From BiblePortal Wikipedia

Fausset's Bible Dictionary [1]

A type of refreshment, as it shades off the oppressive sun in Palestine, and gives promise of rain ( 1 Kings 18:45). It stands out the more prominent because of the clear sky that surrounds it, and the usually cloudless weather that prevails in the East. "Cloud without rain," therefore, symbolizes a man that promises much, but does not perform ( Proverbs 16:15;  Proverbs 25:14;  Judges 1:12).  Isaiah 25:5; "as the heat in dry place (is brought down by the shadow of a cloud, so) Thou shalt bring down the triumphant shout of the foreigners." Also typifying transitoriness ( Job 30:15;  Hosea 6:4). Also of what intercepts God's favor from us ( Lamentations 2:1;  Lamentations 3:44). As the veil between things seen and things unseen, it, with its floating undefined form, is the symbol manifesting the mysterious unseen presence of God ( 2 Samuel 22:12-13).

Sometimes in thick gloom portending judgment ( Joel 2:2). "Clouds and darkness round about Him" ( Psalms 97:2). The fire of lightning, too, warped in the clouds, suggesting the same punitive aspect of God ( Isaiah 19:1), especially as He shall come to judgment ( Daniel 7:13;  Revelation 1:7;  Matthew 26:64). The supernatural cloud on mount Sinai was attended with fire ( Exodus 19:16;  Exodus 19:18;  Deuteronomy 4:11), a fit symbol of the legal dispensation which speaks the divine terror to the transgressor, in contrast to the gospel which speaks Jesus' loving invitation from the heavenly mount ( Hebrews 12:18-25).

'''Pillar Of Cloud''' . The symbol of God's presence with Israel, guiding them from Egypt to Canaan ( Exodus 13:21-22). It became fire by night. So in the Red Sea it gave light to the escaping Israelites, while interposing between them and the pursuing Egyptians, to whom it" was a cloud and darkness." When Israel was appointed to rest in any place, it rested on the tabernacle over the mercy-seat, and was named by later Jews the Shekinah ( Exodus 29:42-43); at the door ( Exodus 33:9-10;  Numbers 12:5;  Numbers 9:15-23); covering the tabernacle of the congregation ( Exodus 40:34-38). The ark ( Numbers 10:33-36, Speaker's Commentary) went in the midst of the people, and the cloud rested on them, guiding them where to halt. The cloud covered them from the heat ( Psalms 105:39;  Isaiah 4:5).

Its fire symbolized God's purity and glory ( Exodus 24:17;  Daniel 7:10), and His consuming wrath against transgressors ( Leviticus 10:2;  Numbers 16:35;  Deuteronomy 4:24;  Hebrews 12:29). Its nebulous haze typifies His hiding Himself, even while revealing Himself ( Isaiah 45:15); unfolding only a small part of His ways to our finite faculties ( Job 26:14;  1 Timothy 6:16). The cloud is not mentioned as having been on the tabernacle after Israel's entrance into Canaan, until it rested on Solomon's temple at the dedication ( 2 Chronicles 5:13-14), in the moment when the trumpeters and singers together "made one sound to be heard in praising and thanking the Lord." Again, Ezekiel in vision saw the glory of the Lord leaving the temple ( Ezekiel 10:4;  Ezekiel 11:23). Its return is foretold ( Ezekiel 43:2;  Isaiah 4:5). Paul speaks of "the glory," i.e. the divine glory cloud, as Israel's peculiar privilege ( Romans 9:4).

Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament [2]

Cloud —The cloud appears in the Gospels at our Lord’s Transfiguration ( Matthew 17:5 ||  Mark 9:7,  Luke 9:34) and (if we may treat the first verses of the Book of Acts as practically part of St. Luke’s Gospel) at His Ascension ( Acts 1:9). Twice also it has a place in His own prediction of His coming again ( Matthew 24:30 ||  Mark 13:26 ||  Luke 21:27,  Matthew 26:64 ||  Mark 14:62).

The most interesting occurrence of this cloud is that in connexion with the Ascension; but it is its appearance above the Mount of Transfiguration that rules the interpretation of its significance. For there a voice comes out of it which is that of the Heavenly Father: it is seen to be the veil of the Divine Presence. Veiling the glory which no mortal might see and live, veiling yet revealing the Presence of God, the cloud has two aspects, of which the greater and more characteristic is not the negative one of veiling, but that positive aspect in which it attests and manifests the Divine Presence. To come under its shadow (a ‘shadow,’ it would seem, of light, since it was νεφέλη φωτεινή) awoke in the disciples the dread felt by Jacob at Bethel. And for the same reason—that this cloud is a ‘gate of heaven,’ at which a man may stand to hear the voice of God. Here, in this bright cloud, the two spheres, earthly and heavenly, open upon each other. The cloud is less a veil than a lifting of the veil. Here the invisible barrier becomes a portal of heaven, through which may come the voice of the Almighty, and entering by which Christ is passed into heaven. It is a ‘cloud of heaven’: with earth and human life upon this side of it, and on the other side (not sky and stars, but) the invisible things of God, the heavenly sphere, the other world.

Thus in our Lord’s Ascension we do not conceive of Him as ‘going up’ farther than would symbolize and declare His departure from this world: ‘He was taken up, and a cloud received Him out of their sight’—they saw Him go and they saw what door opened to receive Him. As identifying this cloud with ‘heaven,’ compare  Acts 1:9, ‘a cloud received him,’ with  Acts 1:11 ‘received up from you into heaven’: with which agrees  2 Peter 1:17-18, ‘there came a voice to him out of the excellent glory … and this voice we (ourselves) heard brought out of heaven.’ The voice out of the cloud was ‘out of heaven’—the disciples in beholding Christ enter the cloud ‘beheld him going into heaven.’

If for us the cloud is as a door which closes, a veil that hides (as God verily is a God that hideth Himself), this is of grace: ‘thou canst not follow me now’ ( John 13:36)—‘ye cannot bear it now’ ( John 16:12). And the cloud is, for Christ’s disciples, itself an excellent glory, since He is now passed within it (not behind as our earthly sun), filling it with brightness of light. He, our Redeemer and Advocate, the Lord who is our Brother, is now within the cloud that covers Sinai, that leads through the wilderness, that shines above the Mercy-seat; that is to say—in all that by which God draws near to man (in His law as in Sinai, in His providences as in the shepherding of Israel, in religious life and worship as in the Holiest of all), Christ is present, and the love which He has made known, bestowed and sealed. To His disciples the Law is no more a threat and fear, but is written upon the heart for honour and obedience; and God’s providence is trusted—the sheep follow, for they know His voice; and for the deep things of the soul there is a great High priest passed into the heavens, and they that know His name come boldly to the throne of grace.

Literature.—The Comm. in loc. , esp. Swete on  Mark 9:7; Ruskin, Frondes Agrestes , p. 178; Huntingdon, Christian Believing and Living , p. 168; Westcott, Revelat. of the Risen Lord , p. 180; Milligan, Ascension and Heavenly Priesthood of our Lord , p. 21 ff.; Paget, Studies in the Christian Character , p. 246 ff.

Arthur W. Wotherspoon.

Hawker's Poor Man's Concordance And Dictionary [3]

Clouds in the air, I detain not the reader to notice, but the ministry of the cloud in the church of God, when the people went out of Egypt. I think the particularity of it, and the blessedness of it, demands the attention of the church in all ages. And more so, because the promise is still with the church, that "the Lord will create upon every dwelling place of mount Zion (let the reader not overlook the every dwelling place), and upon her assemblies, a cloud and smoke by day, and the shining of a flaming fire by night, for upon all the glory shall be a defence." ( Isaiah 4:5) When we consider the peculiarity of this cloud, when we read expressly who was in it, when we consider the wonderful progress of it in its ministry, then going before, and then shifting its station, as occasion required, and going behind, when we behold the striking account of its ministry, in the difference of its aspect of light to Israel, and darkness to the Egyptians, when we trace the history of it through all the wilderness dispensation of the church, and discover its blessed and beneficial influences to Israel, from Succoth even to Jordan, who but must exclaim, What hath God wrought! Surely, it is impossible for any reader, and every reader, to attend to the wonderful account without joining Moses, the man of God and saying, "Happy art thou, O Israel! who is like unto thee, O people saved of the Lord?" ( Deuteronomy 33:29) Let the reader turn to those Scriptures, ( Exodus 13:21-22; Exo 14:19-20; Exo 16:10;  Numbers 12:5;  Deuteronomy 31:15;  Nehemiah 9:19;  1 Corinthians 10:1; 1Co 10:4) But when the reader hath paused over these Scriptures, and duly pondered the wonderous subject, I entreat him to carry on the blessed consideration (for it is, indeed, most blessed), as it concerns the Exodus, or going forth of the church of Jesus now. For is not the church the same? Is not Jesus's love to it the same? And doth he not go before it now in the pillar of cloud by day, and follow it in the pillar of fire by night, to guide, to bless, to protect, yea, himself to be the very supply to it, through all the eventful journies of its wilderness state, from the Succoth of the beginning of the spiritual life, even to Jordan, the river of natural death opening to glory? What though the cloud, in the miraculous movements of it as to Israel, is not seen, yet the Lord of the cloud, in his presence, grace, and love, is sensibly known and enjoyed. Surely, Old Testament saints had not advantages greater than New Testament believers. "We now with open face beholding, as in a glass, the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord." ( 2 Corinthians 3:18) We have the outer displays of the divine presence, in ordinances, and means of grace, and the blessed Scriptures of truth, like Israel's cloud. And we have the inward tokens, in the Lord himself in the midst, to bless and make himself known in his soul-comforting manifestations. This indeed, is the new creation the Lord promised upon every dwelling place of mount Zion, and upon all her assemblies. Here it may be truly said, "upon all the glory shall be a defence." Precious Lord Jesus! whilst thou art thus gracious, and thus blessed, to thy church and people, we still behold the cloud, yea, now look; through by faith, and behold thee in the cloud, a wall of fire round about, and the glory, as thou didst promise, in the midst of Zion! (See  Zechariah 2:8)

Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary [4]

a collection of vapours suspended in the atmosphere. When the Israelites had left Egypt, God gave them a pillar of cloud to direct their march,  Exodus 13:21-22 . According to Jerom, in his Epistle to Fabiola, this cloud attended them from Succoth; or, according to others, from Rameses; or, as the Hebrews say, only from Ethan, till the death of Aaron; or, as the generality of commentators are of opinion, to the passage of Jordan. This pillar was commonly in front of the Israelites; but at Pihahiroth, when the Egyptian army approached behind them, it placed itself between Israel and the Egyptians, so that the Egyptians could not come near the Israelites all night,  Exodus 14:19-20 . In the morning, the cloud moving on over the sea, and following the Israelites who had passed through it, the Egyptians pressing after were drowned. From that time, this cloud attended the Israelites; it was clear and bright during night, in order to afford them light; but in the day it was thick and gloomy, to defend them from the excessive heats of the deserts. "The angel of God which went before the camp of Israel, removed and went behind them; and the pillar of the cloud went from before their face, and stood behind them,"

 Exodus 14:19 . Here we may observe, that the angel and the cloud made the same motion, as it would seem, in company. The cloud by its motions gave the signal to the Israelites to encamp or to decamp. Where, therefore, it stayed, the people stayed till it rose again; then they broke up their camp, and followed it till it stopped. It was called a pillar, by reason of its form, which was high and elevated. Some interpreters suppose that there were two clouds, one to enlighten, the other to shade, the camp. The Lord appeared at Sinai in the midst of a cloud,  Exodus 19:9;  Exodus 24:5; and after Moses had built and consecrated the tabernacle, the cloud filled the court around it, so that neither Moses nor the priests could enter,  Exodus 40:34-35 . The same happened at the dedication of the temple of Jerusalem by Solomon,  2 Chronicles 5:13;  1 Kings 8:10 . When the cloud appeared upon the tent, in front of which were held the assemblies of the people in the desert, it was then indicated that God was present; for the tent was a sign of God's presence. The angel descended in the cloud, and thence spoke to Moses, without being seen by the people,  Exodus 16:10;  Numbers 11:25;  Numbers 16:5 . It is common in Scripture, when mentioning God's appearing, to represent him as encompassed with clouds, which serve as a chariot, and contribute to veil his dreadful majesty,  Job 22:14;  Isaiah 19:1;  Matthew 17:5;  Matthew 24:30 , &c;  Psalms 18:11-12;  Psalms 97:2;  Psalms 104:3 . Cloud is also used for morning mists: "Your goodness is as a morning cloud; and as the early dew it goeth away,"  Hosea 6:4;  Hosea 13:3 . Job, speaking of the chaos, says, that God had confined the sea or the water, as it were with a cloud, and covered it with darkness, as a child is wrapped in its blankets. The author of Sir_24:6 , used the same expression. The Son of God, at his second advent, is described as descending upon clouds,  Matthew 24:30;  Luke 11:27;  Revelation 14:14-16 .

Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible [5]

CLOUD . In Scripture, as with us, the clouds are the visible masses of aqueous vapour, darkening the heavens, sources of rain and fertility, telling the present state of the weather or indicating a coming change. They serve also for figures of instability and transitoriness (  Hosea 6:4 ), calamity (  Lamentations 2:1 ), the gloom of old age (  Ecclesiastes 12:2 ), great height (  Job 20:6 ), immense numbers (  Hebrews 12:1 ). The following points should be noted. 1. The poetic treatment in Job. The waters are bound up securely in the clouds, so that the rain does not break through (  Job 26:8 ); when the ocean issues from chaos like a new-born child, God wraps it in the swaddling-bands of clouds (  Job 38:9 ); the laws of their movements are impenetrable mysteries (  Job 36:29 ,   Job 37:16 ,   Job 38:37 ). 2. The cloud indicates the presence of God, and at the same time veils the insufferable brightness of His glory (  Exodus 16:10;   Exodus 19:9 etc.). Similarly the bright cloud betokens the Father’s presence, and His voice is heard speaking from it (  Matthew 17:5 ). But a dark cloud would effectually hide Him, and thus furnishes a figure for displeasure (  Lamentations 3:44 ). At   Revelation 10:1 the cloud is an angel’s glorious robe. 3. The pillar of cloud and fire directs and protects the journeyings of the Exodus (  Exodus 13:21 ,   Psalms 105:39 ). This corresponds with the fact that armies and caravans have frequently been directed by signals of fire and smoke. 4. The cloud alternates with the cherub as Jahweh’s chariot (  Psalms 18:10 ,   Isaiah 19:1 ). Indeed, the cherub is a personification of the thunder-cloud. The Messianic people and the Messiah Himself sweep through the heaven with clouds (  Daniel 7:13 ,   Mark 14:62 ,   Revelation 1:7 ), or on the clouds (  Matthew 26:64 ): hence the later Jews identified Anani (= ‘He of the clouds,’   1 Chronicles 3:24 ) with the Messiah. The saints are to be caught up in the clouds (  1 Thessalonians 4:17 ). The Messiah’s throne is a white cloud (  Revelation 14:14 ). 5. In the ‘Cloud Vision’ of Apoc. [Note: Apocalypse, Apocalyptic.] Bar 53 73, the cloud from which the twelve streams of water pour is ‘the wide world which the Almighty created’ a very peculiar piece of imagery.

J. Taylor.

Vine's Expository Dictionary of OT Words [6]

‛Ânân ( עָנָן , Strong'S #6051), “cloud; fog; storm cloud; smoke.” Cognates of this word appear in Aramaic and Arabic. Its 87 appearances are scattered throughout the biblical material.The word commonly means “cloud mass.” ‛Ânân is used especially of the “cloud mass” that evidenced the special presence of God: “And the Lord went before them by day in a pillar of a cloud, to lead them the way …”(Exod. 13:21). In Exod. 34:5, this presence is represented by ‛ânân only: “And the Lord descended in the cloud, and stood with him [Moses] there, and proclaimed the name of the Lord.”

When the ark of the covenant was brought into the holy place, “The cloud filled the house of the Lord, so that the priests could not stand to minister because of the cloud: for the glory of the Lord had filled the house of the Lord” (1 Kings 8:10-11). Thus the “cloud” evidenced the presence of God’s glory. So the psalmist wrote that God was surrounded by “clouds and darkness” (Ps. 97:2); God appears as the controller and sovereign of nature. This description is somewhat parallel to the descriptions of Baal, the lord of the storm and god of nature set forth in Ugaritic mythology. The “cloud” is a sign and figure of “divine protection” (Isa. 4:5) and serves as a barrier hiding the fullness of divine holiness and glory, as well as barring sinful man’s approach to God (Lam. 3:44). Man’s relationship to God, therefore, is God-initiated and God-sustained, not humanly initiated or humanly sustained.

In its first biblical occurrence, ‛ânân is used in conjunction with God’s sign that He would never again destroy the earth by a flood: “I do set my bow in the cloud, and it shall be for a token of a covenant between me and the earth” (Gen. 9:13). Elsewhere, the transitory quality of a cloud is used to symbolize the loyalty (Hos. 6:4) and existence of Israel (13:3). In Isa. 44:22, God says that after proper punishment He will wipe out, “as a thick cloud, thy transgressions, and, as a cloud, thy sins.…”

‛Ânân can mean “storm cloud” and is used to symbolize “an invading force”: “Thou shalt ascend and come like a storm, thou shalt be like a cloud to cover the land, thou, and all thy bands, and many people with thee” (Ezek. 38:9; cf. Jer. 4:13). In Job 26:8, the storm cloud is said to be God’s: “He bindeth up the waters in his thick clouds; and the cloud is not rent under them.” In several passages, the thick storm cloud and the darkness accompanying it are symbols of “gloom” (Ezek. 30:18) and/or “divine judgment” (Ezek. 30:3).

‛Ânân can represent the “smoke” arising from burning incense: “And he shall put the incense upon the fire before the Lord, that the cloud of the incense may cover the mercy seat that is upon the testimony, that he die not …” (Lev. 16:13). This “cloud of smoke” may represent the covering between God’s presence (above the mercy seat) and sinful man. If so, it probably also symbolizes the “divine glory.” On the other hand, many scholars feel it represents the human prayers offered up to God.

Vine's Expository Dictionary of NT Words [7]

1: Νέφος (Strong'S #3509 — Noun Neuter — nephos — nef'-os )

denotes "a cloudy, shapeless mass covering the heavens." Hence, metaphorically, of "a dense multitude, a throng,"  Hebrews 12:1 .

2: Νεφέλη (Strong'S #3507 — Noun Feminine — nephele — nef-el'-ay )

"a definitely shaped cloud, or masses of clouds possessing definite form," is used, besides the physical element, (a) of the "cloud" on the mount of transfiguration,  Matthew 17:5; (b) of the "cloud" which covered Israel in the Red Sea,  1—Corinthians 10:1,2; (c), of "clouds" seen in the Apocalyptic visions,  Revelation 1:7;  10:1;  11:12;  14:14-16; (d) metaphorically in  2—Peter 2:17 , of the evil workers there mentioned; but RV, "and mists" (homichle), according to the most authentic mss. In  1—Thessalonians 4:17 , the "clouds" referred to in connection with the rapture of the saints are probably the natural ones, as also in the case of those in connection with Christ's Second Advent to the earth. See  Matthew 24:30;  26:64 , and parallel passages. So at the Ascension,  Acts 1:9 .

Morrish Bible Dictionary [8]

Clouds fill an important place both in the O.T. and N.T. They were the celestial veil of the presence of God — His chariot, and the hiding place of His power. It pleased God to manifest His presence to Israel in a cloud. The Pillar Of CLOUDguided the children of Israel through the wilderness.  Exodus 40:34-38 . When they constructed the tabernacle Jehovah promised to appear in the cloud upon the mercy seat.  Leviticus 16:2 . On special occasions Jehovah came down in a cloud, and spake unto Moses.  Numbers 11:25 . At the dedication of the temple 'the cloud' filled the house so that the priests could not minister because of the cloud: "for the glory of Jehovah had filled the house of Jehovah."  1 Kings 8:10,11 : cf.  Numbers 14:10 . This visible symbol of God's glory, is often called the SHECHINAH.The word is from the Aramaic shakan 'to rest.' The word does not occur in scripture, but is often used by Jewish and Christian writers as signifying the dwelling or resting place of Jehovah.

In the N.T. on the mount of Transfiguration, a cloud overshadowed those present, and "a voice came out of the cloud, saying, This is my beloved Son: hear him."  Luke 9:34,35 . At the ascension a cloud received the Lord out of their sight.  Acts 1:9 . At rapture the dead and the living saints will be caught up in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air,  1 Thessalonians 4:17 , and when He comes to the earth He will come with clouds.  Luke 21:27;  Revelation 1:7 . In the future, one 'like unto the Son of man' will sit upon 'a white cloud,' and execute judgements upon the earth.  Revelation 14:14-16 . The mighty God who dwells in light unapproachable by man manifested His presence shrouded by clouds.

Easton's Bible Dictionary [9]

 Exodus 16:10 33:9 Numbers 11:25 12:5 Job 22:14 Psalm 18:11 Proverbs 16:15 Isaiah 18:4 25:5 Jude 1:12 Job 30:15 Hosea 6:4 1 Kings 8:10 2 Chronicles 5:14 Ezekiel 43:4 Exodus 19:9 Exodus 40:34,35 1 Kings 8:10 Matthew 17:5 24:30 Acts 1:9,11 2 Peter 2:17 Ecclesiastes 12:2 Isaiah 44:22

Cloud, the pillar of, was the glory-cloud which indicated God's presence leading the ransomed people through the wilderness ( Exodus 13:22;  33:9,10 ). This pillar preceded the people as they marched, resting on the ark ( Exodus 13:21;  40:36 ). By night it became a pillar of fire ( Numbers 9:17-23 ).

Wilson's Dictionary of Bible Types [10]

 Isaiah 44:22 (a) This is a type of the multitude of sins in the sinner's life. They are so many that they resemble a thick cloud in GOD's sight.

 Hosea 6:4 (a) It is descriptive of the evanescent and transient character of the good deeds of these people. Their goodness passes away quickly as a cloud is dispersed by the early sun.

 Joel 2:2 (b) This is typical of the shades and shadows of sorrow which often come quickly into human life and hide the sunshine. More directly, a type of the day when the enemies of Israel would overwhelm her and destroy her land.

 Nahum 1:3 (b) This indicates the presence of GOD when sorrows and difficulties appear in our lives. These are compared to clouds of dust that are raised on a country road when a traveler passes by. The dust indicates the presence of the person. So when we see the difficulties, problems and distresses arise in our lives we may know that our Lord is there, and is in control.

 1 Thessalonians 4:17 (a) As the cloud of dust in the road tells that someone is coming, so it may be literal in that we actually are (and of course shall be). caught up through the clouds when we go to meet our Lord. It may be figurative indicating that there will be a group or a "cloud" caught up from the different communities, cities, and cemeteries, there being so many that they will resemble clouds.

 Hebrews 12:1 (a) This cloud evidently refers to the group of witnesses mentioned in the previous chapter. There were all of these and more - so many that they are compared to a cloud.

King James Dictionary [11]

CLOUD, n. I have not found this word in any other language. The sense is obvious--a collection.

1. A collection f visible vapor, or watery particles, suspended in the atmosphere, at some altitude. A like collection of vapors near the earth is usually called fog.

I do set my bow in the cloud.  Genesis 9 .

Behold, a white cloud.  Revelation 14 .

2. A state of obscurity or darkness. 3. A collection of smoke, or a dense collection of dust, rising or floating in the air as a cloud of dust.

A cloud of incense.  Ezekiel 8 .

4. The dark or varied colors, in veins or spots, on stones or other bodies, are called clouds. 5. A great multitude a vast collection.

Seeing we are encompassed with so great a cloud of witnesses.  Hebrews 12 .

CLOUD, To overspread with a cloud or clouds as, the sky is clouded clouds intercept the rays of the sun. Hence,

2. To obscure to darken as, to cloud the day, or truth, or reason. 3. To darken in veins or spots to variegate with colors as clouded marble. 4. To make of a gloomy aspect to give the appearance of sullenness.

What sullen fury clouds his scornful brow.

5. To sully to tarnish.

CLOUD, To grow cloudy to become obscure with clouds sometimes followed by over as, the sky clouds over.

Webster's Dictionary [12]

(1): (n.) A dark vein or spot on a lighter material, as in marble; hence, a blemish or defect; as, a cloud upon one's reputation; a cloud on a title.

(2): (v. i.) To grow cloudy; to become obscure with clouds; - often used with up.

(3): (n.) That which has a dark, lowering, or threatening aspect; that which temporarily overshadows, obscures, or depresses; as, a cloud of sorrow; a cloud of war; a cloud upon the intellect.

(4): (v. t.) To mark with, or darken in, veins or sports; to variegate with colors; as, to cloud yarn.

(5): (v. t.) To darken or obscure, as if by hiding or enveloping with a cloud; hence, to render gloomy or sullen.

(6): (v. t.) To overspread or hide with a cloud or clouds; as, the sky is clouded.

(7): (n.) A large, loosely-knitted scarf, worn by women about the head.

(8): (n.) A collection of visible vapor, or watery particles, suspended in the upper atmosphere.

(9): (n.) A mass or volume of smoke, or flying dust, resembling vapor.

(10): (v. t.) To blacken; to sully; to stain; to tarnish; to damage; - esp. used of reputation or character.

(11): (n.) A great crowd or multitude; a vast collection.

Holman Bible Dictionary [13]

 Genesis 9:14 Exodus 19:9 Exodus 24:15 Exodus 40:34 1 Kings 8:10 Isaiah 4:5 Matthew 17:5 1 Samuel 12:17-18 1 Kings 18:44 Job 3:5 Lamentations 2:1 Lamentations 3:4 Ezekiel 32:7 Job 7:9 Isaiah 44:22 Job 26:8-9 Proverbs 16:15 Nahum 1:3 1 Samuel 22:10 Isaiah 19:1 Revelation 1:7 Luke 21:27 Acts 1:9 Psalm 36:5 Psalm 57:10 Psalm 68:34

Smith's Bible Dictionary [14]

Cloud. The shelter given, and refreshment of rain promised, by clouds give them their peculiar prominence in Oriental imagery. When a cloud appears, rain is ordinarily apprehended, and thus, the "cloud without rain," becomes a proverb for the man of promise without performance.  Proverbs 16:15;  Isaiah 18:4;  Isaiah 25:5;  Judges 1:12. Compare  Proverbs 25:14.

The cloud is a figure of transitoriness,  Job 30:15;  Hosea 6:4, and of whatever intercepts divine favor, or human supplication.  Lamentations 2:1;  Lamentations 3:44. A bright cloud, at times, visited and rested on the Mercy-Seat,  Exodus 29:42-43;  1 Kings 8:10-11;  2 Chronicles 5:14;  Ezekiel 43:4, and was, by later writers, named Shechinah .

American Tract Society Bible Dictionary [15]

Pillar Of the miraculous token of the divine presence and care,  Exodus 14:24   16:10   Numbers 12:5 , which guided the Israelites in the desert; it was a means of protection and perhaps of shade by day, and gave them light by night,  Exodus 13:21,22   14:19,20 . By it God directed their movements,  Numbers 9:15-23   14:14   Deuteronomy 1:33 . See the beautiful application of the image to the future church in  Isaiah 4:5 .

International Standard Bible Encyclopedia [16]

kloud ( ענן , ‛ānān , עב , ‛ābh  ; νεφέλη , nephélē , νέφος , néphos ):

I. Clouds in Palestine

In the Bible few references are found of particular clouds or of clouds in connection with the phenomena of the weather conditions. The weather in Palestine is more even and has less variety than that in other lands. It is a long, narrow country with sea on the West and desert on the East. The wind coming from the West is always moist and brings clouds with it. If the temperature over the land is low enough the clouds will be condensed and rain will fall, but if the temperature is high, as in the five months of summer, there can be no rain even though clouds are seen. As a whole the winter is cloudy and the summer clear.

1. Rain Clouds

In the autumn rain storms often arise suddenly from the sea, and what seems to be a mere haze, "as small as a man's hand," such as Gehazi saw ( 1 Kings 18:44 ) over the sea, within a few hours becomes the black storm cloud pouring down torrents of rain ( 1 Kings 18:45 ). Fog is almost unknown and there is very seldom an overcast, gloomy day. The west and southwest winds bring rain ( Luke 12:54 ).

2. Disagreeable Clouds

In the months of April, May and September a hot east wind sometimes rises from the desert and brings with it a cloud of dust which fills the air and penetrates everything. In the summer afternoons, especially in the month of August, on the seacoast there is apt to blow up from the South a considerable number of low cirro-stratus clouds which seem to fill the air with dampness, making more oppressive the dead heat of summer. These are doubtless the detested "clouds without water" mentioned in  Judges 1:12 , and "heat by the shade of a cloud" ( Isaiah 25:5 ).

II. Figurative Uses

1. Yahweh's Presence and Glory

The metaphoric and symbolic uses of clouds are many, and furnish some of the most powerful figures of Scripture. In the Old Testament, Yahweh's presence is made manifest and His glory shown forth in a cloud. The cloud is usually spoken of as bright and shining, and it could not be fathomed by man: "Thou hast covered thyself with a cloud, so that no prayer can pass through" ( Lamentations 3:44 ). Yahweh Himself was present in the cloud ( Exodus 19:9;  Exodus 24:16;  Exodus 34:5 ) and His glory filled the places where the cloud was ( Exodus 16:10;  Exodus 40:38;  Numbers 10:34 ); "The cloud filled the house of Yahweh" ( 1 Kings 8:10 ). In the New Testament we often have "the Son of man coming on" or "with clouds" ( Matthew 24:30;  Matthew 26:64;  Mark 13:26;  Mark 14:62;  Luke 21:27 ) and received up by clouds ( Acts 1:9 ). The glory of the second coming is indicated in  Revelation 1:7 for "he cometh with the clouds" and "we that are alive ... shall together with them be caught up in the clouds, to meet the Lord" and dwell with Him (  1 Thessalonians 4:17 ).

2. Pillar of Cloud

The pillar of cloud was a symbol of God's guidance and presence to the children of Israel in their journeys to the promised land. The Lord appeared in a pillar of cloud and forsook them not ( Nehemiah 9:19 ). They followed the guidance of this cloud ( Exodus 40:36;  Psalm 78:14 ).

3. Bow in Cloud

The clouds are spoken of in the Old Testament as the symbol of God's presence and care over His people; and so the "bow in the cloud" ( Genesis 9:13 ) is a sign of God's protection.

4. Clouds Blot Out

As the black cloud covers the sky and blots out the sun from sight, so Yahweh promises "to blot out the sins" of Israel ( Isaiah 44:22 ); Egypt also shall be conquered, "As for her, a cloud shall cover her" ( Ezekiel 30:18; compare  Lamentations 2:1 ).

5. Transitory

There is usually a wide difference in temperature between day and night in Palestine. The days axe warm and clouds coming from the sea are often completely dissolved in the warm atmosphere over the land. As the temperature falls, the moisture again condenses into dew and mist over the hills and valleys. As the sun rises the "morning cloud" ( Hosea 6:4 ) is quickly dispelled and disappears entirely. Job compares the passing of his prosperity to the passing clouds ( Job 30:15 ).

6. God's Omnipotence and Man's Ignorance

God "bindeth up the waters in his thick clouds" ( Job 26:8 ) and the "clouds are the dust of his feet" ( Nahum 1:3 ). Yahweh "commands the clouds that they rain no rain" ( Isaiah 5:6 ), but as for man, "who can number the clouds?" ( Job 38:37 ); "Can any understand the spreadings of the clouds?" ( Job 36:29 ); "Dost thou know the balancings of the clouds, the wondrous works of him who is perfect in knowledge?" ( Job 37:16 ). See Balancings . "He that regardeth the clouds shall not reap" ( Ecclesiastes 11:4 ), for it is God who controls the clouds and man cannot fathom His wisdom. "Thick clouds are a covering to him" ( Job 22:14 ).

7. Visions

Clouds are the central figure in many visions. Ezekiel beheld "a stormy wind ... out of the north, a great cloud" ( Ezekiel 1:4 ), and John saw "a white cloud; and on the cloud one sitting" ( Revelation 14:14 ). See also  Daniel 7:13;  Revelation 10:1;  Revelation 11:12 .

8. The Terrible and Unpleasant

The cloud is also the symbol of the terrible and of destruction. The day of Yahweh's reckoning is called the "day of clouds" ( Ezekiel 30:3 ) and a day of "clouds and thick darkness" ( Zephaniah 1:15 ). The invader is expected to "come up as clouds" ( Jeremiah 4:13 ). Joel ( Joel 2:2 ) foretells the coming of locusts as "a day of clouds and thick darkness" which is both literal and figurative. Misfortune and old age are compared to "the cloudy and dark day" ( Ezekiel 34:12 ) and "the clouds returning after rain" ( Ecclesiastes 12:2 ).

9. Various Other Figures

Clouds are used in connection with various other figures. Rapidity of motion, "these that fly as a cloud" ( Isaiah 60:8 ). As swaddling clothes of the newborn earth ( Job 38:9 ); indicating great height ( Job 20:6 ) and figurative in  Isaiah 14:14 , "I will ascend above the heights of the clouds," portraying the self-esteem of Babylon. "A morning without clouds" is the symbol of righteousness and justice ( 2 Samuel 23:4 ); partial knowledge and hidden glory ( Leviticus 16:2;  Acts 1:9;  Revelation 1:7 ).

Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature [17]

(properly עָנָן , Anan, as Covering the sky, Νεφέλη ). The allusions to clouds in Scripture, as well as their use in symbolical language, must be understood with reference to the nature of the climate, where the sky scarcely exhibits the trace of a cloud from the beginning of May to the end of September, during which period clouds so rarely appear, and rains so seldom fall, as to be considered phenomena-as was the case with the harvest-rain which Samuel invoked ( 1 Samuel 12:17-18), and with the little cloud, not larger than a man's hand, the appearance of which in the west was immediately noticed as something remarkable not only in itself, but as a sure harbinger of rain ( 1 Kings 18:44). As in such climates clouds refreshingly veil the oppressive glories of the sun, clouds often symbolize the Divine presence, as indicating the splendor, insupportable to man, of that glory which they wholly or partially conceal ( Exodus 16:10;  Exodus 33:9;  Numbers 11:25;  Numbers 21:5;  Job 22:14;  Psalms 18:11-12;  Isaiah 19:1).

The shelter given, and refreshment of rain promised by clouds, give them their peculiar prominence in Oriental imagery, and the individual cloud in that ordinarily cloudless region becomes well defined, and is dwelt upon like the individual tree in the bare landscape (Stanley, Syria And Palestine, P. 140). Similarly, when a cloud appears, rain is ordinarily apprehended, and thus the "cloud without rain" becomes a proverb for the man of promise without performance ( Proverbs 16:15;  Isaiah 18:4;  Isaiah 25:5;  Judges 1:12; comp.  Proverbs 25:14). The cloud is, of course, a figure of transitoriness ( Job 30:15;  Hosea 6:4), and of whatever intercepts divine favor or human supplication ( Lamentations 2:1;  Lamentations 3:44). Being the least substantial of visible forms, undefined in shape, and unrestrained in position, it is the one among material things which most easily suggests spiritual being. Hence it is, so to speak, the recognized machinery by which supernatural appearances are introduced ( Isaiah 19:1;  Ezekiel 1:4;  Revelation 1:7, et passim), or the veil between things visible and invisible; but, more especially, a mysterious or supernatural cloud is the symbolical seat of the Divine presence itself-the phenomenon of deity vouchsafed by Jehovah to the prophet, the priest, the king, or the people ( Psalms 68:34;  Psalms 89:6;  Psalms 104:3;  Nahum 1:3). Sometimes thick darkness, sometimes intense luminousness, often, apparently, and especially by night, an actual fire is attributed to this glory-cloud ( Deuteronomy 4:11;  Exodus 40:35;  Exodus 33:22-23;  2 Samuel 22:12-13).

Such a bright cloud, at any rate at times, visited and rested on the Mercy-seat ( Exodus 29:42-43;  1 Kings 8:14;  2 Chronicles 5:14;  Ezekiel 43:4), and was named Shekinah (q.v.) by late writers (see Tholemann, De nube supra area, Lips. 1771-1752; Stiebritz, De area federis, Hal. 1753). Thus Jehovah appeared at Sinai in the midst of a cloud ( Exodus 19:9;  Exodus 34:5); and when Moses had built and consecrated the tabernacle, the cloud filled the court around it, so that Moses could not enter ( Exodus 40:34-35). The same happened at the dedication of the Temple by Solomon ( 2 Chronicles 5:13;  1 Kings 8:10). So Christ, at his second advent, is described as descending upon clouds ( Matthew 17:5;  Matthew 24:30, etc.;  Acts 1:9;  Revelation 1:7;  Revelation 14:14;  Revelation 14:16).

To come in the clouds, or with the clouds of heaven, was among the Jews a known symbol of Divine power and majesty; and Grotius observes that a similar notion obtained among the heathen, who represented their deities covered with a cloud. (See the treatises on the symbolical nimbus or halo by Nicolaio [Jen. 1699], Reiske [Dissert. 2, No. 4].) Hence "clouds and darkness" appear to be put as representing the mysterious nature of the Divine operations in the government of the world ( Psalms 97:2). Clouds are also the symbol of armies and multitudes of people ( Jeremiah 4:13;  Isaiah 60:8;  Hebrews 12:1); a figure referring to the effects of a large and compact body of men, moving upon the surface of an extensive plain, like a cloud in the clear sky. A day of clouds is taken for a season of calamity ( Ezekiel 30:3;  Ezekiel 34:12). Peter compares false teachers to clouds carried about with a tempest ( 2 Peter 2:17). Solomon compares the infirmities of old age, which arise successively one after another, to "clouds returning after rain" ( Ecclesiastes 12:2). The favor of a king is compared to "a cloud of the latter rain," refreshing and fertilizing the earth ( Proverbs 16:15). The sudden disappearance of threatening clouds from the sky is employed by Isaiah as a figure for the blotting out of transgressions (44:22).

Kitto's Popular Cyclopedia of Biblial Literature [18]

The allusions to clouds in Scripture, as well as their use in symbolical language, must be understood with reference to the nature of the climate, where the sky scarcely exhibits the trace of a cloud from the beginning of May to the end of September, during which period clouds so rarely appear, and rains so seldom fall, as to be considered phenomena—as was the case with the harvest rain which Samuel invoked , and with the little cloud, not larger than a man's hand, the appearance of which in the west was immediately noticed as something remarkable not only in itself, but as a sure harbinger of rain .

As in such climates clouds refreshingly veil the oppressive glories of the sun, clouds often symbolize the Divine presence, as indicating the splendor, insupportable to man, of that glory which they wholly or partially conceal (;;;;;;;;;;;; , etc.;;;; ). Somewhat allied to this use is that which makes clouds the symbols of the Divine power (;;;; ).

Clouds are also the symbol of armies and multitudes of people (;; ).

There are many other dispersed symbolical allusions to clouds in Scripture not coming under these descriptions; but their purport is in every case too obvious to need explanation (see particularly;;;;; ).