EAST: or = "rising" or "the rising of the sun" [opposed to = "west": Isa. xli. 2, 25; Ps. l. 1, ciii. 12], or = [lit. "forward"] the direction of the face, west being "behind" , north "to the left" , and south "to the right" [: Job xxiii. 8-9; Gen. xiii. 14, xxviii. 14; Num. x. 5, 6]):
Worshipers of the sun turned toward the east, with their backs to the Holy of Holies (Ezek. viii. 16; comp. Suk. v. 4), whereas the Jews of the Exile prayed toward the Temple (Dan. vi. 11; I Kings viii. 38, 44 et seq.; Ber. iv. 5; Sifre, Debarim, 29). For those living in the west, therefore, the east was the direction in which they were to pray (see "Ḳiblah" in the article Mohammed).
East is the part of the world where God planted paradise (Vita Adæ et Evæ, 18, 22; [Lat.] Apoc.Mosis, i., according to Gen. iii. 24, LXX.). According to the "Didascalia," prayer is offered with the face turned to the east "because God ascended to the heaven of heavens to the east, and because paradise is situated in the east" ("Apost. Const." ii. 57). This was enjoined on the early Christians (see Clemens Alexandrinus, "Stromata," vii. 7; Syriac Canons [Teachings] of the Apostles, i.; Ante-Nicene Library, viii. 668, New York, 1890; Tertullian, "Apology," 16). A much older custom, which goes back to very primitive times and is connected with the belief that the dead go down to the land of Hades in the west, but will rise again with the sun in the east, is the burying of the dead with the face toward the east (see Tylor, "Primitive Culture," 1874, pp. 422 et seq.). See also MizraḤ.
- Schürer, Gesch. 3d ed., ii. 453, Leipsic, 1898;
- Löw, Gesammelte Schriften, 1898, iv. 36 et seq.;
- Smith and Cheetham, Dictionary of Christian Antiquities;
- Smith, Dictionary of the Bible.