Question: What did ancient cultures believe about the number of stars? What did the Bible teach about this?
Answer: When the Bible was written only three thousand to four thousand stars were visible to the naked eye, and no telescopes had been invented yet. But listen to this verse in Jeremiah 33:22: “As the host of heaven cannot be numbered, neither the sand of the sea measured, so will I multiply the seed of David my servant, and the Levites that minister unto me.” God was saying that David’s spiritual descendants through Christ would be very numerous, and He used the figure of speech of the endless stars of heaven and the endless number of sand grains to illustrate a very great number. What is provocative about this illustration is that scientists currently estimate the number of known stars to be approximately equal to the estimated number of sand grains on the earth, both very large numbers.
If this passage was just a human insight, how did the writer know the stars were so many as to be innumerable? Some will cite the fact that there are other ancient writings that talk about innumerable stars. But when the scientists of those days got away from figures of speech and got right down to counting stars, they thought it was do-able. Many scientists before the invention of the telescope charted what they believed were all the known stars, numbering several thousand visible stars. Now we realize more than one hundred billion galaxies exist, each with at least one hundred billion stars. Remember that the Bible writers were not astronomers or scientists of any type. Could it be that they had inside information from the Creator Himself that yet undiscovered myriads of stars were in the sky?
Actually, only God has counted the stars. In fact, He has not only numbered them, but named them (Psalm 147:4)! He also knows the number of grains of sand on every beach, and number of the hairs on your head! What an awesome God that has the ability to name all the stars, and care for each one of us.