Heb. kimah, "a cluster" (Job 9:9; 38:31; Amos 5:8, A.V., "seven
stars;" R.V., "Pleiades"), a name given to the cluster of stars
seen in the shoulder of the constellation Taurus.
(Isa. 47:13), those who pretend to tell what will occur by
looking upon the stars. The Chaldean astrologers "divined by the
rising and setting, the motions, aspects, colour, degree of
light, etc., of the stars."
The eleven stars (Gen. 37:9); the seven (Amos 5:8); wandering
(Jude 1:13); seen in the east at the birth of Christ, probably
some luminous meteors miraculously formed for this specific
purpose (Matt. 2:2-10); stars worshipped (Deut. 4:19; 2 Kings
17:16; 21:3; Jer. 19:13); spoken of symbolically (Num. 24:17;
Rev. 1:16, 20; 12:1). (See ASTROLOGERS ¯T0000354.)
(Dan. 1:20; 2:2, 10, 27, etc.) Heb. 'ashshaph', an enchanter,
one who professes to divine future events by the appearance of
the stars. This science flourished among the Chaldeans. It was
positively forbidden to the Jews (Deut. 4:19; 18:10; Isa.
Host of heaven
The sun, moon, and stars are so designated (Gen. 2:1). When the
Jews fell into idolatry they worshipped these (Deut. 4:19; 2
Kings 17:16; 21:3,5; 23:5; Jer. 19:13; Zeph. 1:5; Acts 7:42).
a cluster of stars, or stars which appear to be near each other
in the heavens, and which astronomers have reduced to certain
figures (as the "Great Bear," the "Bull," etc.) for the sake of
classification and of memory. In Isa. 13:10, where this word
only occurs, it is the rendering of the Hebrew _kesil_, i.e.,
"fool." This was the Hebrew name of the constellation Orion (Job
9:9; 38:31), a constellation which represented Nimrod, the
symbol of folly and impiety. The word some interpret by "the
giant" in this place, "some heaven-daring rebel who was chained
to the sky for his impiety."
The Hebrews were devout students of the wonders of the starry
firmanent (Amos 5:8; Ps. 19). In the Book of Job, which is the
oldest book of the Bible in all probability, the constellations
are distinguished and named. Mention is made of the "morning
star" (Rev. 2:28; comp. Isa. 14:12), the "seven stars" and
"Pleiades," "Orion," "Arcturus," the "Great Bear" (Amos 5:8; Job
9:9; 38:31), "the crooked serpent," Draco (Job 26:13), the
Dioscuri, or Gemini, "Castor and Pollux" (Acts 28:11). The stars
were called "the host of heaven" (Isa. 40:26; Jer. 33:22).
The oldest divisions of time were mainly based on the
observation of the movements of the heavenly bodies, the
"ordinances of heaven" (Gen. 1:14-18; Job 38:33; Jer. 31:35;
33:25). Such observations led to the division of the year into
months and the mapping out of the appearances of the stars into
twelve portions, which received from the Greeks the name of the
"zodiac." The word "Mazzaroth" (Job 38:32) means, as the margin
notes, "the twelve signs" of the zodiac. Astronomical
observations were also necessary among the Jews in order to the
fixing of the proper time for sacred ceremonies, the "new
moons," the "passover," etc. Many allusions are found to the
display of God's wisdom and power as seen in the starry heavens
(Ps. 8; 19:1-6; Isa. 51:6, etc.)
Heb. Kesil; i.e., "the fool", the name of a constellation (Job
9:9; 38:31; Amos 5:8) consisting of about eighty stars. The
Vulgate renders thus, but the LXX. renders by Hesperus, i.e.,
"the evening-star," Venus. The Orientals "appear to have
conceived of this constellation under the figure of an impious
giant bound upon the sky." This giant was, according to
tradition, Nimrod, the type of the folly that contends against
God. In Isa. 13:10 the plural form of the Hebrew word is
the transliteration of the Hebrew word _tsebha'oth_, meaning
"hosts," "armies" (Rom. 9:29; James 5:4). In the LXX. the Hebrew
word is rendered by "Almighty." (See Rev. 4:8; comp. Isa. 6:3.)
It may designate Jehovah as either (1) God of the armies of
earth, or (2) God of the armies of the stars, or (3) God of the
unseen armies of angels; or perhaps it may include all these
one who pretends to prognosticate future events. Baalam is so
called (Josh. 13:22; Heb. kosem, a "diviner," as rendered 1 Sam.
6:2; rendered "prudent," Isa. 3:2). In Isa. 2:6 and Micah 5:12
(Heb. yonenim, i.e., "diviners of the clouds") the word is used
of the Chaldean diviners who studied the clouds. In Dan. 2:27;
5:7 the word is the rendering of the Chaldee gazrin, i.e.,
"deciders" or "determiners", here applied to Chaldean
astrologers, "who, by casting nativities from the place of the
stars at one's birth, and by various arts of computing and
divining, foretold the fortunes and destinies of individuals.",
Gesenius, Lex. Heb. (See SORCERER ¯T0003482.)
the calling of the Gentiles into the Christian Church, so
designated (Eph. 1:9, 10; 3:8-11; Col. 1:25-27); a truth
undiscoverable except by revelation, long hid, now made
manifest. The resurrection of the dead (1 Cor. 15:51), and other
doctrines which need to be explained but which cannot be fully
understood by finite intelligence (Matt. 13:11; Rom. 11:25; 1
Cor. 13:2); the union between Christ and his people symbolized
by the marriage union (Eph. 5:31, 32; comp. 6:19); the seven
stars and the seven candlesticks (Rev. 1:20); and the woman
clothed in scarlet (17:7), are also in this sense mysteries. The
anti-Christian power working in his day is called by the apostle
(2 Thess. 2:7) the "mystery of iniquity."
This number occurs frequently in Scripture, and in such
connections as lead to the supposition that it has some typical
meaning. On the seventh day God rested, and hallowed it (Gen.
2:2, 3). The division of time into weeks of seven days each
accounts for many instances of the occurrence of this number.
This number has been called the symbol of perfection, and also
the symbol of rest. "Jacob's seven years' service to Laban;
Pharaoh's seven fat oxen and seven lean ones; the seven branches
of the golden candlestick; the seven trumpets and the seven
priests who sounded them; the seven days' siege of Jericho; the
seven churches, seven spirits, seven stars, seven seals, seven
vials, and many others, sufficiently prove the importance of
this sacred number" (see Lev. 25:4; 1 Sam. 2:5; Ps. 12:6; 79:12;
Prov. 26:16; Isa. 4:1; Matt. 18:21, 22; Luke 17:4). The feast of
Passover (Ex. 12:15, 16), the feast of Weeks (Deut. 16:9), of
Tabernacles (13:15), and the Jubilee (Lev. 25:8), were all
ordered by seven. Seven is the number of sacrifice (2 Chr.
29:21; Job 42:8), of purification and consecration (Lev. 42:6,
17; 8:11, 33; 14:9, 51), of forgiveness (Matt. 18:21, 22; Luke
17:4), of reward (Deut. 28:7; 1 Sam. 2:5), and of punishment
(Lev. 26:21, 24, 28; Deut. 28:25). It is used for any round
number in such passages as Job 5:19; Prov. 26:16, 25; Isa. 4:1;
Matt. 12:45. It is used also to mean "abundantly" (Gen. 4:15,
24; Lev. 26:24; Ps. 79:12).
image-worship or divine honour paid to any created object. Paul
describes the origin of idolatry in Rom. 1:21-25: men forsook
God, and sank into ignorance and moral corruption (1:28).
The forms of idolatry are, (1.) Fetishism, or the worship of
trees, rivers, hills, stones, etc.
(2.) Nature worship, the worship of the sun, moon, and stars,
as the supposed powers of nature.
(3.) Hero worship, the worship of deceased ancestors, or of
In Scripture, idolatry is regarded as of heathen origin, and
as being imported among the Hebrews through contact with heathen
nations. The first allusion to idolatry is in the account of
Rachel stealing her father's teraphim (Gen. 31:19), which were
the relics of the worship of other gods by Laban's progenitors
"on the other side of the river in old time" (Josh. 24:2).
During their long residence in Egypt the Hebrews fell into
idolatry, and it was long before they were delivered from it
(Josh. 24:14; Ezek. 20:7). Many a token of God's displeasure
fell upon them because of this sin.
The idolatry learned in Egypt was probably rooted out from
among the people during the forty years' wanderings; but when
the Jews entered Israel, they came into contact with the
monuments and associations of the idolatry of the old
Canaanitish races, and showed a constant tendency to depart from
the living God and follow the idolatrous practices of those
heathen nations. It was their great national sin, which was only
effectually rebuked by the Babylonian exile. That exile finally
purified the Jews of all idolatrous tendencies.
The first and second commandments are directed against
idolatry of every form. Individuals and communities were equally
amenable to the rigorous code. The individual offender was
devoted to destruction (Ex. 22:20). His nearest relatives were
not only bound to denounce him and deliver him up to punishment
(Deut. 13:20-10), but their hands were to strike the first blow
when, on the evidence of two witnesses at least, he was stoned
(Deut. 17:2-7). To attempt to seduce others to false worship was
a crime of equal enormity (13:6-10). An idolatrous nation shared
the same fate. No facts are more strongly declared in the Old
Testament than that the extermination of the Canaanites was the
punishment of their idolatry (Ex. 34:15, 16; Deut. 7; 12:29-31;
20:17), and that the calamities of the Israelites were due to
the same cause (Jer. 2:17). "A city guilty of idolatry was
looked upon as a cancer in the state; it was considered to be in
rebellion, and treated according to the laws of war. Its
inhabitants and all their cattle were put to death." Jehovah was
the theocratic King of Israel, the civil Head of the
commonwealth, and therefore to an Israelite idolatry was a state
offence (1 Sam. 15:23), high treason. On taking possession of
the land, the Jews were commanded to destroy all traces of every
kind of the existing idolatry of the Canaanites (Ex. 23:24, 32;
34:13; Deut. 7:5, 25; 12:1-3).
In the New Testament the term idolatry is used to designate
covetousness (Matt. 6:24; Luke 16:13; Col. 3:5; Eph. 5:5).