Dial — for the measurement of time, only once mentioned in the Bible, erected by Ahaz (2 Kings 20:11; Isa. 38:8). The Hebrew word (ma’aloth) is rendered “steps” in Ex. 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 (Dan. 3:6) is the first to make mention of the “hour.”