Easton’s Bible Dictionary

Dial : for the measurement of time, only once mentioned in the Bible, erected by Ahaz (2 Kings 20:11; Isaiah 38:8). The Hebrew word (ma'aloth) is rendered "steps" in Exodus 20:26,1 Kings 10:19, and "degrees" in 2 Kings 20:9,10,11. The ma'aloth was probably stairs on which the shadow of a column or obelisk placed on the top fell. The shadow would cover a greater or smaller number of steps, according as the sun was low or high.

Probably the sun-dial was a Babylonian invention. Daniel at Babylon (Daniel 3:6) is the first to make mention of the "hour."

Related Resources
  • Smith’s Bible Dictionary