What is the True Meaning of the Hebrew Word "Mazzaroth"?

Discussion in 'General Baptist Discussions' started by countitjoy5, Mar 10, 2015.

  1. countitjoy5

    countitjoy5
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    I run a blog exposing the Shepherd's Chapel cult - my attention lately has turned to refuting the Gospel in the Stars advocates. They insist that the Hebrew word "Mazzaroth" proves their premise. What is the true meaning of this word found in Job?

    I got this response from Lew White at the Torah Institute...

    Let me know what insight you may have...
     
  2. Deacon

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    I've not looked into the word definitions but regarding his definition of KIMAH:

    The bible was written to a particular audience for their understanding. To insert an understanding that has been around for less than 100 years would be strange.

    More likely, and my guess, without research would be it concerns the star cluster, we call Pleiades, observable by the eye in the night sky.

    Rob
     
  3. revmwc

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    Matthew Henry on Job 38

    II. God has the stars of heaven under his command and cognizance, but we have them not under ours. Our meditations are now to rise higher, far above the clouds, to the glorious lights above. God mentions particularly, not the planets, which move in lower orbs, but the fixed stars, which are much higher. It is supposed that they have an influence upon this earth, notwithstanding their vast distance, not upon the minds of men or the events of providence (men's fate is not determined by their stars), but upon the ordinary course of nature they are set for signs and seasons, for days and years, Genesis 1:14. And if the stars have such a dominion over this earth (Job 38:33), though they have their place in the heavens and are but mere matter, much more has he who is their Maker and ours, and who is an Eternal Mind. Now see how weak we are. 1. We cannot alter the influences of the stars (Job 38:31), not theirs that are instrumental to produce the pleasures of the spring: Canst thou loose the bands of Orion?--that magnificent constellation which makes so great a figure (none greater), and dispenses rough and unpleasing influences, which we cannot control nor repel. Both summer and winter will have their course. God can change them when he pleases, can make the spring cold, and so bind the sweet influences of Pleiades, and the winter warm, and so loose the bands of Orion but we cannot. 2. It is not in our power to order the motions of the stars, nor are we entrusted with the guidance of them. God, who calls the stars by their names (Psalm 147:4), calls them forth in their respective seasons, appointing them the time of their rising and setting. But this is not our province we cannot bring forth Mazzaroth--the stars in the southern signs, nor guide Arcturus--those in the northern, Job 38:32. God can bring forth the stars to battle (as he did when in their courses they fought against Sisera) and guide them in the attacks they are ordered to make but man cannot do so. 3. We are not only unconcerned in the government of the stars (the government they are under, and the government they are entrusted with, for they both rule and are ruled), but utterly unacquainted with it we know not the ordinances of heaven, Job 38:33. So far are we from being able to change them that we can give no account of them they are a secret to us. Shall we then pretend to know God's counsels, and the reasons of them? If it were left to us to set the dominion of the stars upon the earth, we should soon be at a loss. Shall we then teach God how to govern the world?
    III. God is the author and giver, the father and fountain, of all wisdom and understanding, Job 38:36. The souls of men are nobler and more excellent beings than the stars of heaven themselves, and shine more brightly. The powers and faculties of reason with which man is endued, and the wonderful performances of thought, bring him into some alliance to the blessed angels and whence comes this light, but from the Father of lights? Who else has put wisdom into the inner parts of man, and given understanding to the heart? 1. The rational soul itself, and its capacities, come from him as the God of nature for he forms the spirit of man within him. We did not make our own souls, nor can we describe how they act, nor how they are united to our bodies. He only that made them knows them, and knows how to manage them. He fashioneth men's hearts alike in some things, and yet unlike in others. 2. True wisdom, with its furniture and improvement, comes from him as the God of grace and the Father of every good and perfect gift. Shall we pretend to be wiser than God, when we have all our wisdom from him? Nay, shall we pretend to be wise above our sphere, and beyond the limits which he that gave us our understanding sets to it? He designed we should with it serve God and do our duty, but never intended we should with it set up for directors of the stars or the lightning."

    E.W. Bullinger translate it a Zodiac, he has a book on the subject called "The Witness of the Stars" in which he details the why, that book can still be ordered. One part in it he talks about the tower of Babel and how they thought they had found it. The stones that made it up each had the color of the planets and the top was a Zodiac dial. His point in the book is that God used the signs of the Zodiac and the constellations to reveal His plan to Adam and his descendents until Moses wrote the Pentateuch, once the Word was in written form them the "Witness of the Stars" was no longer required.

    Man turned it into something evil not God. So God's question to job concerning the Mazzaroth.

    Let me give you a for instance on the Bullinger book the reading of the signs would have started with Virgo the Virgin, the method of the Saviors birth. Born of the seed of Woman, the constellations surrounding her show her raising up a man child, the Cenataur shows his two natures, The Constellation crux under the Cenataur is the symbol of the cross, the method of His death in payment of our sin.

    So that is a sample of what Bullinger wrote and Matthew Henry.
     
  4. beameup

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    I don't believe that Hebrew was even a written language when Job was written. It was most likely written originally in Akkadian.
    That said, there is no reason why God could not declare the gospel with the heavenly host (as it appeared in antiquity).
     
  5. HankD

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    That is quite possible bmu but the inspired text is the codified Hebrew.

    HankD
     
  6. beameup

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    Since Moses was highly educated in the Egyptian court, and since Moses developed written Paleo-Hebrew,
    using the Phoenician alphabet as a foundation, it would be a good bet that Moses had access to and translated Job.
    In the same way that the Torah was translated from Hebrew into Koine Greek via the Septuagint, it might be worth looking a bit deeper
    into the "Hebrew" used in Job.
     
    #6 beameup, Mar 14, 2015
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  7. HankD

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    Except perhaps at the individual word level, I don't even think that is necessary bmu, but if you have an example let's look at it.

    Or perhaps you mean the exact meaning of Job 38:32.

    NIV Job 38:32 Can you bring forth the constellations in their seasons or lead out the Bear with its cubs?

    One of the first lessons in my formal education in Hebrew was/is the number of "borrowed" words from other than the native Semitic roots.

    There are MANY Hebrew adaptations of these words which have become or perhaps were obscure from the beginning (if that is to which you refer)
    But that is an issue with all Hebrew books of the Bible, they were a nomadic people.


    HankD
     
    #7 HankD, Mar 15, 2015
    Last edited: Mar 15, 2015
  8. John of Japan

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    I just had my son "Dr. Paul" in the office, who is actually a Greek PhD but teaches Hebrew in our seminary, and he has given me some thoughts about this.

    1. Job is a poetic book, therefore you have to interpret by thinking of Hebrew poetry, which is based on parallelism and opposition. Note the parallelism in the verse: "Canst thou bring forth Mazzaroth in his season? or canst thou guide Arcturus with his sons?" (Job 38:32) So the meaning has to be parallel to Arcturus, meaning it may not be the Zodiac per se. Even if one says it is the southern zodiac, though, you have to figure out which one: Babylonian? Akkadian? There is not enough information in the text to find out.

    2. This word is a Hebrew hapax legomena, meaning that it occurs nowhere else in the OT. Therefore, to do a complete study of the word, one would have to search for it and compare it to cognate languages of the day. Until you find a source that has done that, you're guessing.

    3. The old Brown-Driver-Briggs (BDB) lexicon is not much help, but a more modern lexicon I have gives this: "constellations; sugg.: Venus as evening & morning star; Hyades (in Taurus); boat of Arcturus; southern constellations of zodiac." (A Concise Hebrew and Aramaic Lexicon of the Old Testament, by William Holladay, 1971, p. 189).

    4. Finally, the verse certainly does not prove any "Gospel in the stars," since the point of the passage is God telling Job he cannot move the stars in the sky; only God can do that. According to the venerable Keil and Delitzsch commentary (who did think it meant the Zodiac): "The question in v. 32a therefore means: canst thou bring forth the appointed zodiacal sign for each month, so that (of course with the variation which is limited to about two moon's diameters by the daily progress of the sun through the Zodiac) it becomes visible after sunset and is visible before sunset?" (Vol. 4, p. 324).

    It is talking about the abilities of Job as compared to God, not some meaning in the stars. The term “zodiac” can simply mean the constellations.
     
    #8 John of Japan, Mar 16, 2015
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  9. John of Japan

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    Bullinger was Church of England and an ultradispensationalist who didn't believe that baptism and the Lord's supper were for us. Are you sure you want to use him for an authority?
     
  10. revmwc

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    I was just saying that his book here has some very good points on THIS subject. As well as his book on Numbers in scripture. Not saying he was right on other doctrines because I haven't studied but two works of his.
     
  11. John of Japan

    John of Japan
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    That's your prerogative. I certainly wouldn't use him as an expert in anything.
     

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