Ancient Hebrew electric light technology in the form of ancient electric carbon arc lights appears in the Bible's Old Testament's accounts of Adam and Eve's Garden of Eden, the Hebrew god Yahweh's Arc of the Covenant, and King Solomon's temple as well as in later works. An ancient carbon arc light can be traced back to the biblical beginning of mankind. Genesis 3:24 says the gods (elohim)* "placed at the east of the garden of Eden cherubim [carbons] and a flaming sword [a sharp electric arc light blazing between them] which turned every way [just like the rotating searchlight on the right]." At a much later time, electric lighting was used by Moses to represent the spirit of Yahweh and to light up the Hebrew god's home in the Ark or Arc of the Covenant.
One source suggesting this is the Ethiopic Book of the Glory of Kings, translated by Dr. E. A. Wallace Budge, a renowned archaeologist and ancient-language scholar. The ancient book speaks of “the light” of the Ark of the Covenant that “catcheth the eye by force, and it astonisheth the mind and stupefieth it with wonder,” and also avows that “it is a heavenly thing and is full of light.” A searchlight beam swinging around out of night sky can indeed catch one's eye by the force of its dazzling beam and stupefy the mind. If you check with http://ancientskyscraper.com/85601.html, you will find that there were laws passed to prevent such an occurrence. Also, an animated account of the Hebrew Ark or Arc of the Covenant and its blinding arc light apparatus housing "Yahweh"** is presented on the Web page http://ancientskyscraper.com/118901.html.
Nevertheless, the home of the dazzling arc light god between the cherubim (carbons), "full of light" while they winged their arc over the mercy seat, was eventually placed in the holy Hebrew temple built by Solomon, which also employed similar lights. The Ethiopic text of the book cited above, otherwise known as the Kebra Nagast, also claims "the house of SOLOMON the King was illuminated as by day [by brilliant arc lights], for in his wisdom he had made shining pearls [arc lamp globes], which were like unto the Sun," and set them "in the roof of his house." They may have resembled the little Suns in "the shining pearls" hanging from the ceiling of the nineteenth-century French hotel illustrated above.
In fact, electric carbon arc lights were described as "second suns" throughout antiquity, and may have even been used in the projectors in ancient Hebrew movie houses. Similar terms were used to describe those brilliant lights in more modern times. As a matter of fact, one of the first practical usages for the arc light in the nineteenth century was when an "electric sun"*** shed its light upon the stage during the presentation of Meyerbeer's latest opera "Le Prophete" at the Paris Opera House in 1846. At this show, Jules Duboscq introduced his arc light and regulator, which replaced the standard argand lamp and thereby ushered in the first modern electric stage lighting. With battery power, his regulator maintained the blazing arc in a reflector that focused its light on a silk screen that produced a representation of the rising sun.
Duboscq's French accomplishment did not go unnoticed. In May of 1849, a ballet called "Electra" was especially composed for the purpose of introducing the arc light to the British public at Her Majesty's Theater in London. In The Development of Electrical Technology in the 19th Century, W. James King says, "The ballet was an instant hit, and a command performance was given for Queen Victoria a few weeks later."
In the 1850's, reliable automatic regulators for arc lights and successful electric dynamos to replace their expensive batteries were developed and these brilliant lights were becoming a commercial success and widely accepted. Then and in the decades that followed, they were used in lighthouses, fortresses, ships, lecture halls, streets, hotels, stores, factories, locomotives, train stations, stadiums, government buildings, farming, mining, photography, and elsewhere. By 1893, electric carbon arc searchlights had also found an equally viable commercial as well as a military market, so they were were conspicuously displayed from the windows of the Electric Building at Chicago's World Exposition. The illustration of them below, from a General Electric brochure, displays their widespread effect at the fair.
Speaking of the ancient Hebrew temple, the Old Testament tells us in I Kings 6:4 that Solomon, "for the house he made windows of narrow lights," which were probably also carbon arc searchlights similar to those shooting out their narrow beams from the windows above. After the power of ancient batteries greatly exceeded that of those found near Baghdad, searchlights followed suit and began to light up cities. In the seventh century, eight illuminated Jerusalem, and a substantial portion at that, by casting their beams a great distance from the circular Christian Church of the Ascension on the Mount of Olives. Arculf (Arculfus), a Frankish bishop, perhaps of Prigueux, who visited and explored the Holy Land, accompanied by Peter, a Bergundian monk, who acted as a guide, reported the details and effects of these eight brilliant lights—and some others also.
The Catholic Encyclopedia gives us a little background on his marvelous report—as follows: “St. Bede relates (Hist. Eccles. Angl., V, 15) that Arculf, on his return from a pilgrimage to the Holy Land about 670 or 690, was cast by tempest on the shore of Scotland. He was hospitably received by Adamnan, the abbot of the island monastery of Iona, to whom he gave a detailed narrative of his travels to the Holy Land, with specifications and designs of the sanctuaries so precise that Adamnan, with aid from some extraneous sources, was able to produce a descriptive work in three books, dealing with Jerusalem, Bethlehem, the principal towns of Palestine, and Constantinople. Adamnan presented a copy of this work to Aldfrith, King of Northumbria in 698. It aims at giving a faithful account of what Arculf actually saw during his journey. As the latter 'joined the zeal of an antiquarian to the devotion of a pilgrim during his nine months’ stay in the Holy City, the work contains many curious details that might otherwise have never been chronicled.'”
The following two excerpts, from The Pilgrimage of Arculfus in the Holy Land (About the Year A.D. 670) was translated by the Rev. James R. MacPherson in 1895. He says: “The translation has been made as literal as possible in passages where the exact rendering was of any controversial or archaeological importance, as in the description of the sites and buildings.” Here are those two excerpts wherein Arculf continues to describe one of those buildings, a revered church on the Mount of Olives, and the effects of its bright searchlights as follows:
“In the western side of the church we have mentioned above [before], twice four windows have been formed high up with glazed shutters, and in these windows there burn as many lamps placed opposite them, within and close to them. These lamps hang in chains, and are so placed that each lamp may hang neither higher nor lower, but may be seen, as it were, fixed to its own window, opposite and close to which it is specially seen. The brightness of these lamps is so great that, as their light is copiously poured through the glass from the summit of the Mountain of Olivet, not only is the part of the mountain nearest the round basilica to the west illuminated, but also the lofty path which rises by steps up to the city of Jerusalem from the Valley of Josaphat, is clearly illuminated in a wonderful manner, even on dark nights; while the greater part of the city that lies nearest at hand on the opposite side is similarly illuminated by the same brightness. The effect of this brilliant and admirable coruscation of the eight great lamps shining by night from the holy mountain and from the site of the Lord's ascension, as Arculf related, is to pour into the hearts of the believing onlookers a greater eagerness of the Divine love, and to strike the mind with a certain fear along with vast inward compunction.” And Arculfus went on to add: “This also we learned from the narrative of the sainted Arculf: That in that round church, besides the usual light, of the eight lamps mentioned above as shining within the church by night, there are usually added on the night of the Lord's Ascension almost innumerable other lamps, which by their terrible and admirable brightness, poured abundantly through the glass of the windows, not only illuminate the Mount of Olivet, but make it seem to be wholly on fire; while the whole city and the places in the neighborhood are also lit up.”
*Elohim is a Hebrew word, used over 2700 times in the Old Testament, which bible translators chose to render as "God" when it is a plural form that should be translated "gods" instead.
** YWH is one of the gods of the Bible, who appears nearly 7,000 times in the Old Testament. Various English vowels and consonants are used to spell his name. It is often written as "Yahweh," or "Yahveh" with a "v" instead of "w." Sometimes it is spelled "Jehovah." Yet, in nearly all English bibles, translators have persisted in changing his name to "God" or "Lord." We know of only one exception. The Holy Bible, Amended King James Version, published by The Philadelphia Publishers Association. This commendable work truthfully renders the name YWH as "Yahweh" throughout the Old Testament—instead of using highly deceptive words such as "Lord" and "God."
*** Quoted from Ernest Greenwood's 1931 edition of Amber to Amperes