Maz'zaroth (Heb. Mazzaroth', מִזָּרוֹת a word found only in the plural, and occurring but once, Job 38:32, probably by an interchange of liquids foi מִזָּלוֹת "planets," 2Ki 23:5), an astronomical term, probably meaning the twelve signs of the Zodiac (see Hirzel, Delitzsch, and Conant, severally, ad loc.). SEE ASTRONOMY. "The Peshito-Syriac renders it by ioallto, the Wain, or Great Bear; and J. D. Michaelis (Suppls. d Lex. Heb. No. 1391) is followed by Ewald in applying it to the stars of the northern crown (Ewald adds the southern), deriving the word from ' נֵזֶר, ne-zer, a crown. Furst (Handw. s.v.) understands by Mazzaroth the planet Jupiter, the same as the star of Am 5:26. But the interpretation given in the margin of our version is supported by the authority of Gesenius (Thes. p. 869). On referring to 2Ki 23:5, we find the word מִזָּלוֹת, mazzacloth (A.V. the planets), differing only from mazzaroth in having the liquid l for r, and rendered in the margin 'the twelve signs,' as in the Vulgate. The Sept. there also has μαζουρώθ, which points to the same reading in both passages, and is by Suidas explained as the 'Zodiac,' but by Procopius of Gaza as probably 'Lucifer, the morning star,' following the Vulgate of Job 38:32. In later Jewish writings mazzaloth are the signs of the Zodiac, and the singular, mazzal, is used to denote the single signs as well as the planets, and also the influence which they were believed to exercise upon human destiny (Selden, De Dis Syr. Synt. 1:c. 1). In consequence of this, Jarchi, and the Hebrew commentators generally, identify mazzaroth and mazzaloth, though their interpretations vary. Aben Ezra understands 'stars' generally; but R. Levi ben-Gershon, 'a northern constellation.' Gesenius himself is in favor of regarding mazzaroth as the older form, signifying strictly 'premonitions,' and in the concrete sense, 'stars that give warnings or presages,' from the usage of the root נָזִר, nazar, in Arabic. He deciphered, as he believed, the same words on some Cilician coins in the inscription מזרן זן על, which he renders as a prayer, 'may thy pure star (shine) over (us)' (Mon. Phoen. p. 279, tab. 36)."

Bible concordance for MAZZAROTH.

See also the International Standard Bible Encyclopedia.

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