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Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible


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ON . A Reubenite associated with Dathan and Abiram ( Numbers 16:1 ) [text doubtful].

ON . The city of Heliopolis , On also in Egyptian, Genesis 41:45 ; Genesis 41:50 ; Genesis 46:20 . The same name in Ezekiel 30:17 has been intentionally misvocalized as Aven , i.e . ‘idolatry’; in Jeremiah 43:13 it is called Beth-shemesh , meaning ‘House of the Sun,’ like its Egyp. sacred name P-Rç, and the Gr. Heliopolis . The city lay on the east border of the Delta, a little below the fork of the river. As the centre of sun-worship in Egypt, its temple was of the highest importance: it was favoured by the kings and served by the most learned priesthood in the land. Tradition makes Plato and other Greek philosophers study in Heliopolis; later, the foundation of the Alexandrian library, on the one hand, deprived Heliopolis of the glory of learning, and, on the other, the old traditions of royal descent from the Sun-god had little weight with the Ptolemys. Early in the Roman period Heliopolis is described by Strabo as almost deserted. Besides enclosure walls of crude brick and mounds of rubbish, the site of the temple is now marked by one conspicuous monument, an obelisk set up by Senwosri i. about b.c. 2000.

F. Ll. Griffith.

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Bibliography Information
Hastings, James. Entry for 'On'. Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible. 1909.

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