This great body of light is a very unusual Hebrew noun. Every noun in Hebrew has a gender and is pre-determined to be either feminine or masculine. The word “she-mesh” (sun) is one among a handful (10-15) of biblical nouns that are both feminine and masculine. Most of these nouns are words of grave magnitude. Here are a few examples of these unusual nouns: spirit or wind, world, the deep or abyss, and tongue.
We don’t know why these words are dual-gendered, but this is how they appear in the Bible. The Hebrew language, like other languages, has a very defined set of grammar rules. However, if a word appears in the Bible in a form contrary to the rule (even in only a single occasion), the biblical form supersedes the grammar rule and turns into a rule. This practice demonstrates the degree of reverence the people of the Book have towards the Book of Books—the Bible.
The sun is mentioned in Genesis 1:16 in a different name: “ha-ma-or ha-ga-dol,” “the large light.” Thereafter (except for Psalm 74:16 where both words appear), it is called only “she-mesh,” sun.
The sun is mentioned, for example, as a masculine noun in Isaiah 60:20: “Your sun shall no more go down…” and in Joshua 10:12: “Sun, stand still upon Gibeon…” We find the sun as a feminine noun in Nahum 3:17 “…but when the sun arises…” and in Malachi 4:2 “…the sun of righteousness shall arise.”
In this last verse we discover a surprising angelic imagery of the sun, coupled with a more surprising function it performs—healing: “But to you who fear my name the sun of righteousness shall arise with healing in its wings….”
The sun is mentioned only three times in the New Testament. Noteworthy is the vision in Revelation 12:1: “A great sign was seen in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet….”
Finally, the sun is compared to God Himself in Psalm 84:11: “For the Lord God is a sun and shield….”