The science, which treats of the heavenly bodies, was much studied in Asia in ancient times. The Chaldeans excelled in it. The Hebrews do not appear to have made great proficiency in it, though their climate and mode of life invited to the contemplation of the heavens. Revelation had taught them who created and governed all the world, Ge 1:1; 1-31, and the infinite presence of the one living and true God filled the universe, to their minks, with a glory unknown to others, Ps 19.1-14; Isa 40:26; Am 5:8. The Bible does not aim to teach the science of astronomy, but speaks of the sun, moon, and stars in the familiar language of mankind in all ages. The following heavenly bodies are alluded to particularly in Scripture: Venus, the morning star, Isa 14:12; Re 2:28; Orion, and the Pleiades, Job 9:9; 38:31; Am 5:8; the Great Bear, called "Arcturus," Job 9:9; 38:32; Draco, "the crooked serpent" Job 26:13; and Gemini, "the twins," 2Ki 23:5; Ac 28:11. The planets Jupiter and Venus were worshipped under various names, as Baal and Ahtoreth, Gad and Meni, Isa 65:11. Mercury is named as Nebo; in Isa 46:1; Saturn as Chiun, in Am 5:26; and Mars as Nergal, in 2Ki 17:30. See IDOLATRY and STARS.
The Hebrews were devout students of the wonders of the starry firmanent (Am 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" (Re 2:28; comp. Isa 14:12), the "seven stars" and "Pleiades," "Orion," "Arcturus," the "Great Bear" (Am 5:8; Job 9:9; 38:31), "the crooked serpent," Draco (Job 26:13), the Dioscuri, or Gemini, "Castor and Pollux" (Ac 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" (Ge 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.)