On: Light; the sun,
(Genesis 41:45,50) the great seat of sun-worship, called
(Jeremiah 43:13) and Aven
(Ezekiel 30:17) stood on the east
bank of the Nile, a few miles north of Memphis, and near Cairo, in
the north-east. The Vulgate and the LXX. Versions have "Heliopolis"
("city of the sun") instead of On in Genesis and of Aven in Ezekiel.
The "city of destruction" Isaiah speaks of
(Isaiah 19:18) marg. "of
Heres;" Heb. 'Ir-ha-heres, which some MSS. read Ir-ha-heres, i.e.,
"city of the sun") may be the name given to On, the prophecy being
that the time will come when that city which was known as the "city
of the sun-god" shall become the "city of destruction" of the
sun-god, i.e., when idolatry shall cease, and the worship of the true
God be established. In ancient times this city was full of obelisks
dedicated to the sun. Of these only one now remains standing.
"Cleopatra's Needle" was one of those which stood in this city in
front of the Temple of Tum, i.e., "the sun." It is now erected on the
Thames Embankment, London. "It was at On that Joseph wooed and won
the dark-skinned Asenath, the daughter of the high priest of its
great temple." This was a noted university town, and here Moses
gained his acquaintance with "all the wisdom of the Egyptians."