Verse 32. He gave them hail for rain. They seldom had rain, but now the showers assumed the form of heavy, destructive hail storms, and being accompanied with a hurricane and thunderstorm, they were overwhelming, terrible, and destructive.
And flaming fire in their land. The lightning was peculiarly vivid, and seemed to run along upon the ground, or fall in fiery flakes. Thus all the fruit of the trees and the harvests of the fields were either broken to pieces or burned on the spot, and universal fear bowed the hearts of men to the dust. No phenomena are more appalling to the most of mankind than those which attend a thunderstorm; even the most audacious blasphemers quail when the dread artillery of heaven opens fire upon the earth.
EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS
Verse 32. -- He gave them hail for rain. I had ridden out to the excavations at Gizeh, when seeing a large black cloud approaching, I sent a servant to the tents to take care of them, but as it began to rain slightly I soon rode after him myself. Shortly after my arrival a storm of wind began; I therefore ordered the cords of the tents to be secured, but soon a violent shower of rain came in addition, which alarmed all our Arabs, and drove them into the rock tomb, in which is our kitchen... Suddenly the storm became a regular hurricane, such as, I had never witnessed in Europe, and a hailstorm came down on us, which almost turned the day into night... It was not long before first our common tent fell down, and when I had hastened from that into my own, in order to hold it from the inside, this also broke down above me. --Carl Richard Lepsius, in "Letters from Egypt, Ethiopia, and the Peninsula of Sinai". 1853.
Verse 32. -- Hail. Extraordinary reports of the magnitude of hailstones, which have fallen during storms so memorable as to find a place in general history, have come down from periods of antiquity more or less remote. According to the "Chronicles," a hailstorm occurred in the reign of Charlemagne, in which hailstones fell which measured fifteen feet in length by six feet in breadth, and eleven feet in thickness; and under the reign of Tippoo Saib, hailstones equal in magnitude to elephants are said to have fallen. Setting aside these and like recitals as partaking rather of the character of fable than of history, we shall find sufficient to create astonishment in well authenticated observations on this subject.
In a hailstorm which took place in Flintshire on the 9th of April, 1672, Halley saw hailstones which weighed five ounces.
On the 4th of May, 1697, Robert Taylor saw fall hailstones measuring fourteen inches in circumference.
In the storm which ravaged Como on 20th August, 1787, Volta saw hailstones which weighed nine ounces.
On 22nd May, 1822, Dr. Noggerath saw fall at Bonn hailstones which weighed from twelve to thirteen ounces.
It appears, therefore, certain that in different countries hailstorms have occurred in which stones weighing from half to three quarters of a pound have fallen. -- Dionysius Lardner, in "The Museum of Science and Art," 1854.
HINTS FOR PASTORS AND LAYPERSONS
Verse 32. -- He gave them hail for rain. Judgment substituted for mercy.