The terms used.
Lebānāh, related to lābān, “white,” is used for the moon prob. because of its white appearance. Its three OT uses in poetic sections are in
The word ḥōdes, “new moon,” “month,” obviously has specialized significance to indicate the time when certain religious festivities were held (cf.
The term, kese’, “full moon” is perhaps an Akkad. loan word, kuse’u, “headwear,” “cap,” or “crown.” Its only OT use is in
The NT Gr. word for “moon” is selēnē, used basically in eschatological contexts as
The moon in creation and providence.
The moon is a part of a picture of the enduring nature of God’s creation, in the psalmist’s expression of his desire for a long life (
The moon as an object of worship.
In spite of the Biblical warning and command not to worship the moon and other heavenly bodies (
The moon as identification.
The moon in eschatological passages.
Parallel NT references to the moon emphasize its being darkened at Christ’s Second Coming (
J. B. Pritchard, Ancient Near Eastern Texts (1955), 501, 502; C. H. Gordon, Ugaritic Textbook, Glossary, Analecta Orientalia 38 (1965), No. 1151.
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia (1915)
The moon was very early worshipped by the nations of the Far East as a divinity or the representative of one or more deities. These deities were both masculine and feminine. In Assyria and Babylonia the most common name for the moon-god was Sin or Sen. In Babylonia he was also called Aku and Nannara. In Egypt the moon was representative of several deities, all masculine. The chief of these was Thoth the god of knowledge, so called because the moon was the measurer of time. Babylonia has, also, Aa, the goddess of the moon, as the consort of the sun, while her equivalent was known in Phoenicia as Ashtaroth-karnaim. This personification and worship of the moon among the nations who were neighbors to Palestine was but part of an elaborate Nature-worship found among these people. Nor was this worship always separated from Palestine by geographical lines. It crept into the thought and customs of the Hebrews and in a sense affected their religious conceptions and ceremonies. They fell into the habit of making direct homage to sun, moon and stars, as is evidenced by
The actual worship of the moon and the idolatry consequent thereon seems to have touched the Hebrews, though this is disputed by some. It would seem difficult to explain
Certain forms of the adoration of the moon, or superstitious fear of baneful influences as coming from the moon, still abound in some sections of the world. In fact in nearly all sections modified forms of old superstitions still hold sway and yield but slowly to scientific knowledge.
See also ASTRONOMY; ASTROLOGY.