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People's Dictionary of the Bible


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On (ŏn), sun, light. A noted city of Lower Egypt, Genesis 41:45; Genesis 41:50; called Beth-shemesh, or "house of the sun," Jeremiah 43:13, and known to the Greeks as Heliopolis, or "city of the sun." Ezekiel 30:17, A. V., margin. Some suppose it to be referred to as the "city of destruction" in Isaiah 19:18-19. On was situated upon the Pelusiac branch of the Nile, about 20 miles northeast of ancient Memphis, and 6 miles north from Cairo. The origin and founder of On are unknown, but it has an obelisk which has been standing about 4000 years. It has been considered the Rome and the Athens of ancient Egypt, the centre of its religion and learning. In it stood the great temple of Ra, with one exception the most famous ancient shrine in Egypt, its companies of priests and attendants are reputed to have numbered over 12,000. The legend of the wonder-bird Phoenix, early used to illustrate the doctrine of the resurrection, arose here; to this city Joseph, delivered from prison, came with royal honors to marry the daughter of Potipherah, "dedicated to Ra." Josephus reports that On was the home of Jacob on his arrival in Egypt. In its grandeur it was the resort of men of learning from all countries. In its schools and universities Moses, according to Manetho, was instructed in all the learning of the Egyptians, and hither came Plato, Eudoxus, and Herodotus. The site of this once famous city is now marked with a few ruins of massive walls, fragments of sphinxes, a noted obelisk of red granite of Syene (one of the two which stood before the temple of the Sun), An Obelisk from On is now in Rome, another on the Thames in London, one in Constantinople, and one in Central Park, N. Y. The obelisk, bearing the name of Usurtesen I., and rising amid the desolation at On, is 66 feet high. 2. Name of a person. Numbers 16:1.

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Bibliography Information
Rice, Edwin Wilbur, DD. Entry for 'On'. People's Dictionary of the Bible. 1893.

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Saturday, November 28th, 2020
the Week of Christ the King / Proper 29 / Ordinary 34
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