As I cycled home from Chapel this month, the skies were dark and the lanes quiet. To my right, or rather to the south, stood great Orion in the night sky, his famous belt twinkling in the darkness, his giant sword or club raised and ready to strike, his great shield held forth. Three times it is mentioned in the Bible:

Job 9:9 "He is the maker of the Bear and Orion"

Job 38:31 "Can you loosen Orion's belt?"

Amos 5:8 "He who made the Pleiades and Orion".

Orion was a hunter in ancient Greek myth, and may be the Hellenistic memory of the Nimrod recorded in Genesis 10:8-10:

Cush begot Nimrod; he began to be a mighty one on the earth.  He was a mighty hunter before the Lord; therefore it is said, “Like Nimrod the mighty hunter before the Lord.” And the beginning of his kingdom was Babel, Erech, Accad, and Calneh, in the land of Shinar. (New King James Version)

The next chapter describes the Tower of Babel and mankind’s attempted forced entry of heaven. The great warrior depicted in the sky may well have reminded early man of Nimrod, their first King; indeed, he might have pointed to the sky to prove to his minions his great power and heavenly entitlement: “See! There I am! Follow me, I'll get us back into the heavens where we belong". He failed, as have all mighty men since. The stars of Orion point not to some earthly hunter or powerful emperor, but to the Creator. Psalm 19 proclaims:

The heavens declare the glory of God;

And the firmament shows His handiwork.

Day unto day utters speech,

And night unto night reveals knowledge.

There is no speech nor language

Where their voice is not heard.

Their line has gone out through all the earth,

And their words to the end of the world.

The majesty of the heavens praise no man, nor any particular hero, but the Great God who called them into being. 

Image by Emiliano Gaudiello from Pixabay