Arctu'rus (the Latin form of the Gr. ἀρκτοῦρος, bear-keeper, designating among the ancients the brightest star in the constellation Bootes, Cic. Arat. 99; also the whole constellation Bootes, Hes. Op. 564, 608 Virg. Georg. 1, 204; and hence the time of its rising in September, Soph. (Ed. Tyr. 1137; Thuc. 2, 78; Virg. Georg. 1, 68), put in the Auth. Vers. for the Heb. עָשׁ (Ash, for נעָשׁ, neash', Arabic the same, Job 9:9, "[God], which maketh Arcturus, Orion, and Pleiades, and the chambers of the south," Sept. Πλειάς, Vulg. Arcturus), or עיִשׁ (A'yish, a fuller form of the same, prob. signifying supporter, barrow, Job 38:32, "canst thou guide Arcturus with his sons," Sept. ῞Εσπερος, Vulg. vesper), is thought by most recent interpreters to denote the constellation of the Great Bear, Ursa Major, but on grounds not altogether satisfactory nor with unanimity (see Hyde, ad Ulugh-Beii, Tab. Stell. p. 22, 23; Michaelis, Suppl. p. 1907; Schultens on Job, p. 239). The older interpreters understand:
(1.) the Great Bear, or the seven stars of the Wain (Septentriones), so Saadias and Aben Ezra;
(2.) the Pleiades, so the Sept. (in one passage only, and there perhaps the terms have become transposed, as ῞Εσπερος and Α᾿ρκτοῦρος both occur in the same verse) and the Targum (זִגתָּ in the other pas sage, according to the Venice and Lond. editions, meaning, however, hen, according to Bochart);
(3.) the evening star, Hesperus, Venus, so the Sept. (in the latter passage, and perhaps also in the first) and Vulg.;
(4.) the tail of Aries (זכר טלה) or the head of Taurus (ראש דעגלא), so the Talmudists (Berachoth, p. 586), apparently referring to the bright star in the eye of Taurus (Aldebaran), near the tail of Aries;
(5.) Arcturus, so the Vulg. (in chap. 9, and perhaps the Sept.);
(6.) the rendering lyutha of the Syriac (in both passages, as likewise in Job 15:27, for כֶּסֶל, and Am 5:8, for כּסִיל; comp. Ephraemi Opera, 2, 449 a), as this word is itself of doubtful origin and signification, if really genuine (see Anecdot. Orient. 2:37; Lach, in Eichhorn's Bibl. 7:341), but appears from the lexicographers to bear the general import of she-goat, referring to a star in the constellation Auriga. Laying aside those of these interpretations that are evidently mere conjecture (such as Arcturus, Venus), and others that are here out of the question (such as the Pleiades, which in Hebrews are called כִּימָה), There remain but two interpretations:
First, that which identifies the Heb. Ash with the Great Bear, or Ursa Major, the Wain. The superior probability of this is sustained by the following considerations:
(1.) This is so conspicuous a constellation, and so famous in all ancient as well as modern astronomy, that the total silence in these astrological enumerations, otherwise; respecting it is unaccountable, especially as inferior constellations are not omitted;
(2.) The mention of the attendant stars ("sons," בָּנִים) in the second passage of Job agrees with the ascription among the Arabs of daughters to Neish, the corresponding Arabic constellation (Niebuhr, Beschreib. v. Arabien, p. 114), these being the three stars in the tail of the Bear.
The other interpretation, namely, the goat, can only be sustained by a forced etymology from עֵד, a goat, and a lesser constellation is then referred to, namely, Auriga; and the reference to the attendant stars, to those in the right hand of this figure, is not only unnatural, but at variance with its late origin. Schultens (Comment. in loc.) derives the Heb. word from an Arabic term signifying the night-watcher, because Ursa Major never sets; while Kimchi refers it to the Heb. עוּשׁ, in the sense of a collection of stars; and Led. de Dieu compares the Ethiopic name of the constellation Pisces; but the etymology first proposed above is preferable (see Bochart, Hieroz. 2:680; Alferg. p. 8, 63; Ideler, Unters. ib. d. Stern- Namen, p. 3, 19; comp. Abulfeda, p. 375; Eutych. p. 277; Schultens, Imp. Joctan, p. 10, 32). — Gesenius, Thes. Heb. p. 895. SEE ASTRONOMY; SEE CONSTELLATION.