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Bible Encyclopedias

The 1901 Jewish Encyclopedia

Thunder

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The sound that follows lightning. The proper Hebrew term for it is (Psalms 77:19 et passim; Job 26:14; Isaiah 29:6), but it is often rendered in the Bible by , plural (= "voice," "voices"), the singular being always followed by (= "the voice of Yhwh"; Psalms 30:3; Isaiah 30:30). In the plural, with the exception of Exodus 9:28, where it is followed by , the word "God" is omitted but understood (ib. 9:23 and elsewhere).

Thunder is one of the phenomena in which the presence of Yhwh is manifested; and it is also one of His instruments in chastising His enemies. According to Psalms 77:18-19, it was a thunder-cloud that came between the Israelites and the Egyptians when the former were about to cross the Red Sea (comp. Exodus 14:20). The hail in the seventh plague of Pharaoh was accompanied by thunder (ib. 9:23 et passim). The Law was given to the Israelites from Sinai amid thunder and lightning (ib. 19:16). In the battle between the Israelites and the Philistines in the time of Samuel, a thunder-storm decided the issue in favor of the Israelites (1 Samuel 7:10; Ecclus. [Sirach] 46:17). Later, when the Israelites asked Samuel for a king he prayed to God for a thunder-storm that the petitioners might be overawed (1 Samuel 12:18). The declaration of Jeremiah (Jeremiah 10:13): "When he uttereth a voice there is a multitude of waters," probably refers to thunder. The most poetical description of a thunder-storm occurs in Psalms 29:3 et seq. Thunder following lightning is spoken of in Job 37:3-4; and in two other passages they are mentioned together (ib. 28:26, 38:25). The separation of the water from the dry land at the time of the Creation (comp. Genesis 1:9) is said in Psalms 104:7 to have been accomplished by the voice of God, which probably refers to thunder. The clattering noise of battle is likened to thunder (Job 39:25). Thunder is metaphorically used to denote the power of God (ib. 26:14). The goods of the unjust disappear in a noise like thunder (Ecclus. [Sirach] 13). In the ritual is included a special benediction to be recited on hearing thunder (see LIGHTNING, BENEDICTION ON).

S.
M. Sel.

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Bibliography Information
Singer, Isidore, Ph.D, Projector and Managing Editor. Entry for 'Thunder'. 1901 The Jewish Encyclopedia. https://www.studylight.org/encyclopedias/eng/tje/t/thunder.html. 1901.

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