|Easton's Bible Dictionary|
(Hebrews shemesh), first mentioned along with the moon as the two great luminaries of heaven (Genesis 1:14-18). By their motions and influence they were intended to Mark and divide times and seasons. The worship of the sun was one of the oldest forms of false religion (Job 31:26, 27), and was common among the Egyptians and Chaldeans and other pagan nations. The Jews were warned against this form of idolatry (Deuteronomy 4:19; 17:3; Comp. 2 Kings 23:11; Jeremiah 19:13).
Noah Webster's Dictionary
1. (n.) See Sunn.
2. (n.) The luminous orb, the light of which constitutes day, and its absence night; the central body round which the earth and planets revolve, by which they are held in their orbits, and from which they receive light and heat. Its mean distance from the earth is about 92,500,000 miles, and its diameter about 860,000.
3. (n.) Any heavenly body which forms the center of a system of orbs.
4. (n.) The direct light or warmth of the sun; sunshine.
5. (n.) That which resembles the sun, as in splendor or importance; any source of light, warmth, or animation.
6. (v. t.) To expose to the sun's rays; to warm or dry in the sun; as, to sun cloth; to sun grain.
Int. Standard Bible Encyclopedia
CHARIOTS OF THE SUN
(markebhoth ha-shemesh): These, together with "horses of the sun," are mentioned in 2 Kings 23:11. They are said to have stood in the temple, a gift of the kings of Judah. Josiah removed the horses from the precincts of the temple and burned the chariots. Among the Greeks, Helios was endowed with horses and chariots. Thus the course of the sun as he sped across the skies was understood by the mythological mind of antiquity. The Babylonian god Shamash (= Hebrew Shemesh) likewise had his chariot and horses as well as his charioteer. The cult of the sun and other heavenly bodies which was particularly in vogue during the latter days of the Judean monarchy (compare 2 Kings 23:5 Ezekiel 8:16; Deuteronomy 17:3 Jeremiah 8:2) seems to have constituted an element of the Canaanitish religion (compare the names of localities like Beth-shemesh and the like). The chariots of the sun are also referred to in Enoch 72:5, 37; 75:4, and Greek Apocrypha of Baruch 6.
Max L. Margolis
HORSES OF THE SUN
(2 Kings 23:11): In connection with the sun-worship practiced by idolatrous kings in the temple at Jerusalem (2 Kings 23:5; compare Ezekiel 8:16), horses dedicated to the sun, with chariots, had been placed at the entrance of the sacred edifice. These Josiah, in his great reformation, "took away," and burned the chariots with fire. Horses sacred to the sun were common among oriental peoples (Bochart, Heiroz., I, 2, 10).
(Figurative): Poetical conceptions for the sun are frequently found in the Scriptures, though the strictly figurative expressions are not common. Undoubtedly the Jewish festivals, religious as well as agricultural, were determined by the sun's movements, and this fact, together with the poetical nature of the Hebrews and their lack of scientific knowledge, had a tendency. to multiply spiritual and metaphorical expressions concerning the "greater light" of the heavens. Some of these poetical conceptions are very beautiful, such as the sun having a habitation (Habakkuk 3:11), a tabernacle (Psalm 19:4 f) set for him by Yahweh, out of which he comes as a bridegroom from his chamber, rejoicing as a strong man to run a race. The sun is also given as the emblem of constancy (Psalm 72:5, 17), of beauty (Songs 6:10), of the law of God (Psalm 19:7), of the purity of heavenly beings (Revelation 1:16; Revelation 12:1), and of the presence and person of God (Psalm 84:11). The ancient world given to personifying the sun did not refrain from sun-worship, and even the Hebrew in the time of the kings came perilously near this idolatry (2 Kings 23:11).
C. E. Schenk
SUN, SMITING BY
smit'-ing: Exposure of the uncovered head to the heat of the sun is likely to produce either of two conditions; the commoner is heat exhaustion with faintness, the rarer is heatstroke with fever and paralysis of the heat-regulating apparatus of the nervous system. This condition is described as siriasis. The two fatal instances recorded were probably of the latter kind. One, the case of the Shunammite's son (2 Kings 4:19), was apparently very acute, like some of the cases described by Manson and Sambon. Of the other case, that of Manasseh, Judith's husband, we have no particulars (Judith 8:3), except that it was likewise brought on by exposure in the harvest field, and occurred at the time of barley harvest, that is, early in May. Jonah's attack was one of heat syncope, as he fainted from the heat (Jonah 4:8). According both to psalmist (Psalm 121:6) and to prophet (Isaiah 49:10), the people of God are protected from the stroke of the sun as well as from that of the moon. The latter was supposed to cause lunacy (hence, the name), and epilepsy, so in Matthew 4:24 the word rendered "lunatic" (the King James Version) for "epileptic" (Revised Version) is seleniazomenous, literally, "moon struck."
SMITING BY THE SUN
See SUN, SMITING BY.
See ASTRONOMY, sec. I, 2.
See EAST GATE.
SUN, CHARIOTS OF THE
See HORSES OF THE SUN.
SUN, HORSES OF THE
See HORSES OF THE SUN.