often referred to in Scripture ( Job 40:9 ; Psalms 77:18 ; 104:7 ). James and John were called by our Lord "sons of thunder" ( Mark 3:17 ). In Job 39:19 , instead of "thunder," as in the Authorized Version, the Revised Version translates (ra'amah) by "quivering main" (marg., "shaking"). Thunder accompanied the giving of the law at Sinai ( Exodus 19:16 ). It was regarded as the voice of God ( Job 37:2 ; Psalms 18:13 ; 81:7 ; Compare John 12:29 ). In answer to Samuel's prayer ( 1 Samuel 12:17 1 Samuel 12:18 ), God sent thunder, and "all the people greatly feared," for at such a season (the wheat-harvest) thunder and rain were almost unknown in Palestine.
is hardly ever heard in Palestine form the middle of April to the middle of September; hence it was selected by Samuel as a striking expression of the divine displeasure toward the Israelites. ( 1 Samuel 12:17 ) Rain in harvest was deemed as extraordinary as snow in summer, ( Proverbs 26:1 ) and Jerome states that he had never witnessed it in the latter part of June or in July. Comm. on ( Amos 4:7 ) In the imaginative philosophy of the Hebrews, thunder was regarded as the voice of Jehovah, ( Job 37:2 Job 37:4 Job 37:5 ; 40:9 ; Psalms 18:13 ; 29:3-9 ; Isaiah 30:30 Isaiah 30:31 ) who dwelt behind the thunder-cloud. ( Psalms 81:7 ) Thunder was, to the mind of the Jew, the symbol of divine power ( Psalms 29:3 ) etc., and vengeance. ( 1 Samuel 2:10 ; 2 Samuel 22:14 )
Thunder is the noise resulting from the lightning discharge. It is very common in the winter storms of Syria and Palestine and occurs in the extra-season storms. Thunder accompanied the storm of hail in Egypt at the time of the plagues: "The Lord sent thunder and hail" (Exodus 9:23).
Lightning and thunder are indications of the power of Yahweh and His might. "The thunder of his power who can understand?" (Job 26:14); "The God of glory thundereth" (Psalms 29:3). Yahweh also confused the Philistines with thunder (1 Samuel 7:10), and His foes were "visited of Yahweh of hosts with thunder" (Isaiah 29:6). Thunder was regarded as the voice of Yahweh:
See also LIGHTNING.
Alfred H. Joy
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