The Book of Job and the Mazzaroth

Job 38:32

“Canst thou bring forth Mazzaroth in his season? or canst thou guide Arcturus with his sons?”

The Ecliptic and the Zodiac

The Book of Job contains references both to a modern view of the universe and an Earth-centric view of the imaginary star shapes that we call constellations. One important set of constellations mentioned in Job is the Mazzaroth.

The Mazzaroth is a collection of twelve constellations. Because many of these are supposed to be images of animals, the Mazzaroth is sometimes called the Zodiac. These twelve constellations are arranged almost evenly around the ecliptic, which is that part of the sky where the Sun appears to move and, hence, is actually a tracking of the Earth’s orbit. This is extremely useful because the rising of each of these constellations in turn amounts approximately to a calendar month each, thus defining our division of the year. We are immediately reminded that God said in Genesis 1:14 that the heavens were to be “for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years”.

This convenience has led to some extending too much significance to the Mazzaroth, assigning them occult meanings in astrology. Reacting against this, some Christians have suggested that the Mazzaroth contains the Gospel message. The truth is much simpler and much more profound; God gave us these constellations for our benefit, and our praise should be directed towards Him.