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Fausset's Bible Dictionary


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(See PALESTINE; Climate.) Μatar . Geshem , "violent rain" or generically "the early and latter rain" (Jeremiah 5:24; Joel 2:23). Υoreh , "the early rain of autumn"; malkosh , "the latter rain of spring" (Proverbs 16:15; Job 29:23; Jeremiah 3:3; Hosea 6:3; Zechariah 10:1). Rebibim , from rab "many," from the multitude of drops; "showers" (Deuteronomy 32:2). Ζerem , "violent rain," "hailstorm" (Job 24:8). Sagrir only in Proverbs 27:15. As compared with Egypt, Palestine was a land of rain (Deuteronomy 11:10-11), but for six months no rain falls so that "rain in harvest" and "thunder" were marvelous phenomena, and out of time and place (Proverbs 26:1; 1 Samuel 12:16-18). The early rain begins gradually, the latter end of October or beginning of November. Generally from the W. or S.W. (Luke 12:54); the wind then changes to the N. or E. At no period in the winter, from the end of October to the end of March, does rain entirely cease. In January and February snow falls, but lies only a short time.

"The early rain" means the first autumnal showers which prepare the arid soil for the seed; "the latter rain" the later spring showers, especially in March, which Bring forward the crop toward harvest (James 5:7; Proverbs 16:15). Showers fall occasionally in April and May. God claims as His peculiar prerogative the sending or withholding of rain, which He made dependent on the obedience or disobedience of Israel (Leviticus 26:3-5; Leviticus 26:19; Deuteronomy 11:13-15; Deuteronomy 28:23-24; Jeremiah 3:3; Jeremiah 5:24; Jeremiah 14:22). "The latter rain in the first (month)" in Joel 2:23 means in the month when first it is needed; or else, as Vulgate and Septuagint, "as at the first" (compare Isaiah 1:26; Hosea 2:15; Malachi 3:4); or in Νisan or Αbib , the Passover month, the first, namely, the end of March and beginning of April. The departure of winter was marked by the cessation of rain (Song of Solomon 2:11-13). Rain is the beautiful image of the Spirit's refreshing influences in Messiah's kingdom (Hosea 6:3; 2 Samuel 23:4; Psalms 72:6).

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Bibliography Information
Fausset, Andrew R. Entry for 'Rain'. Fausset's Bible Dictionary. 1949.

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