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Bible Dictionaries

Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament


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The invariable biblical conception of hail is correctly represented in Wisdom of Solomon 5:22 : ‘As from an engine of war shall be hurled hailstones full of wrath.’ Typical instances of the use of hail as a weapon of Divine judgment and warfare are found in Exodus 9:18 f., Joshua 10:11. Like other destructive natural forces, it is a familiar category in apocalyptic prophecy. It is always regarded as a ‘plague’ (πληγή, Revelation 16:21). ‘Hail and fire,’ ‘lightnings … and great hail,’ occur together (Revelation 8:7, Revelation 11:19), as in Exodus 9:24 : ‘hail, and fire mingling with (flashing continually amidst) the hail.’ Thunderstorms often arise ‘under the conditions that are favourable to the formation of hail, i.e. great heat, a still atmosphere, the production of strong local convection currents in consequence, and the passage of a cold upper drift’ (Encyclopaedia Britannica 11 xii. 820), True hail, which is to be distinguished from so-called ‘soft hail,’ is formed of clear or granular ice. Impinging hailstones are often frozen together, and sometimes great ragged masses of ice fall with disastrous results to life and property. The seventh angel having poured his bowl upon the air, ‘great hail, every stone about a talent in weight, cometh down out of heaven upon men’ (Revelation 16:21). Diodorus Siculus (xix. 45) writes of storms in which ‘the size of the hail was incredible, for the stones fell a mina in weight, sometimes even more, so that many houses fell under their weight and not a few men were killed.’ The mina was about 2 lbs.-the sixtieth part of a talent.

James Strahan.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of Used by Permission.

Bibliography Information
Hastings, James. Entry for 'Hail'. Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament. 1906-1918.

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