Hebrew is, "and עשׁ ‛ayish upon (or near - על ‛al) her sons, canst thou lead them?" Herder and Umbreit render it, "And lead forth the Bear with her young," or her children. The reference is to the constellation Arcturus, or Ursa Major, in the northern sky. The "sons" referred to are the stars that accompany it, probably the stars that are now called the" tail of the bear." "Umbreit." Another interpretation is suggested by Herder, which is that this constellation is represented as a nightly wanderer - a mother, who is seeking her lost children, the stars that are no longer visible, and that thus revolves around the heavens. But the probable reference is to the constellation conducted round and round the pole as by some unseen hand, like a mother with her children, and the question is, whether Job had skill and power to do this? God appeals to it as a manifestation of his majesty and power, and as far above the skill of man. Who ever looked upon that beautiful constellation and marked its regular revolutions, without feeling that its position and movements were such as God only could produce?
Job 38:32By number - As if he had numbered, or named them; as a military commander would call forth his armies in their proper order, and have them so numbered and enrolled in the various divisions, that he can command them with ease.
He calleth them all by names - This idea is also taken from a military leader, who would know the names of the individuals that composed his army. In smaller divisions of an army, this could of course be done; but the idea is, that God is intimately acquainted with all the hosts of stars; that though their numbers appear to us so great, yet he is acquainted with each one individually, and has that knowledge of it which we have of a person or object which we recognize by a name. It is said of Cyrus, that he was acquainted by name with every individual that composed his vast army. The practice of giving names to the stars of heaven was early, and is known to have been originated by the Chaldeans. Intimations of this custom we have not unfrequently in the Scriptures, as far back as the time of Job:
Which maketh Arcturus, and Orion, and Pleiades,
on Job 38 :32
38:32 Bring forth - Canst thou make the stars in the southern signs arise and appear? Arcturus - Those in the northern. His sons - The lesser stars, which are placed round about them; and attend upon them, as children upon their parents.