Archaeology of Biblical Astronomy
The power and majesty of the Creator have ever been admired in the starry heavens; and still, as in the days of the inspired poet, in that firmament which showeth the works of His hands are the traces of His infinite wisdom sought out of all those who have pleasure therein; but His glory has long ceased to be deciphered, where it was once clearly read, in those long misunderstood records of remote antiquity, the names and figures of the ancient constellations*, as attributed to them beyond the memory of man, beyond the range of history.
To Seth is attributed the origin of the names of astronomy, and in his time it is said it was begun to call by the name of the Lord (Gen 4:26). This may imply the naming of the stars by names to the glory of the Lord, as is maintained in the previous pages of Mazzaroth. It may also include the having given names to the planets; from their brightness and varying position it seems likely that they were the earliest noticed and named. The names of the five that would be early noticed as bright, large moveable stars have come down to us as given in Mazzaroth, Part III, in the East, and as still in use in Europe in the West, different in sound, but in some degree corresponding in meaning.
The name Planets is derived from move ability, so distinguishing them from the fixed stars. Seth would early perceive they derived their brightness from the light of the sun, and that they appeared to attend on him their common centre. The sun, the minister (Chald.) of light.*
* That Shemish, usually masculine, is sometimes feminine, accounts for the varying gender of the sun in different languages, as in German.
The heavens declare the glory of God, by His name El, Al, the Allah of the Oriental languages, frequently applied in the sacred writings to the Second Person of the Triune God. To this purpose the yet extant and unchanged names of the fixed stars are shown to turn; the names of the Planets were not intended to speak [directly] of the glory of the Creator or the Redeemer, but [as seen] in His work, the Lord's people, the congregation of the Lord, so called before His first coming, the Church of Christ since that coming, dark in themselves, enlightened and light-giving in the light of Christ.
When the Arabian astronomers brought to Europe, under the patronage of Alphonso, king of Castile, the ancient names of the fixed stars now in use among us, the planets were found familiarly and universally known by names in use among the Romans. These names the Romans appear to have found in use in that early Italy, of which they preserved other fragmentary traces in their language, referable, like all other ancient words, to the first language of mankind. These names so originating and so transmitted to us, are still in use, and are to be explained by the Noetic or Hebrew roots they contain.
Jupiter,* the Lord hath set free (1 Chron 9:34; 2 Chron 23:10)
Mars,** the wounded
Earth, the broken
Venus,*** the beloved
Mercury,^ going and returning again