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Bible Encyclopedias

Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature

Orion

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occurs three times (Job 9:9; Sept.῞Εσπερος, Vulg. Orion; 38:31, ᾿Ωρίων; Arctuus; Amos 5:8, μετασκευάζων Orion) in the A.V. as the rendering of the Heb. כְּסַיל kesil ^from כָּסִל ; to be fat, and hence either to be strong or to be dull, languid. The last sense prevails in most derivatives, and thus כְּסַיל, kesil, commonly means fool or impious person (as Psalms 49:10; Ecclesiastes 2:14), but in Job 9:9 (comp. 38:31; Amos 8:5) is plainly applied to one of the greater constellations of the sky. It is here understood by most ancient interpreters to refer to the large and brilliant constellation Orion, or "the Giant," situated in the southern hemisphere with respect to the ecliptic, but which is crossed near its middle by the equinoctial. It is known by the three bright stars in its belt. The "giant" of Oriental astronomy was Nimrod; the mighty hunter, who was fabled to have been bound in the sky for his impiety. The two dogs and the hare, which are among the constellations in the neighborhood of Orion, made his train complete. There is possibly an allusion to this belief in "the bands of kesil" (Job 38:31), with which Gesenius (Jes. 1:458) compares Proverbs 7:22. It the Chronicon Paschale (p. 36) Nimrod is said to have been "a giant, the fouder of Babylon, who, the Persians say, was deified and placed among the stars of heaven, whom they call Orion" (comp. Cedrenus, p. 14) (See NIMROD). In Isaiah 13:10 the word kesilim is rendered "constellations," i.e. the Orions or giants of the sky, the greater constellations similar to Orion. Some Jewish writers, the rabbins Isaac Israel and Jonah among them, identified the Hebrew kesil With the Arabic sohail, by which was understood either Sirius or Canopus. The words of R. Jonah: (Abulwalid), as quoted by Kilm'chi (Lex. heb. s.v.), are, "Kesil is the large star called in Arabic Sohail, and the stars combined with it are called after its name kesilim." The name Sohail, "foolish," was derived from the supposed influence of the star in causing folly in men, and was probably an additional reason for identifying it with kesil. See Gesenius, Thesaur. p. 701; Niebuhr, Descript. Arabice, p. 112; Ideler, Ueber Ursprung und Bedeuturng der Sternnamen, p. 240, 263; Michaelis, in Suppl. p. 1319 sq. (See ASTRONOMY).

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Bibliography Information
McClintock, John. Strong, James. Entry for 'Orion'. Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature. https://www.studylight.org/encyclopedias/eng/tce/o/orion.html. Harper & Brothers. New York. 1870.

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