[b-hebrew] Re: Constellations in Job

Silberman, Alfred alfred.silberman at baesystems.com
Wed Jul 16 09:34:00 EDT 2003

Karl Randolph replied:

> Is there any reason there should be a mention of the zodiac

> The constellations of the zodiac were chosen as part of astrology. The
picture given in
> Job is of a person who worshipped the God of Israel, even though he may
not have been 
> Israelite himself. We find numerous references in Tenakh forbidding
practicing astrology, 
> so would we not almost expect that if constellations are mentioned in Job
(as they are to 
> show God's greatness), that they would exclude any from the zodiac?

We have in Job 38:31:
Canst thou bind the sweet influences of Pleiades, or loose the bands of
This implies a belief in stellar influence on worldly events. It would not
be that far-fetched to assume that the zodiacal constellations would
similarly have such an influence. 

The reason why I asked is because I saw the same question being raised with
regard to the works of Homer and Hysiod. The answer seems to be that in that
culture it was a different relationship of stars / influence that
predominated. I was wondering if there was an implication in this relating
to the cultural environment of Job.

Second, the authors of the Talmud can certainly not be accused of practicing
things forbidden in the Bible. Yet, there is extensive discussions of
stellar and planetary influence of events in the world (with the caveat that
prayer can alter the influence). The Talmud does discuss influence by both
the Zodiacal constellations as well as Kimah, etc. So my question still

From: Bill Rea <bsr15 at cantsl.canterbury.ac.nz>

> Al asked:-

>> I am trying to find discussions or research about why there is no
>> mention in Job of the 12 constellations of the Zodiac.

> It is even possible to determine why something is omitted by an author
> after the author is dead and he has left no other works? What source
> material would a person use when persuing such research?

The question is simply a cultural question. Did Job live in an environment
where they believed in the Zodiacal Constellations or not.

>> Instead, we find Kimah / Kesil / Ash mentioned. No one seems to know for
>> sure what these refer to but it's pretty much agreed that they are not
>> the Zodiacal constellations.

> I don't follow the logic here. If people don't know what they refer to
> how is it possible to reach a general agreement that they are not,
> either individually or collectively, Zodiacal constellations?

Both the LXX and Hieronomous have translations for these words (though they
differ in different places of the Bible) so we know what they believed these
to be (Orion, Arcturus, Pleiades, etc.). In no case do they translate them
as one of the Zodiacal Constellations.

Alfred Silberman

More information about the b-hebrew mailing list