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Bible Dictionaries

Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary

Dial

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is not mentioned in Scripture before the reign of Ahaz. Interpreters differ concerning the form of the dial of Ahaz, 2 Kings 20. The generality of expositors think that it was a staircase so disposed, that the sun showed the hours upon it by the shadow. Others suppose that it was a pillar erected in the middle of a very level and smooth pavement, on which the hours were engraven. According to these authors, the lines marked in this pavement are what the Scripture calls degrees. Grotius describes it as follows: "It was a concave hemisphere, and in the midst was a globe, the shadow of which fell on the different lines engraven in the concavity of the hemisphere; these lines were twenty-eight in number." This description answers pretty nearly to that kind of dial, which the Greeks called scapha, a boat or hemisphere, the invention (rather introduction) of which, Vitruvius ascribes to Berosus the Chaldean. It would seem, indeed, that the most ancient sun dial known is in the form of a half circle, hollowed into the stone, and the stone cut down to an angle. This kind of dial was invented in Babylon, and was very probably the same as that of Ahaz.

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Bibliography Information
Watson, Richard. Entry for 'Dial'. Richard Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary. https://www.studylight.org/dictionaries/eng/wtd/d/dial.html. 1831-2.

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