Dayspring is an old word that means “dawn” or “morning”. It is not used in our language today, but you may be familiar with the Christian greeting card company that is named after it. The word is only mentioned twice in the Bible, once in the beginning and once near the birth of Christ, and only in the King James Version. Some of our words change meaning or become archaic over the years, so that is why it is necessary to have updated versions of the Bible with current meanings. You can see from the two translations below how the updated version makes it easier to read without losing the original meaning.
King James Version: “Hast thou commanded the morning since thy days; and caused the dayspring to know his place?” (Job 38:12)
Holman Christian Standard Bible: “Have you ever in your life commanded the morning or assigned the dawn its place?” (Job 38:12)
Here, dayspring is associated with creation and morning. In this chapter in the book of Job, God is responding to Job’s questions about God and suffering. Earlier in the chapter, God answered him by saying, “Where were you when I established the earth? And then continues with these verses saying, “Have you ever created the morning?” In other words, God is sovereign over all, and who is man to tell God what to do?
Job is a fascinating book in the Bible. It is the oldest book written in the Bible, and quite possibly the oldest book written that is still in existence, and it asks the oldest question in the world – Why does God allow suffering? The author is unknown, and both biblical and secular scholars recognize it as a literary masterpiece. It takes place about 4000 years ago around the time of Abraham in the land of Uz. The main character, Job, does not get all of his questions answered, but he comes away with a greater understanding of who God is and what he believes about Him. And isn’t that what we want – to know who God is, and how we fit into the greater picture?
The second reference to the term Dayspring in the Bible is in Luke 1:78, when Zechariah prophesies about his son, John the Baptist, who comes to make way for the Christ. This time Dayspring is a title.
King James Version: “Through the tender mercy of our God; whereby the Dayspring from on high hath visited us.” (Luke 1:78)
Holman Christian Standard Bible: “Because of our God’s merciful compassion, the Dawn from on high will visit us” (Luke 1:78)
“…to shine on those who live in darkness and the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace.” (Luke 1:79)
Jesus is our light and dayspring. His mercies are new every morning. He is the Son of God who rises like the dawn to bring light to all men.
Follow along each day during the holiday season as I post a different name of Jesus and Christmas ornament you can download to decorate and hang on your CHRISTmas tree! It’s a wonderful way to discover who Jesus Christ is, and what His birth at Christmas means to each of us.
Sue McCusker is a writer, Bible teacher, and web developer who loves to share the stories of life, hope, and faith she sees around her every day. She has written for Guideposts and Angels on Earth magazines, and teaches the story of God in women's Bible study.