Pleiadas is the rendering in the A.V. of כַּימָה, kimah, in Job 9:9; Job 38:31; but in Am 5:8 out A. V. has "the seven stars," although the Geneva version translates the word "Pleiades" as in the other cases. In Job the Sept. has Πλειάς, the order of the Hebrew words having been altered, SEE ORION, while in Amos there is no trace of the original, and it is difficult to imagine what the translators had before them. The Vulgate in each passage has a different rendering: Ilyades in Job 9:9; Pleiades in Job 38:31; and Arcturus in Am 5:8. Of the other versions, the Peshito-Syriac and Chaldee merely adopt the Hebrew word; Aquila in Job 38, Symmachls in Job 38 and Amos, and Theodotion in Amos, give "Pleiades," while with remarkable inconsistency Aquila in Amos has "Arcturus." The Jewish commentators are no less at variance. Rabbi David Kimchi in his lexicon says: "Rabbi Jonah wrote that it was a collection of stars called in Arabic Al-Thuraiya. And the wise rabbi Abraham Aben-Ezra, of blessed memory, wrote that the ancients said Kimah is seven stars, and they are at the end of the constellation Aries, and those which are seen are six. And he wrote that what was right in his eyes was that it was a single star, and that a great one, which is called the left eye of Taurus; and Kesil is a great star, the heart of the constellation Scorpio." On Job 38:31, Kimchi continues: "Our rabbins of blessed memory have said (Rerachoth, 58, 2) Kimah hath great cold and bindeth up the fruits and Kesil hath great heat and ripeneth the fruits: therefore He said, 'or loosen the bands of Kesil;' for it openeth the fruits and bringeth them forth." In addition to the evidence of rabbi Jonah, who identifies the Hebrew Kimnah with the Arabic el-Thuraiya, we have the testimony of rabbi Isaac Israel, quoted by Hyde in his notes on the Tables of Ulugh Beigh (p. 31-33, ed. 1665), to the same effect. That el-
Thuraiya and the Pleiades are the same is proved by the words of AbenRagel (quoted by Hyde, p. 33): "Al-Thuraiya is the mansion of the moon, in the sign Taurus, and it is called the celestial hen with her chickens." With this Hyde compares the Fr. Pulsiniere, and Eng. Hen and Chickens, which are old names for the same stars; and Niebuhr (Descr. de l'Arabie, p. 101) gives as the result of his inquiry of the Jew at Sana, "Kinmeh, Pleiades, quon appelle aussi en Allemagne la poule qui glousse." The "Ancients." whom Aben-Ezra quotes (on Job 38:31), evidently understood by the seven small stars at the end of the constellation Aries the Pleiades, which are indeed in the left shoulder of the Bull, but so near the Ram's tail that their position might properly be defined with reference to it. With the statement that "those which are seen are six" may be compared the words of Didymus on Homer, τῶν δὲ Πλειάδων οὐσῶν ἑπτά, πάνυ ἀμαυρὸς ὁ ἕβδομος ἀστήρ, and of Ovid (Fast. 4:170):
"Qeua septem dici, sex tamen esse solent."
⇒Bible concordance for PLEIADES.
The opinion of Aben-Ezra himself has frequently been misrepresented. He held that Kimâh was a single large star, Aldebaran, the brightest of the Hyades, while Kesil [A. V. "Orion"] was Antares, the heart of Scorpio. "When these rise in the east," he continues, "the effects which are recorded appear." He describes them as opposite each other, and the difference in right ascension between Aldebaran and Antares is as nearly as possible twelve hours. The belief of Eben-Ezra had probably the same origin as the rendering of the Vulg. Ilyades. One other point is deserving of notice. The rabbins, as quoted by Kimchi, attribute to Kimâh great cold and the property of checking vegetation, while Kesil works the contrary effects. But the words of rabbi Isaac Israel on Job 38:31 (quoted by Hyde, p. 72), are just the reverse. He says, "The stars have operations in the ripening of the fruits, and such is the operation of Kimâh. And some of them retard and delay the fruits from ripening, and this is the operation of Kesil. The interpretation is, 'Wilt thou bind the fruits which the constellation Kimâh ripeneth and openeth; or wilt thou open the fruits which the constellation Kesil contracteth and bindeth up?" On the whole then, though it is impossible to arrive at any certain conclusion, it appears that our translators were perfectly justified in rendering Kimâh by "Pleiades." The "seven stars" in Amos clearly denoted the same cluster in the language of the 17th century, for Cotgrave in his French Dictionary gives "Pleiade, f., one of the seven stars." Hyde maintained that the Pleiades were again mentioned in Scripture by the name Succoth Benoth.
The discussion of this question must be reserved to the article on that name.
The etymology of Kimâh is referred to the Arabic Kumeh, "a heap," as being a heap or cluster of stars. The full Arabic name given by Gesenius is 'the knot of the Pleiades;" and, in accordance with this, most modern commentators render Job 38:31, "Is it thou that bindest the knots of the Pleiades, or loosenest the bands of Orion?" Simon (Lex. Hebr.) quotes the Greenland name for this cluster of stars, "Killukturset, i.e. stellas colligtasts," as an instance of the existence of the same idea in a widely different language. The rendering "sweet influences" of the A. V. is a relic of the lingering belief in the power which the stars exerted over human destiny. The marginal note on the word "Pleiades" in the Geneva Version is, "Which starres arise when the sunne is in Taurus, which is the spring tyme, and bring flowers," thus agreeing with the explanation of R. Isaac Israel quoted above.
The word is used as the name of the cluster of stars in the neck of the constellation Taurus, of which seven are the principal. Six or seven may be usually seen if the eye is directed towards it; but if the eye be turned carelessly aside while the attention is fixed on the group, many more may be seen. Telescopes show a number of large stars there crowded together into a small space. The name Pleiades is probably derived from the Greek word Pleios, i.e. full, so that it merely denotes a condensed assemblage of stars. The Romans called the Pleiades vergiliae, because they arose in the spring, in the first part of May, and set early in November. See Hyde on Ulugh Beigh's Tabb. p. 32; Niebuhr, Arab. p. 114; Ideler, Ursprung und Bedeutung der Sternnamen, p. 146. SEE ASTRONOMY; SEE CONSTELLATION.