Job 9:9 NIV
“He is the Maker of the Bear and Orion, the Pleiades and the constellations of the south.”
This verse, with others of the same description in the book of Job, is of special importance, as they furnish an illustration of the views which prevailed among the patriarchs on the subject of astronomy.
There are frequent references to the sciences in this book and there is no source of illustration of the views which prevailed in the earliest times in regard to the state of the sciences. The thoughts of people were early turned to the science of astronomy. Not only were they led to this by the beauty of the heavens, and by the instinctive promptings of the human mind to know something about them, but the attention of the Babylonians and of the other Oriental nations was early drawn to them by the fact that they were shepherds, and that they spent much of their time in the open air at night, watching their flocks.
By watching the movements of the stars; and they tried to ascertain the influence which the stars exerted over the fates of people, by dividing the heavens into portions, having a fancied resemblance to certain animals, and by giving them appropriate names. Therefore, arose the arrangement of the stars into constellations, and the names which they still bear.
The Hebrew word rendered Bear, is עשׁ ‛ayı̂sh. The Septuagint renders it, Πλειάδα Pleiada - the Pleiades. Jerome, Arcturum. The Hebrew word usually means a moth, Job 4:19; Job 13:28; Job 27:18. It also denotes the splendid constellation in the northern hemisphere, which we call Ursa Major, the Great Bear. The word עשׁ ‛ayı̂sh does not literally mean a bear, but is made from the Arabic nas, by dropping the initial n - as is common in Arabic.
The word in Arabic means a bier, and is the name given to the constellation which we call ‘Ursa Major’, because the four stars, which are a square, are regarded as a bier, on which a dead body is placed. The three following (the tail of the bear) are the daughters or sons which attend the funeral as mourners.
This name is often given to this constellation in Arabic. The Arabic name is Elna'sch, the bier. The expression denotes particularly the bier on which the dead are carried, and taken in this sense, each of the two biers in the Ursa Major and Ursa Minor is accompanied by three mourning-women. The biers and the mourning-women together, are called Benâtna'sch, literally, ‘daughters of the bier’.