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Bible Dictionaries

Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament

Thunder (2)

THUNDER (βροντή) is but twice mentioned in the Gospels (Mark 3:17, John 12:29). In mountainous Palestine, with the long deep gorge of the Jordan, it is perhaps the most awe-inspiring of natural phenomena. It seldom occurs save in the winter half of the year, and is almost invariably accompanied by rain. For the old Israelites thunder was the voice of God, with a meaning which persons specially gifted might understand. ‘It seems probable that the “voice out of heaven” (John 12:28-29) was a thunder-peal, as indeed most of those present thought, and that its significance was recognized and interpreted by Jesus alone’ (Hasting's Dictionary of the Bible iv. 757b). The surname ‘sons of thunder’ given to James and John (Mark 3:17) disappears at once and finally from the records. On the available data no sure opinion can be formed as to why it was applied to them. As men in the East are called ‘sons’ of that which is most characteristic of them, there was doubtless something ‘thundery’ about them,—a tendency, e.g., to wrathful resentment of slight or injury (Luke 9:54). See Boanerges.

W. Ewing.

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Bibliography Information
Hastings, James. Entry for 'Thunder (2)'. Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/dictionaries/eng/hdn/t/thunder--2.html. 1906-1918.

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