on Job 9 :9
Which maketh Arcturus, Orion, and Pleiades, and the chambers of the south - For this translation the original words are עשה עש כסיל וכימה והדרי תמן oseh ash, kesil, vechimah vehadrey theman, which are thus rendered by the Septuagint: Ὁ ποιων Πλειαδα, και Ἑσπερον, και Αρκτουρον, και ταμεια νοτου; "Who makes the Pleiades, and Hesperus, and Arcturus, and Orion, and the chambers of the south."
The Vulgate, Qui facit Arcturum, et Oriona, et Hyadas, et interiora Austri; "Who maketh Arcturus, and Orion, and the Hyades, and the innermost chambers of the south."
The Targum follows the Hebrew, but paraphrases the latter clause thus: "and the chambers or houses of the planetary domination in the southern hemisphere."
The Syrian and Arabic, "Who maketh the Pleiades, and Arcturus, and the giant, (Orion or Hercules), and the boundaries of the south."
Coverdale has, He maketh the waynes of heaven, the Orions, the vii starres and the secrete places of the south. And on the vii starres he has this marginal note: some call these seven starres, the clock henne with hir chickens. See below.
Edmund Becke, in his edition, 1549, follows Coverdale, but puts Vaynes of heaven for waynes, which Carmarden, in his Bible, Rouen, 1566, mistaking, changes into Waves of heaven.
Barker's Bible, 1615, reads, "He maketh the starres Arcturus, Orion, and Pleiades, and the climates of the south." On which he has this note, "These are the names of certain starres, whereby he meaneth that all starres, both knowen and unknowen, are at His appointment."
Our early translators seem to agree much with the German and Dutch: Er machet, den wagen am himmel, und Orion, und die Gluken, und die Sterne gegen mittag; "He maketh the wagon of heaven, (Charles's wain), and Orion, and the clucking hen, (the Pleiades), and the stars of the mid-day region." See above, under Coverdale.
The Dutch version is not much unlike the German, from which it is taken: Die den wagen maecht, den Orion, ende het sevengesternte, end de binnenkameren ban't Zuyden.
The European versions, in general, copy one or other of the above, or make a compound translation from the whole; but all are derived ultimately from the Septuagint and Vulgate.
As to the Hebrew words, they might as well have been applied to any of the other constellations of heaven: indeed, it does not appear that constellations are at all meant. Parkhurst and Bate have given, perhaps, the best interpretation of the words, which is as follows: -
"כימה kimah, from כמה camah, to be hot or warm, denotes genial heat or warmth, as opposed to עש ash, a parching, biting air, on the one side; and כסיל kesil, the rigid, contracting cold, on the other; and the chambers (thick clouds) of the south." See more in Parkhurst, under כמה.
I need scarcely add that these words have been variously translated by critics and commentators. Dr. Hales translates kimah and kesil by Taurus and Scorpio; and, if this translation were indubitably correct, we might follow him to his conclusions, viz., that Job 54ed 2337 years before Christ! See at the end of this chapter, Job 9:35 (note).
on Job 9 :9
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:
on Job 9 :9
9:9 Ordereth - Disposeth them, governeth their rising and setting, and all their influences. These he names as constellations of greatest eminency; but under them he seems to comprehend all the stars, which as they were created by God, so are under his government. Arcturus is a northern constellation, near that called the Bear. Orion is a more southerly constellation, that rises to us in December. The Pleiades is a constellation not far from Orion, which we call the seven stars: by the chambers, (or inmost chambers, as the word signifies) of the south, he seems to understand those stars and constellations which are toward the southern pole, which are called inward chambers, because they are for the most part hid and shut up from these parts of the world.