Observer of Times

Observer of Times is the rendering in the A. V. of the Heb. מעוֹנֵן, meonen', De 18:10,14 [so also the verb, Le 19:26; 2Ki 21:6; 2Ch 33:6; elsewhere "enchanter," "Meonenim," "soothsayer"] (comp. Spencer, Leg. rit. 2:11, 3; and SEE NECROMANCER; SEE SEER ), and the superstition, intimately associated with astrology, and widely spread through the ancient world by the influence of the Oriental Magi, which distinguishes and determines days as lucky or unlucky, seen to be plainly alluded to not only here, but also in the words onenim' ( עוֹננַיםIsa 2:6; Jer 27:9) and osienah' (עֹננָה, Isa 57:3), commonly rendered "soothsayers" or "sorcerers" (q.v.). Deyling (Observat. 3:128 sq.) finds it mentioned also in Job 3:5 (יוֹם כַּמרַירֵי; but see Gesen. Thes. 2:693). In Ga 4:10, Paul censures the same practice. This peculiar regard to days originated at a very early period. It had already become prevalent in Greece in the age of Hesiod (Works and Days, 770; comp. 768; see Ideler, Chronol. 1:88), and is often mentioned by later authors, both Greek and Roman (see, e.g., Sueton. Octav. 94; Nero, 8; Vitell. 8). Single families had their own peculiarly unlucky days ("dies atros," Sueton. Octav. 92). Even between different divisions and hours of the same day a similar distinction was made (Theodr. 1:15; comp Ps 91:6, in the Sept.; Hesiod. Works and Days 710 sq.; Macrob. Sat. 1:16). The observance of days was not unknown to the ancient Persians (Ideler, Chronol. 2:540) or the early Germans (Caesar, Bell. Galatians i 50; comp. esp. Schwebel, De Superst. ap. vett. die observ. Onold, 1769; Potter, Greek Archaeol. 1:753). The modern Jews make the second and fifth days of the week especially prominent (see Buxtorf, Synag. Jud. p. 279). SEE DIVINATION.

See also the International Standard Bible Encyclopedia.

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