Last week’s article, The Hunter and Seven Sisters, surveyed two groups of stars which are mentioned several times in the Bible: Orion (the Hunter) and the Pleiades (the Seven Sisters).
Several Old Testament books use these two star groups, along with the Bear (Ursa Major, of which the Big Dipper is a part), to seize attention and megaphone truth to mankind (Job 9:8-10; 38:31-32; Amos 5:8).
Orion and the Pleiades in the Bible
The book of Job is probably the oldest book in the Bible. It relates the troubles of a man named Job who lived after the Flood, probably around the time of Abraham.
Job had been proclaiming his innocence of wrongdoing, insisting that his suffering was not fair, and calling for an answer from God. Instead of giving Job an explanation, God asked him a series of unanswerable questions to demonstrate His superior wisdom in ruling the world, including His sovereign decision to permit Job’s suffering. Here are several of the questions that God asked Job related to constellations:
“Can you bind the chains of the Pleiades,
Or loose the cords of Orion?
Can you lead forth a constellation in its season,
And guide the Bear with her satellites?” (Job 38:31-32 NASB)
Astronomers today know that the Pleiades is a gravitationally-bound star cluster. All the stars of the Pleiades are moving in the same direction across the sky at the same speed. In contrast, Orion’s stars are not gravitationally-bound; they are gradually moving away from each other.
Was this bound/unbound nature of the Pleiades and Orion known in Job’s day? It’s very unlikely! The Creator alone would be able to hint to Job that the Pleiades are bound together, but Orion’s stars are “loosed” (not bound). This “inside information” testifies to the divine origin of the Bible.
Yahweh alone can either bind or release stars, for He is their Creator, the One that made them and placed them in the heavens (Genesis 1:16-18) where they remain to this day.
The 8th-century BC prophet Amos also mentioned the Pleiades and Orion. The nation of Israel was sliding into pagan idolatry, and Amos sought to call Israel back to worship the true God by reminding the people of Yahweh’s great deeds.
Amos urged Israel to seek the One who performed certain stupendous acts:
Seek Him that makes the seven stars and Orion, and turns the shadow of death into the morning, and makes the day dark with night: that calls for the waters of the sea, and pours them out upon the face of the earth. The LORD is his name.
(Amos 5:8 KJV)
Amos called for Israel to return to
– the One who made the stars, in particular the One who made the Pleiades and Orion,
– the One who turns night to day and day to night, and
– the One who once judged rebellion with a Flood, pouring the oceans over the face of the earth.
These are awe-inspiring deeds! No mere man can come close to doing them. According to Amos, these are reasons to serve the real Creator God instead of impotent idols.
Amos’ exhortation is still needed today when so many believe the stars, earth, and living things originated from nothing by chance. How absurd!
The Prophet Amos calls mankind to seek the Creator and Judge, the One who made it all and the One who once judged Earth with a Flood.
Note: The words “Seek Him” in Amos 5:8 of the King James version are not in the original Hebrew. But “Seek Him” is in the context in verses 4 and 6, and should be implicitly understood for verse 8. Many other versions in addition to the King James include “Seek Him” in verse 8 in order to render in English the proper sense of the Hebrew passage.
The grandeur of Orion, the sparkling beauty of the Pleiades, the innumerable stars of the universe all point to a Maker, to One who made heaven and earth (Isaiah 37:16).
The majesty of the stars alone should compel men to seek the Creator and Savior before it is too late and judgment comes. It is a terrifying thing to fall into the hands of the living God. (Hebrews 10:31 NASB)
Questions to Ponder
- Why would Orion and the Pleiades be mentioned together three different times in Scripture? (Job 9:8-10; 38:31-32; Amos 5:8)
- When you are suffering or sorrowful, how will you apply the questions God asked Job about the stars (Job 38:31-32)?
Share your thoughts on these questions in the comments below. It could encourage or help another reader.
The Heavens Declare the Glory of God. (Psalm 19:1 KJV)
Soli Deo Gloria.
Read the prequel:
The Hunter and Seven Sisters
Read the sequel:
The Milky Way
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©William T. Pelletier, Ph.D.
“contending earnestly for the faith”
“destroying speculations against the knowledge of God”
“for the defense of the gospel”
(Jude 1:3; 2 Cor 10:5; Phil 1:16)
Wednesday November 23, 2016 A.D.
Lift up your eyes on high and see who has created these stars, the One who leads forth their host by number, He calls them all by name. Because of the greatness of His might and the strength of His power not one of them is missing. (Isaiah 40:26 NASB)