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THUNDER:

The sound that follows lightning. The proper Hebrew term for it is (Ps. lxxvii. 19 et passim; Job xxvi. 14; Isa. xxix. 6), but it is often rendered in the Bible by , plural (= "voice," "voices"), the singular being always followed by (= "the voice of Yhwh"; Ps. xxx. 3; Isa. xxx. 30). In the plural, with the exception of Ex. ix. 28, where it is followed by , the word "God" is omitted but understood (ib. ix. 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 Ps. lxxvii. 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. Ex. xiv. 20). The hail in the seventh plague of Pharaoh was accompanied by thunder (ib. ix. 23 et passim). The Law was given to the Israelites from Sinai amid thunder and lightning (ib. xix. 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 (I Sam. vii. 10; Ecclus. [Sirach] xlvi. 17). Later, when the Israelites asked Samuel for a king he prayed to God for a thunder-storm that the petitioners might be overawed (I Sam. xii. 18). The declaration of Jeremiah (Jer. x. 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 Ps. xxix. 3 et seq. Thunder following lightning is spoken of in Job xxxvii. 3-4; and in two other passages they are mentioned together (ib. xxviii. 26, xxxviii. 25). The separation of the water from the dry land at the time of the Creation (comp. Gen. i. 9) is said in Ps. civ. 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 xxxix. 25). Thunder is metaphorically used to denote the power of God (ib. xxvi. 14). The goods of the unjust disappear in a noise like thunder (Ecclus. [Sirach] xl. 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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