From BiblePortal Wikipedia

Hawker's Poor Man's Concordance And Dictionary [1]

Every one knows what rain is, and all are sensible of the importance of this blessing on the earth. No doubt it is produced by the exhalation of the sun, forming vapours from the earth and sea, which return in showers, to carry on the merciful purpose of the Lord in his blessings on nature. And the same in the moral and spiritual world, all comes from the same course in the Lord's own sovereignty and goodness; for as the sun the natural world is the first and predisposing cause, so in the moral and spiritual world it is the Sun of righteousness, from his divine operation on the hearts of his people, which brings forth the showers of grace, and induceth all the blessed effects which follow in their lives and conversation. The prophet Hosea beautifully expresseth this truth in one of his chapters. He represents a time of drought by the bottles of heaven being stopped, and the earth languishing for thirst; and under these circumstances he brings in the heavens and the earth as sending forth their cries for the needed mercy, and the goodness of the Lord in answering them. "And it shall come to pass in that day, I will hear, saith the Lord, I will hear the heavens, and they shall hear the earth; and the earth shall hear the corn, and the wine, and the oil; and they shall hear Jezreel. And I will sow her unto me in the earth; and I will have mercy upon her that had not obtained mercy; and I will say to them which were not my people, Thou art my people, and they shall say, Thou art my God." ( Hosea 2:21-23) It is in vain for the men of Jezreel to expect the corn, and oil, and fruits of the earth, if the Lord restrain the clouds of heaven and the rain, that they withhold their fatness. It is in vain for the earth to cry to the heavens to send the rain, if the Lord of heaven gives not his commands to the clouds to answer the wants of nature. But if the Lord puts the cry in the heavens above, and in the hearts of his re deemed below, and he that puts the cry comes forth to answer it in mercy, then all these blessed effects follow each other as the prophet hath described. And as in nature, so in grace, the Lord sends showers of grace upon his inheritance when they are weary, from the blessed cause he here assigns: I will say to them, Thou art my people; and they shall say, Thou art my God?

We hear often mention made in the Scriptures concerning the first rain, and the latter rain, in their season, ( Deuteronomy 11:14) —and, no doubt, there was somewhat particularly suited and seasonable in both. The Hebrews called those rains by different names. The first, or former rain, they called Jorah, which in the autumn, because in their calculation the Jews began their year at that season. The latter rain was in the spring of the year, and this they called Malkush, which is supposed to be the peculiar and special refreshment for the dry earth. Moses, the man of God, prepared the minds of the people for those blessings in Canaan, as to kens of divine favour, by putting the people in mind of their past labour in Egypt. For though the river Nile, which the Egyptians prided themselves so much upon, did indeed overflow the banks of it at certain seasons, yet the higher and remote ground from it could not be benefited thereby; and therefore the inhabitants were obliged occasionally to water their ground, in order to render it fruit ful. Moses prepares Israel, therefore, for the Lord's special blessing over them in this particular when they get into Canaan. "For the land (saith Moses) whither thou goest in to possess it, is not as the land of Egypt from whence ye came out, where thou sowedst thy seed, and wateredst it with thy foot, as a garden of herbs. But the land whither ye go to possess it, is a land of hills and vallies, and drinketh water of the rain of heaven; a land which the Lord thy God careth for: the eyes of the Lord thy God are always upon it, from the beginning of the year even unto the end of the year?" ( Deuteronomy 11:10-12)

I cannot dismiss this view of the former and latter rain without first calling upon the reader to notice a passage in the writings of Hosea, where, if I mistake not, the Holy Ghost, by his servant the prophet, hath blessedly made those springs and autumns of the rain beautifully descriptive of the person and visits of Jesus. "Then shall we know, if we follow on to know the Lord, his going forth is prepared as the morning; and he shall come unto us as the rain, as the latter and former rain unto the earth." ( Hosea 6:3) If the reader will consult the Bible, from whence these words are taken, he will discover, what the whole context proves, that what is here said is spoken of the Lord Jesus Christ. Indeed it could be said of no other. And he will discover also, that that little word if is in italics, to intimate that it is not in the original; and therefore the coming of the Lord as the morning, is not made to depend upon our ifs, but is the sole result or, his own free grace. And surely no thing can be more beautiful and lovely in the promise of Jesus coming to his people, both in the early and latter manifestations of his grace, than in the resemblance here made of it to the genial influences of the early and the latter rain. His goings forth are prepared as the morning of eternity, and in the morning of time, his first manifestations in grace, and in all the after seasons of his love, when visiting his people. Who shall describe the sweet and silent droppings of the rain, the dew from the Lord, and the showers upon the grass, that tarrieth"not for man, nor waiteth for the sons of men!"Who shall calculate their number, their richness, their refreshing influence, coming from him who from the womb of the morning hath the dew of his youth!"Who shall mark down the times and the seasons in the unobserved, unnoticed, unknown visits to all but to the souls of his redeemed, to whom he imparts his blessings in secret, when carrying on the sacred purposes of his kingdom which cometh not by observation." Surely every redeemed soul that knoweth what these things mean must be constrained to say with David: "He is as the light of the morning when the sun ariseth, even a morning without clouds; as the tender grass springing out of the earth, by clear shining after other beauties in the Scriptures concerning divine things, which are described under the similitude of rain;" but I must not enlarge, and therefore can only make reference to the Scriptures themselves. (See  Deuteronomy 32:2;  Job 20:22-23;  Psalms 65:10; Psa 68:9; Psa 72:6; Psa 147:8;  Isaiah 30:23; Isa 55:10;  Hosea 10:2;  Acts 14:17)

I cannot however refrain from making one observation more upon the subject of rain, though differing in quality from the ordinary rain to which in this country we are accustomed. In that solemn chapter in the book of Deuteronomy where Moses, the man of God, is denouncing threatenings to Israel's disobedience, we find this remarkable expression: "The Lord shall make the rain of thy land powder and dust; from heaven shall it come down upon thee until thou be destroyed." ( Deuteronomy 28:24) The thing would not be so striking if it referred to the hurricanes which sometimes take place on the deserts of the East, where whole caravans have been known to be covered over and destroyed. But the particularity in this account of Moses is, that the storm of powder and dust "shall come down from heaven upon thee." I confess the expression by a figure may be said to be from heaven, even when the whirlwind is made by the winds on the sand of the earth, because it is the Lord's judgment: yet, I humbly conceive, somewhat more is meant by this rain of powder and dust than the raising it from the earth. But in either sense, or in both, the circumstance is alarming. We see that the Lord can convert our very blessings into curses; and make those showers of rain, which are essential and necessary to the very existence as well as the comfort of man, become showers of powder and dust to destroy.

And here, reader, I beg again to point to the Lord. Jesus Christ, who is as blessed to us against this calamity as he is blessed to us in the showers of rain, when he cometh to us as the "latter rain and as the former rain upon the earth."The prophet was commissioned by the Holy Ghost to point him out under the beautiful similitude of a shelter to his people, when he said: "And a man (or the man Christ Jesus) shall be as an hiding place from the storm, and a covert from the tempest; as rivers of water in a dry place, and as the shadow of a great rock in a weary land." ( Isaiah 32:1-20) Jesus is all this and infinitely more when the storm of sin raiseth up the powder and dust of our corrupt nature, and threatens to swallow us up in everlasting destruction. And while he protects from wrath, he com forts with his refreshments of grace; and is not only a covert from the wind, but like rivers of water to the soul, which satisfy the thirsty desires, as travellers in a desert when they find a sweet spring in the way. See Dew

Webster's Dictionary [2]

(1): ( n.) The direction, arrangement, or appearance of the fibers in wood, or of the strata in stone, slate, etc.

(2): ( n.) The fiber which forms the substance of wood or of any fibrous material.

(3): ( n.) The hair side of a piece of leather, or the marking on that side.

(4): ( n.) The unit of the English system of weights; - so called because considered equal to the average of grains taken from the middle of the ears of wheat. 7,000 grains constitute the pound avoirdupois, and 5,760 grains the pound troy. A grain is equal to .0648 gram. See Gram.

(5): ( n.) The composite particles of any substance; that arrangement of the particles of any body which determines its comparative roughness or hardness; texture; as, marble, sugar, sandstone, etc., of fine grain.

(6): ( n.) A rounded prominence on the back of a sepal, as in the common dock. See Grained, a., 4.

(7): ( a.) Temper; natural disposition; inclination.

(8): ( a.) A sort of spice, the grain of paradise.

(9): ( n.) Any small, hard particle, as of sand, sugar, salt, etc.; hence, any minute portion or particle; as, a grain of gunpowder, of pollen, of starch, of sense, of wit, etc.

(10): ( n.) The fruit of certain grasses which furnish the chief food of man, as corn, wheat, rye, oats, etc., or the plants themselves; - used collectively.

(11): ( v. t.) To paint in imitation of the grain of wood, marble, etc.

(12): ( n.) A reddish dye made from the coccus insect, or kermes; hence, a red color of any tint or hue, as crimson, scarlet, etc.; sometimes used by the poets as equivalent to Tyrian purple.

(13): ( v. t.) To take the hair off (skins); to soften and raise the grain of (leather, etc.).

(14): ( n.) To yield fruit.

(15): ( n.) To form grains, or to assume a granular ferm, as the result of crystallization; to granulate.

(16): ( n.) A branch of a tree; a stalk or stem of a plant.

(17): ( n.) A tine, prong, or fork.

(18): ( n.) One the branches of a valley or of a river.

(19): ( n.) An iron first speak or harpoon, having four or more barbed points.

(20): ( n.) A blade of a sword, knife, etc.

(21): ( n.) A thin piece of metal, used in a mold to steady a core.

(22): ( n.) A single small hard seed; a kernel, especially of those plants, like wheat, whose seeds are used for food.

(23): ( v. & n.) See Groan.

(24): ( v. t.) To form (powder, sugar, etc.) into grains.

(25): ( n.) The remains of grain, etc., after brewing or distillation; hence, any residuum. Also called draff.

Fausset's Bible Dictionary [3]

(See Palestine ; Climate.) Μatar . Geshem , "violent rain" or generically "the early and latter rain" ( Jeremiah 5:24;  Joel 2:23). Υoreh , "the early rain of autumn"; Malkosh , "the latter rain of spring" ( Proverbs 16:15;  Job 29:23;  Jeremiah 3:3;  Hosea 6:3;  Zechariah 10:1). Rebibim , from Rab "many," from the multitude of drops; "showers" ( Deuteronomy 32:2). Ζerem , "violent rain," "hailstorm" ( Job 24:8). Sagrir only in  Proverbs 27:15. As compared with Egypt, Palestine was a land of rain ( Deuteronomy 11:10-11), but for six months no rain falls so that "rain in harvest" and "thunder" were marvelous phenomena, and out of time and place ( Proverbs 26:1;  1 Samuel 12:16-18). The early rain begins gradually, the latter end of October or beginning of November. Generally from the W. or S.W. ( Luke 12:54); the wind then changes to the N. or E. At no period in the winter, from the end of October to the end of March, does rain entirely cease. In January and February snow falls, but lies only a short time.

"The early rain" means the first autumnal showers which prepare the arid soil for the seed; "the latter rain" the later spring showers, especially in March, which Bring forward the crop toward harvest ( James 5:7;  Proverbs 16:15). Showers fall occasionally in April and May. God claims as His peculiar prerogative the sending or withholding of rain, which He made dependent on the obedience or disobedience of Israel ( Leviticus 26:3-5;  Leviticus 26:19;  Deuteronomy 11:13-15;  Deuteronomy 28:23-24;  Jeremiah 3:3;  Jeremiah 5:24;  Jeremiah 14:22). "The latter rain in the first (month)" in  Joel 2:23 means in the month when first it is needed; or else, as Vulgate and Septuagint, "as at the first" (compare  Isaiah 1:26;  Hosea 2:15;  Malachi 3:4); or in Νisan or Αbib , the Passover month, the first, namely, the end of March and beginning of April. The departure of winter was marked by the cessation of rain ( Song of Solomon 2:11-13). Rain is the beautiful image of the Spirit's refreshing influences in Messiah's kingdom ( Hosea 6:3;  2 Samuel 23:4;  Psalms 72:6).

Wilson's Dictionary of Bible Types [4]

 Deuteronomy 32:2 (a) This is a type of the precious blessings of GOD that will be sent from Heaven to revive and restore and refresh His people.

 2 Samuel 23:4 (c) In this statement we see a real comparison between the reign of Saul, which was full of sorrow and bitterness, and the reign of David which was to bring such refreshing blessing from Heaven to the people.

 Psalm 72:6 (a) We see here a picture of the delightful effects of the grace of GOD, the kindness of our Lord, and the beneficent influence of His presence upon the drooping heart and the weary soul.

 Proverbs 25:14 (a) The Lord is telling us here of those whose tongue is larger than the hand. They talk big, but do little. They promise much, but produce nothing.

 Proverbs 28:3 (a) One would think that the poor man would bring a blessing to the poor, seeing they are in the same condition. One would think that the rain would bring fruitfulness and blessing to the ground as it fell upon it. The opposite is true in this picture. The rain destroys the vegetation by its force and power, which is unnatural, and it is quite unnatural for a poor man to oppress others who are poor.

 Ecclesiastes 12:2 (a) Here is a wonderful picture of old age. Nothing seems to be right to the one who has become aged. After a rain, the clouds should disappear, and the sun should shine again. With the aged, however, there is no longer a consciousness of joy following sorrow, nor smiles following tears, nor the sun following rain.

 Isaiah 4:6 (b) This is descriptive of the storms of trouble, and the deluge of sorrow which would overwhelm the soul were it not for the refuge offered by our Lord in Himself. (See also  Matthew 7:25).

 Isaiah 55:10 (a) The Word of GOD is compared in this passage to the rain which falls upon the dry ground, and does its work immediately; also to the snow which falls and may lie upon the ground many days to finally soak in and produce a blessing. When we read the Word of GOD, or hear it preached, some blessing always comes immediately. Other things that we hear or read lie dormant in our souls and minds, sometimes for years; then when the conditions are ripe, that particular message becomes a live message.

 Hosea 6:3 (a) The passage no doubt refers to the restoration of Israel in their own land as a nation. It also may be applied to our own lives. The blessing of our Lord is given in the spring to cause the seed to grow, and the fields to flourish. This is true in the early part of our lives when the mind is active, the vision is clear, and there is strength for action. Then at the end of the harvest, as at the end of our lives, the blessing of the Lord is given to soften the ground, and prepare the fields for another season of planting and harvesting. The Lord gives dying grace to those who are dying.

 James 5:7 (a) This figure is used to describe the joy that comes to the heart in all our service as we look for and expect and receive the blessings of Heaven from the hand of GOD, both for the inception of our labors, and the progress of them, and the successful conclusion of them.

Vine's Expository Dictionary of NT Words [5]

A — 1: Ὑετός (Strong'S #5205 — Noun Masculine — huetos — hoo-et-os' )

from huo, "to rain," is used especially, but not entirely, of "showers," and is found in  Acts 14:17;  28:2;  Hebrews 6:7;  James 5:7 (see Early and LATTER); 5:18;   Revelation 11:6 (see B).

A — 2: Βροχή (Strong'S #1028 — Noun Feminine — broche — brokh-ay' )

akin to B, below, lit., "a wetting," hence, "rain," is used in  Matthew 7:25,27 . In the Sept.,  Psalm 68:9;  105:32 . It is found in the papyri in connection with irrigation in Egypt (Deissmann, Light from the Ancient East).

B — 1: Βρέχω (Strong'S #1026 — Verb — brecho — brekh'-o )

akin to A, No. 2, signifies (a) "to wet,"  Luke 7:38,44 , RV (AV, to wash); (b) "to send rain,"  Matthew 5:45; to rain,  Luke 17:29 (of fire and brimstone);   James 5:17 , used impersonally (twice);  Revelation 11:6 , where huetos (A, No. 1) is used as the subject, lit., "(that) rain rain (not)."

Easton's Bible Dictionary [6]

  • Geshem, the winter rain, "the rains." The heavy winter rain is mentioned in  Genesis 7:12;  Ezra 10:9;  Song of Solomon 2:11 . The "early" or "former" rains commence in autumn in the latter part of October or beginning of November ( Deuteronomy 11:14;  Joel 2:23; Compare  Jeremiah 3:3 ), and continue to fall heavily for two months. Then the heavy "winter rains" fall from the middle of December to March. There is no prolonged fair weather in Palestine between October and March. The "latter" or spring rains fall in March and April, and serve to swell the grain then coming to maturity ( Deuteronomy 11:14;  Hosea 6:3 ). After this there is ordinarily no rain, the sky being bright and cloudless till October or November.

    Rain is referred to symbolically in  Deuteronomy 32:2;  Psalm 72:6;  Isaiah 44:3,4;  Hosea 10:12 .

    Copyright Statement These dictionary topics are from M.G. Easton M.A., DD Illustrated Bible Dictionary, Third Edition, published by Thomas Nelson, 1897. Public Domain.

    Bibliography Information Easton, Matthew George. Entry for 'Rain'. Easton's Bible Dictionary. https://www.studylight.org/dictionaries/eng/ebd/r/rain.html. 1897.

  • Smith's Bible Dictionary [7]

    Rain. In the Bible, "early rain," signifies the rain of the autumn,  Deuteronomy 11:14, and "latter rain," signifies the rain of spring.  Proverbs 16:1;  Proverbs 16:5. For six months in the year, from May to October, no rain falls, the whole land becomes dry, parched and brown. The autumnal rains are eagerly looked for, to prepare the earth for the reception of the seed. These, the early rains, commence about the latter end of October and continuing through November and December. January and February are the coldest months, and snow falls, sometimes to the depth of a foot or more, at Jerusalem, but it does not lie long; it is very seldom seen along the coast, and in the low plains. Rain continues to fall, more or less, during the month of March, but it is very rare in April.

    Robinson observes that there are not, at the present day, "any particular periods of rain, or succession of showers, which might be regarded as distinct rainy seasons. The whole period from October to March, now constitutes only one continued season of rain, without any regularly intervening term of prolonged fine weather. Unless, therefore, there has been some change in the climate, the early and the latter rains, for which the husbandman waited with longing, seem rather to have implied the first showers of autumn - which revived the parched and thirsty soil and prepared it for the seed - and the later showers of spring, which continued to refresh and forward both the ripening crops, and the vernal products of the fields."  James 5:7;  Proverbs 16:15.

    People's Dictionary of the Bible [8]

    Rain. "Early rain" signifies the rain of the autumn,  Deuteronomy 11:14, and "latter rain" the rain of spring.  Proverbs 16:15. For six months in the year, from May to October, no rain falls, the whole land becomes dry, parched, and brown. The early rains commence about the latter part of October, continuing through November and December. Rain continues to fall more or less during the month of March; it is very rare in April. Robinson observes that there are not, at the present day, "any particular periods of rain or succession of showers which might be regarded as distinct rainy seasons. The whole period from October to March now constitutes only one continued season of rain, without any regularly intervening term of prolonged fine weather, unless, therefore, there has been some change in the climate the early and the latter rains, for which the husbandman waited with longing, seem rather to have implied the first showers of autumn—which revived the parched and thirsty soil and prepared it for the seed—and the later showers of spring, which continued to refresh and forward both the ripening crops and the vernal products of the fields.  James 5:7;  Proverbs 16:15. The rainbow was appointed as a sign that God would not again destroy the earth by a flood.  Genesis 9:12-17.

    American Tract Society Bible Dictionary [9]

    In Scripture the "early" and the "latter" rain of Palestine is spoken of,  Deuteronomy 11:14   Hosea 6:3 . The former falls in the latter part of October, the seed-time of Palestine; and the weather then continues variable, with more or less rain the whole winter, until after the latter or spring rain in April. Afterwards, the weather becomes serene, and the crops ripen. The wheat harvest takes place in May; by the middle of August, the fruits are gathered in; and from that time to the coming of the first or October rains, prevail the scorching heats and droughts of summer. Nothing can more expressively represent spiritual blessings than copious showers of rain after this trying season is past,  Deuteronomy 32:2   Job 29:23   Isaiah 44:3   Hosea 10:12 .

    It appears from meteorological records kept at Jerusalem, that the average annual fall of rain is fifty-five inches. It would seem therefore, that if the rains of Palestine could be preserved in pools and reservoirs, and employed in irrigating the ground during the summer, the old fertility might be restored; it would be clothed again with verdure, and become like "the garden of the Lord."

    King James Dictionary [10]

    RAIN, It seems that rain is contracted from regen. It is the Gr. to rain, to water, which we retain in brook, and the Latins, by dropping the prefix, in rigo, irrigo, to irrigate. The primary sense is to pour out, to drive forth. Heb.

    1. To fall in drops from the clouds, as water used mostly with it for a nominative as, it rains it will rain it rained, or it has rained. 2. To fall or drop like rain as, tears rained at their eyes.

    RAIN, To pour or shower down from the upper regions, like rain from the clouds.

    Then said the Lord to Moses, behold I will rain bread from heaven for you.  Exodus 14 .

    God shall cast the fury of his wrath upon him, and shall rain it upon him while he is eating.  Job 20 .

    Upon the wicked he shall rain snares, fire and brimstone, and horrible tempest.  Psalms 11 .

    RAIN, n. The descent of water in drops from the clouds or the water thus falling. Rain is distinguished from mist, by the size of the drops, which are distinctly visible. When water falls in very small drops or particles, we call it mist, and fog is composed of particles so fine as to be not only indistinguishable, but to float or be suspended in the air.

    Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible [11]

    RAIN . The Palestine year is divided roughly into two parts the rainy and the dry. The first rains after the summer begin to fall in November, though showers in October are not unknown; and the weather continues intermittently wet until the following March, or sometimes till April. As a rule the first rainfalls, which are accompanied by heavy thunderstorms, are followed by comparatively fine weather, broken by occasional wet days, after which, towards the end of the rainy season, there are again heavy successions of rain-storms. The agricultural value of this division is obvious, and it is recognized by the expressions ‘ former ’ and ‘latter’ rains which we meet with in the Biblical writings. The first rains soften the iron-bound soil, baked hard, so to speak, by the summer heat, and so make it fit for ploughing; the comparatively fine intervals give the husbandman time to sow; and the second showers water the seed. The average annual rainfall in Jerusalem is about 28 inches, though this is subject to much variation. In the winter of 1904 1905 nearly 40 inches fell. Such very wet winters are nearly always followed by an epidemic of malaria in the succeeding summer.

    R. A. S. Macalister.

    Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary [12]

    the vapours exhaled by the sun, which descend from the clouds to water the earth,  Ecclesiastes 11:3 . The sacred writers often speak of the rain of the former and latter season,  Deuteronomy 11:14;  Hosea 6:3 . Twice in the year there generally fell plenty of rain in Judea; in the beginning of the civil year, about September or October; and half a year after, in the month of Abib, or March, which was the first month in the ecclesiastical or sacred year, whence it is called the latter rain in the first month,  Joel 2:23 . ( See Canaan . ) The ancient Hebrews compared elocution, and even learning or doctrine, to rain: "My doctrine shall drop as the rain,"  Deuteronomy 32:2 .

    Morrish Bible Dictionary [13]

    Palestine differed from Egypt in that its vegetation was dependent on the rain from heaven, instead of having to be watered from the river. Rain fell regularly except when God withheld it in chastisement.  Deuteronomy 11:11-17 . We read of the 'early rain' and the 'latter rain.' The early rain was connected with the sowing of seed; the month Bul signifies 'rain,' which agrees with about our October; and the latter rain in spring (about our February). By recent statistics the seasons appear to have somewhat altered, and most rain now falls from November to March inclusive. It is also judged that the cutting down of trees to make charcoal has affected the fall of rain in some districts.

    Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament [14]

    RAIN. —See Agriculture in vol. i. p. 40a.

    RAM. —A link in our Lord’s genealogy,  Matthew 1:3 f. (Authorized Version Aram. Aramaic ).

    Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature [15]

    Heb. מָטָר , Matar , and also גֶּשֶׁם , Geshem , which, however, rather signifies a Shower of more violent rain; it is also used as a generic term, including the early and Litter rain ( Jeremiah 5:24;  Joel 2:23). Another word, of a more poetical character, is רְבַיבַים , Rebibmn (a plural form, connected with rab, "many," from the multitude of the drops), translated in our version "showers" ( Deuteronomy 32:2;  Jeremiah 3:3;  Jeremiah 14:22;  Micah 5:7 [Hebrews 6];  Psalms 45:10 [Hebrews 11]; 72:6). The Hebrews have also the word a זַרם , Zelem , expressing violent rain, storm, tempest, accompanied with hail in  Job 24:8, the heavv rain which comes down on mountains; and the word סִגְרַיר , Sagrisr , which occurs only in  Proverbs 27:15, continuous and heavy rain (Sept. Ἐν Ἡμέρᾷ Χειμερινῇ Early Rain means the rains of the autumn, יוֹרֶה , Yoreh , part. subst. from יָרָה "he scattered" ( Deuteronomy 11:14;  Jeremiah 5:24); also the Hiphil part. מוֹרֶה , Mor/H ( Joel 2:23); Sept. Ὑετὸς Πρώιμος . Latter Rain is the rain of spring, מִלְקוֹש , Malkdcsh , ( Proverbs 16:15;  Job 29:23;  Jeremiah 3:3;  Hosea 6:3;  Joel 2:23;  Zechariah 10:1); Sept. Ὑετὸς Ὄψιμος . The early and latter rains are mentioned together ( Deuteronomy 11:14;  Jeremiah 5:24;  Joel 2:23;  Hosea 6:3;  James 5:7).

    In a country comprising so many varieties of elevation as Palestine, there must of necessity occur corresponding varieties of climate. An account that might correctly describe the peculiarities of the district of Lebanon would be in many respects inaccurate when applied to the deep depression and almost tropical climate of Jericho. In any general statement, therefore, allowance must be made for not inconsiderable local variations. Contrasted with the districts most familiar to the children of Israel before their settlement in the land of promise Egypt and the Desert rain might be spoken of as one of its distinguishing characteristics ( Deuteronomy 11:10-11; Herodotus, 3:10). For six months in the year no rain falls, and the harvests are gathered in without any of the anxiety with which we are so familiar lest the work be interrupted by unseasonable storms. In this respect, at least, the climate has remained unchanged since the time when Boaz slept by his heap of corn; and the sending of thunder and rain in wheat harvest was a miracle which filled the people with fear and wonder ( 1 Samuel 12:16-18); so that Solomon could speak of "rain in harvest" as the most forcible expression for conveying the idea of something utterly out of place and unnatural ( Proverbs 26:1). There are, however, very considerable. and perhaps more than compensating. disadvantages occasioned by this long absence of rain: the whole land becomes dry, parched, and brown; the cisterns are empty; the springs and fountains fail; and the autumnal rains are eagerly looked for, to prepare the earth for the reception of the seed. These, the early rains, commence about the end of October or beginninlg of November, in Lebanon a month earliernot suddenly, but by degrees: the husbandman has thus the opportunity of sowing his fields of wheat and barley. The rains come mostly from the west or south-west ( Luke 12:54), continuing for two or three days at a time, and falling chiefly during the night. The wind then shifts round to the north or east, and several days of fine weather succeed ( Proverbs 25:23). During the months of November and December the rains continue to fall heavily, but at intervals; afterwards they return, only at longer intervals, and are less heavy; but at no period dutring the winter do they entirely cease. January and February are the coldest months, and snow falls, sometimes to the depth of a foot or more, at Jerusalem, but it does not lie long: it is very seldom seen along the coast and in the low plains. Thin ice occa. sionally covers the pools for a few days, and while Porter was writing his Handbook, the snow was eight inches deep at Damascus, and the ice a quarter of an inch thick, Rain continues to fall more or less during the month of March; it is very rare in April, and even in Lebanon the showers that occur are generally light. In the valley of the Jordan the barley harvest begins as early as the middle of April, and the wheat a fortnight later; in Lebanon the grain is seldom ripe before the middle of June. See Robinson (Biblical Researches, i, 429) and Porter (Handlbook, ch. 48). (See Palestine).

    With respect to the distinction between the early and the latter rains, Robinson observes that there, are not at the present day "any particular periods of rain or succession of showers which might be regarded as distinct rainy seasons. The whole period from October to March now constitutes only one continued season of rain, without any regularly intervening term of prolonged fine weather. Unless, therefore, there hlave been some change in the climate, the early and the latter rains for which the husbandman waited with longing seem rather to have implied the first showers of autumn which revived the parched and thirsty soil and prepared it for the seed; and the later showers of spring, which continued to refresh and forward both the ripening crops and the vernal products of the fields ( James 5:7;  Proverbs 16:15). In April and May the sky is usually serene; showers occur occasionally, but they are mild and refreshing. On May 1 Robinson experienced showers at Jerusalem, and "at evening there were thunder and lightning (which are frequent in wminter), with pleasant and reviving rain. May 6 was also remarkable for thunder and for several showers, some of which were quite heavy. The rains of both these days extended far to the north,... but the occurrence of rain so late in the season was regarded as a very unusual circumstance" (Biblical Researches, i, 430; he is speaking of the year 1838]). In 1856, however, there was very heavy rain accompanied with thunder all over the region of Lebanon, extending to Beirut and Damascus, on May 28 and 29; but the oldest inhabitant had never seen the like before, and it created," says Porter (Handbook, ch. xlviii), "almost as much astonishment as the thunder and rain which Samuel brought upon the Israelites during the time of wheat harvest."

    During Dr. Robinson's stay at Beiriut on his second visit to Palestine, in 1852, there were heavy rains in March, once for five days continuously, and the weather continued variable, with occasional heavy rain, till the close of the first week in April. The "latter rains" thus continued this season for nearly a month later than usual, and the result was afterwards seen in the very abundant crops of winter grain (Robinson, Biblical Researches, iii, 9). These details will, it is thought, better than any generalized statement, enable the reader to form his jmudgment on the "former" and "latter" rains of Scripture, and may serve to introduce a remark or two on the question, about which some interest has been felt, whether there have been any change in the frequency and abundance of the rain in Palestine, or in the periods of its supply. It is asked whether "these stony hills, these deserted valleys," can be the land flowing with milk and honey; the land which God cared for; the land upon which were always the eyes of the Lord, from the beginning of the year to the end of the year ( Deuteronomy 11:12). So far as relates to the other considerations which may account for diminished fertility, such as the decrease of population and industry, the neglect of terrace-culture and irrigation, and husbanding the supply of water, it may suffice to refer to the article on AGRICULTURE (See Agriculture), and to Stanley ( Sinai And Palestine , p. 120-123). With respect to our more immediate subject, it is urged that the very expression "flowing with milk and honey" implies abundant rains to keep alive the grass for the pasture of the numerous herds supplying the milk, and to nourish the flowers clothing the now bare hill-sides, from whence the bees might gather their stores of honey. It is urged that the supply of rain in its due season seems to be promised as contingent upon the fidelity of the people ( Deuteronomy 11:13-15;  Leviticus 26:3-5), and that as from time to time, to punish the people for their transgressions, "the showers have been withholden, and there hath been no latter rain" ( Jeremiah 3:3; 1 Kings 17, 18), so now, in the great and long-continued apostasy of the children of Israel, there has come upon even the land of their forfeited inheritance a like long-continued withdrawal of the favor of God, who claims the sending of rain as one of his special prerogatives ( Jeremiah 14:22). (See Jewish Calendar).

    The early rains, it is urged, are by comparison scanty and interrupted, the latter rains have altogether ceased, and hence, it is maintained, the curse has been fulfilled, "Thy heaven that is over thy head shall be brass, and the earth that is under thee shall be iron. The Lord shall make the rain of thy land powder and dust" ( Deuteronomy 28:23-24;  Leviticus 26:19). Without entering here into the consideration of the justness of the interpretation which would assume these predictions of the withholding of rain to be altogether different in the manner of their infliction from the other calamities denounced in these chapters of threatening, it would appear that, so far as the question of fact is concerned. there is scarcely sufficient reason to imagine that any great and marked changes with respect to the rains have taken place in Palestine. In early days, as now, rain was unkinowni fior half the year; and if we may judge from the allusions in  Proverbs 16:15;  Job 29:23, the latter rain was even then. while greatly desired and longed for, that which was somewhat precarious, by no means to be absolutely counted on as a matter of course. If we are to take as correct our translation of  Joel 2:23, "The latter rain in the first (month)," i.e. Nisan or Abib, answering to the latter part of March and the early part of April, the times of the latter rain in the days of the prophets would coincide with those in which it falls now. The same conclusion would be arrived at from  Amos 4:7, "I have withholden the rain from you when there were yet three months to the harvest." The rain here spoken of is the latter rain, and an interval of three months between the ending of the rain and the beginning of harvest would seem to be in an average year as exceptional now as it was when Amos noted it as a judgment of God. We may infer also from the  Song of Solomon 2:11-13, where is given a poetical description of the bursting-forth of vegetation in the spring, that when the "winter" was past, the rain also was over and gone. We can hardly, by any extension of the term "winter," bring it down to a later period than that during which the rains still fall.

    It may be added that travellers have, perhaps unconsciously, exaggerated the barrenness of the land, from confining themselves too closely to the southern portion of Palestine; the northern portion, Galilee, of such peculiar interest to the readers of the Gospels, is fertile and beautiful (see Stanley, Sinai and Palestine, ch. 10, and Van de Velde, there quoted), and in his description of the valley of Nablus, the ancient Shechem, Robinson (Biblical Researches, ii, 275) becomes almost enthusiastic: "Here a scene of luxuriant and almost unparalleled verdure bursts upon our view. The whole valley was filled with gardens of vegetables and orchards of all kinds of fruits, watered by several fountains, which burst forth in various parts and flow westward in refreshing streams. It came upon us suddenly, like a scene of fairy enchantment. We saw nothing like it in all Palestine." The account given by a recent lady traveller (Egyptian Sepulchres and Syrian Shrines, by Miss Beautort) of the luxuriant fruit-trees and vegetables which she saw at Meshullan's farm in the valley of Urtas, a little south of Bethlehem (possibly the site of Solomon's gardens,  Ecclesiastes 2:4-6), may serve to prove how much now, as ever, may be effected by irrigation (q.v.). Rain frequently furnishes the writers of the Old Test with forcible and appropriate metaphors, varying in theil character according as they regard it as the beneficent and fertilizing shower, or the destructive storm pouring down the mountain-side and sweeping away the labor of years. Thus  Proverbs 28:3, of the poor man that oppresseth the poor;  Ezekiel 38:22, of the just punishments and righteous vengeance of God (comp.  Psalms 11:6;  Job 20:23). On the other hand, we have it used of speech wise and fitting, refreshing the souls of mnen; of words earnestly waited for and heedfully listened to ( Deuteronomy 32:2;  Job 29:23); of the cheering favor of the Lord coming down once more upon the penitent soul; of the gracious presence and influence for good of the righteous king among his people; of the blessings, gifts, and graces of the reign of the Messiah ( Hosea 6:3;  2 Samuel 23:4;  Psalms 72:6).

    International Standard Bible Encyclopedia [16]

    rān ( מטר , māṭār , Arabic maṭar , "rain" גּשׂם , geshem , "heavy rain" מורה , mōreh , "early rain," יורה , yōreh , "former rain," מלקושׁ , malḳōsh , "latter rain"; βρέχω , bréchō , ὑετός , huetós ):

    1. Water-Supply in Egypt and Palestine:

    In Egypt there is little or no rainfall, the water for vegetation being supplied in great abundance by the river Nile; but in Syria and Palestine there are no large rivers, and the people have to depend entirely on the fall of rain for water for themselves, their animals and their fields. The children of Israel when in Egypt were promised by Yahweh a land which "drinketh water of the rain of heaven" ( Deuteronomy 11:11 ). Springs and fountains are found in most of the valleys, but the flow of the springs depends directly on the fall of rain or snow in the mountains.

    2. Importance of Rain in Season:

    The cultivation of the land in Palestine is practically dry farming in most of the districts, but even then some water is necessary, so that there may be moisture in the soil. In the summer months there is no rain, so that the rains of the spring and fall seasons are absolutely essential for starting and maturing the crops. The lack of this rain in the proper time has often been the cause of complete failure of the harvest. A small difference in the amount of these seasonal rains makes a large difference in the possibility of growing various crops without irrigation. Ellsworth Huntington has insisted on this point with great care in his very important work, Palestine and Its Transformation . The promise of prosperity is given in the assurance of "rain in due season" (  Leviticus 26:4 the King James Version). The withholding of rain according to the prophecy of Elijah (  1 Kings 17:1 ) caused the mountain streams to dry up ( 1 Kings 17:7 ), and certain famine ensued. A glimpse of the terrible suffering for lack of water at that time is given us. The people were uncertain of another meal ( 1 Kings 17:12 ), and the animals were perishing ( 1 Kings 18:5 ).

    3. Amount of Rainfall:

    Palestine and Syria are on the borderland between the sea and the desert, and besides are so mountainous, that they not only have a great range of rainfall in different years, but a great variation in different parts of the country.

    The amount of rain on the western slopes is comparable with that in England and America, varying from 25 to 40 inches per annum, but it falls mostly in the four winter months, when the downpour is often very heavy, giving oftentimes from 12 to 16 inches in a month. On the eastern slopes it is much less, varying from 8 to 20 inches per annum. The highest amount falls in the mountains of Lebanon where it averages about 50 inches. In Beirut the yearly average  Isaiah 35,87 inches. As we go South from Syria, the amount decreases (Haifa 27,75, Jaffa 22,39, Gaze 17,61), while in the Sinaitic Peninsula there is little or none. Going from West to East the change is much more sudden, owing to the mountains which stop the clouds. In Damascus the average is less than 10 inches. In Jerusalem the average for 50 years   Isaiah 26,16 in., and the range is from 13,19 in 1870 to 41,62 in 1897. The yearly records as given by J. Glaisher and A. Datzi in Palestine Exploration Fund Quarterly from 1861 to 1910,50 years, are given in the accompanying table.

    Border >
    Rainfall In Jerusalem In Inches
    Year Amount Year Amount Year Amount
    1861 27.30 1878 32.21 1895 23.15
    1862 21.86 1879 18.04 1896 32.90
    1863 26.54 1880 32.11 1897 41.62
    1864 15.51 1881 16.50 1898 28.66
    1865 18.19 1882 26.72 1899 22.43
    1866 18.55 1883 31.92 1900 21.20
    1867 29.42 1884 23.16 1901 17.42
    1868 29.10 1885 29.47 1902 25.51
    1869 18.61 1886 31.69 1903 18.04
    1870 13.19 1887 29.81 1904 34.48
    1871 23.17 1888 37.79 1905 34.22
    1872 22.26 1889 13.16 1906 28.14
    1873 22.72 1890 35.51 1907 27.22
    1874 29.75 1891 34.72 1908 31.87
    1875 27.01 1892 31.23 1909 21.13
    1876 14.41 1893 30.54 1910 24.64
    1877 26.00 1894 35.38

    The amount of rainfall in ancient times was probably about the same as in present times, though it may have been distributed somewhat differently through the year, as suggested by Huntington. Conder maintains that the present amount would have been sufficient to support the ancient cities ( Tent-Work in Palestine ). Trees are without doubt fewer now, but meteorologists agree that trees do not produce rain.

    4. Dry and Rainy Seasons;

    The rainfall is largely on the western slopes of the mountains facing the sea, while on the eastern slopes there is very little. The moisture-laden air comes up from the sea with the west and southwest wind. When these currents strike the hills they are thrown higher up into the cooler strata, and the moisture condenses to form clouds and rain which increases on the higher levels. Having passed the ridge of the hills, the currents descend on the other side to warmer levels, where the moisture is easily held in the form of vapor so that no rain falls and few clouds are seen, except in the cold mid-winter months.

    The summer months are practically rainless, with very few clouds appearing in the sky. From May 1 to the middle of October one can be sure of no rain; "The winter is past; the rain is over" ( Song of Solomon 2:11 ), so many sleep on the roofs of the houses or in tents of leaves and branches in the fields and vineyards throughout the summer. The continuous hot droughts make the people appreciate the springs and fountains of fresh running water and the cool shade of rock and tree.

    The rainy season from October to May may be divided into three parts, the former, the winter, and the latter rains, and they are often referred to under these names in the Old Testament.

    The "former rains" are the showers of October and the first part of November. They soften the parched ground so that the winter grain may be sown before the heavy continuous rains set in. The main bulk of the rain falls in the months of December, January and February. Although in these months the rains are frequent and heavy, a dark, foggy day is seldom seen. The "latter rains" of April are the most highly appreciated, because they ripen the fruit and stay the drought of summer. They were considered a special blessing: Yahweh "will come ... as the latter rain that watereth the earth" ( Hosea 6:3 ); "They opened their mouth wide as for the latter rain" ( Job 29:23 ); and as a reason for worshipping Yahweh who sent them, "Let us now fear Yahweh our God, that giveth rain, both the former and the latter, in its season" ( Jeremiah 5:24 ).

    The rain storms always come from the sea with a west or southwest wind. The east wind is a hot wind and the "north wind driveth away rain" ( Proverbs 25:23 , the King James Version). "Fair weather cometh out of the north" ( Job 37:22 , the King James Version).

    5. Biblical Uses:

    The Psalmist recognizes that the "showers that water the earth" ( Psalm 72:6 ) are among the choicest blessings from the hand of Yahweh: "The early rain covereth it with blessings" ( Psalm 84:6 ). The severest punishment of Yahweh was to withhold the rain, as in the time of Ahab and Elijah, when the usual rain did not fall for three years (1 Ki 17); "the anger of Yahweh be kindled against you, and he shut up the heavens, so that there shall be no rain, and the land shall not yield its fruit; and ye perish quickly" ( Deuteronomy 11:17 ). Too much rain is also a punishment, as witness the flood ( Genesis 7:4 ) and the plague of rain and hail ( Ezra 10:9 ). Sending of rain was a reward for worship and obedience: "Yahweh will open unto thee his good treasure, the heavens, to give the rain of thy land in its season, and to bless all the work of thy hand" ( Deuteronomy 28:12 ). Yahweh controls the elements and commands the rain: "He made a decree for the rain" ( Job 28:26 ); "For he saith to the snow, Fall thou on the earth; likewise to the shower of rain" ( Job 37:6 ).


    Palestine Exploration Fund Quarterly  ; meteorological observations from the Dead Sea, Jerusalem, Jaffa and Tiberias; various observers; Zeitschrift des deutschen Paldstina-Vereins  ; H. Hilderscheid, Die Niederschlagsverhdltnisse Paldstinas in alter and neuer Zeit  ; C. R. Conder, Tent-Work in Palestine  ; Edward Hull, Mount Seir, Sinai and Western Palestine  ; Ellsworth Huntington, Palestine and Its Transformation  ; bulletin of the Syrian Protestant College Observatory, Meteorological Observations in Beirut and Syria .

    Kitto's Popular Cyclopedia of Biblial Literature [17]