From BiblePortal Wikipedia

Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament [1]


Thunder, the noise due to the disturbance of the air by the discharge of electricity, was regarded throughout the ancient world as supernatural. One of the elements of a theophany was ‘the voice that shook the earth’ ( Hebrews 12:26), words reminiscent of  Psalms 46:5 and of the manifestation on Sinai ( Exodus 19:16;  Exodus 20:18). ‘The thunder to the feeling of the ancients is the most important part of the storm, seeming to be the commanding voice, the terrifying exclamation of Jahwé’ (H. A. von Ewald, Commentary on the Psalms , Eng. translation, i. [London, 1880] 94). Thunder is one of the most impressive categories of the Book of Revelation. Like the seven stars, churches, seals, trumpets, and bowls, the seven thunders ‘form a complete portion of the apocalyptic machinery’ (H. Alford, The Greek Testament , iv.5 [London, 1875], on  Revelation 10:3-4). To the prophet’s imagination, thunder is now a celestial warning to wicked men, now a majestic chorus in praise of God. When an angel casts a censer filled with fire upon the earth, and another pours his bowl upon the air, there are lightnings and thunders ( Revelation 8:5;  Revelation 16:18). When the lost Ark of the Covenant is restored to its place, the thunders of Sinai are again heard ( Revelation 11:19). To conscience-stricken men it always appeared that lightnings and thunders proceeded from the very throne of God ( Revelation 4:5); and even a modern poet says that ‘if He thunders by law, the thunder is still His voice.’ But thunder does not always suggest terrible things to the apocalyptist. His ear catches the echoes of thunder-music in heaven. The voice of harpers harping with their harps is as the voice of a great thunder ( Revelation 14:2); and the voice of a great multitude is as the voice of mighty thunders, saying Hallelujah ( Revelation 19:6).

James Strahan.

King James Dictionary [2]

THUN'DER, n. L. tonitru, from tono, to sound.

1. The sound which follows an explosion of electricity or lightning the report of a discharge of electrical fluid, that is, of its passage from one cloud to another, or from a cloud to the earth, or from the earth to a cloud. When this explosion is near to a person, the thunder is a rattling or clattering sound, and when distant, the sound is heavy and rumbling. The fact is in some degree the same with the report of a cannon. This sharpness or acuteness of the sound when near, and the rumbling murmur when distant, are the principal distinctions in thunder. Thunder is not lightning, but the effect of it. See Johnson's Dictionary, under thunder.

There were thunders and lightnings.  Exodus 19

2. Thunder is used for lightning, or for a thunderbolt, either originally through ignorance, or by way of metaphor, or because the lightning and thunder are closely united.

The revenging gods

'Gainst parricides all the thunder bend.

3. Any loud noise as the thunder of cannon.

Sons of thunder.  Mark 3 .

4. Denunciation published as the thunders of the Vatican.

THUN'DER, To sound, rattle or roar, as an explosion of electricity.

Canst thou thunder with a voice like him?  Job 40 .

1. To make a loud noise, particularly a heavy sound of some continuance.

His dreadful voice no more

Would thunder in my ears.

2. To rattle, or give a heavy rattling sound.

And roll the thund'ring chariot o'er the ground.

THUN'DER, To emit with noise and terror.

Oracles severe

Were daily thunder'd in our gen'ral's ear.

1. To publish any denunciation or threat.

An archdeacon, as being a prelate, may thunder out an ecclesiastical censure.

Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible [3]

THUNDER . There is no finer description of a thunderstorm than that of   Psalms 29:1-11 . In a land of high mountains and deep gorges, split throughout its length by the great cleft of the Jordan, the effect of thunder is peculiarly terrible. In Palestine it is confined almost entirely to winter (  1 Samuel 12:17 f.), but the writer once witnessed a terrific storm late in April, among the Gilead uplands. It is invariably accompanied by rain. According to poetic and popular Ideas, thunder was the voice of God (  Psalms 104:7 ,   Job 37:4 etc.), which a soul gifted with insight might understand and interpret (  John 12:28 f.; cf.   Mark 1:11 ,   Matthew 3:17 etc.). It is the expression of His resistless power (  1 Samuel 2:10 ,   Psalms 18:13 etc.), and of His inexorable vengeance (  Isaiah 30:30 etc.). Thunder plays a part in afflicting the Egyptians (  Exodus 9:23 ff.), at the delivery of the Law (  Exodus 19:16;   Exodus 20:18 ), and in discomfiting the Philistines (  1 Samuel 7:10 ). It is not guided by caprice, but by the will of God (  Job 28:26;   Job 38:25 ). It appears largely in the more terrible imagery of the Apocalypse. For ‘Sons of Thunder,’ see Boanerges.

W. Ewing.

Fausset's Bible Dictionary [4]

Rare in the clear air of Palestine in harvest time or summer, which shows how its coming at Samuel's call unto Jehovah was by divine agency ( 1 Samuel 12:17-18). God so blessed the Holy Land that the ingathering of fruits and the threshing in the open air were unimpeded by rain. Its coming then would be as unseasonable and calamitous as "honour" conferred on a "fool" ( Proverbs 26:1). Symbolizing divine wrath and judgment ( Exodus 19:16;  Psalms 29:3-9;  1 Samuel 2:10). Thunderings are figuratively spoken of as "voices of God" ( Exodus 9:28 margin, compare  John 12:29-30).  Job 26:14, translated "and how faint is the word whisper that we hear of Him! but the thunder (i.e. the majestic fullness) of His power (in antithesis to 'the whisper') who can understand?" ( 1 Corinthians 13:9-12.)  Job 39:19, "hast thou clothed his (the horse's) neck with thunder?" i.e. majesty (Umbreit): or his arched neck inspiring fear as the thunder does; but Maurer, "with his trembling, quivering mane."

Smith's Bible Dictionary [5]

Thunder. Thunder is hardly ever heard in Palestine, from the middle of April to the middle of September; hence, it was selected by Samuel, as a striking expression of the divine displeasure, toward the Israelites.  1 Samuel 12:17. Rain, in harvest, was deemed as extraordinary as snow in summer,  Proverbs 26:1, and Jerome states that he had never witnessed it, in the latter part of June or in July.  Amos 4:7.

In the imaginative philosophy of the Hebrews, thunder was regarded as the voice of Jehovah ,  Job 37:2;  Job 37:4-5;  Job 40:9;  Psalms 18:13;  Psalms 29:3-9;  Isaiah 30:30-31, who dwelt behind the thunder-cloud.  Psalms 81:7. Thunder was, to the mind of the Jew, the symbol of divine power,  Psalms 29:3. etc., and vengeance.  1 Samuel 2:10;  2 Samuel 22:14.

American Tract Society Bible Dictionary [6]

And lightning are significant manifestations of the power of God, and emblems of his presence,  Exodus 19:16   1 Samuel 2:10   12:17   Psalm 18:13 . Thunder is poetically called "the voice of the Lord" in the sublime description of a thunder-storm in  Psalm 29:11;

"The voice of the Lord is upon the waters;

The God of glory thundereth;

The Lord is upon many waters.

The voice of the Lord is powerful;

The voice of the Lord is full of majesty.

The voice of the Lord breaketh the cedars;

Yea, the Lord breaketh the cedars of Lebanon," etc.

See also  Job 37:1-5   40:9   Jeremiah 10:13 . In illustration of Ps

29:9, Moffat, while describing the thunder-storms of South Africa,

say that the antelopes flee in consternation; and that he has

observed the Bechuanas starting off early on the morning following

such a storm in quest of young antelopes prematurely born. In Ps

78:48, "hot thunderbolts" means lightning.

Webster's Dictionary [7]

(1): ( n.) The sound which follows a flash of lightning; the report of a discharge of atmospheric electricity.

(2): ( n.) The discharge of electricity; a thunderbolt.

(3): ( n.) Any loud noise; as, the thunder of cannon.

(4): ( n.) An alarming or statrling threat or denunciation.

(5): ( v. t.) To emit with noise and terror; to utter vehemently; to publish, as a threat or denunciation.

(6): ( n.) To produce thunder; to sound, rattle, or roar, as a discharge of atmospheric electricity; - often used impersonally; as, it thundered continuously.

(7): ( n.) Fig.: To make a loud noise; esp. a heavy sound, of some continuance.

(8): ( n.) To utter violent denunciation.

Wilson's Dictionary of Bible Types [8]

 Job 26:14 (a) This was used to indicate that though our sense of hearing may realize that GOD is working, our minds are unable to understand the manner of it.

 Job 39:19 (b) The type is used to illustrate man's helplessness, either to give strength to the horse, or power to the elements.

 Psalm 77:18 (a) In this wonderful way GOD is telling us of His mighty power which is beyond human control and human comprehension. (See also  Psalm 29:3;  Psalm 104:7).

 Psalm 81:7 (a) GOD dwells in the high and holy place, but He hears the faintest cry of His child wherever he may be.

 Revelation 14:2 (b) It is symbolical of the great and mysterious power of GOD in that no one can understand it, nor control it.

Morrish Bible Dictionary [9]

This is of rare occurrence in Palestine, and is regarded in scripture as being the voice of God in power, both in the O.T. of the past and in the Revelation of the future.  Psalm 29;  Psalm 77:18;  Psalm 104:7;  Revelation 4:5;  Revelation 6:1; etc.: compare also  John 12:29 . In  Psalm 78:48 , in recounting the plagues of Egypt, the flocks are represented as being consumed by HOT THUNDERBOLTS.The word is resheph, and is also translated 'coals,' 'burning coals,' 'burning heat.' Doubtless lightning is referred to, as when the 'fire of God' fell from heaven and burnt up Job's sheep.  Job 1:16 .

Easton's Bible Dictionary [10]

 Job 40:9 Psalm 77:18 104:7 Mark 3:17 Job 39:19 Exodus 19:16 Job 37:2 Psalm 18:13 81:7 John 12:29 1 Samuel 12:17,18

Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature [11]

(prop. רִעִם , Rdam, Βροντή  ; occasionally [ Exodus 9:28-29;  Exodus 9:33-34;  Exodus 19:16;  Exodus 20:18;  1 Samuel 7:10;  1 Samuel 12:17-18;  Job 28:26;  Job 38:25] קוֹל , K '''''Ô''''' L Voice, as an elliptical expression for Jehovah'S Voice [ Psalms 29:3 sq., etc.]; so also in the plur. קוֹלַים , Thunders,  Exodus 9:23, etc.; which is likewise elliptical for the full Voices Of God [exe 9:28];once [ Job 39:19 (23)] erroneously in the A. V. for רִעֲמָה , raam  h, a Shuddering, i.e. probably the Mane of a horse as bristling and streaming in the wind). This sublimest of all the extraordinary phenomena of nature is Poetically represented as the voice of God, which the waters obeyed at the Creation ( Psalms 104:7; comp.  Genesis 1:9). For other instances see  Job 37:4-5;  Job 40:9;  Psalms 18:13; and especially ch. 29 which contains a magnificent description of a thunder-storm. Agreeably to the popular speech of ancient nations, the poet ascribes the effects of lightning to the thunder, "The voice of the Lord breaketh the cedars" ( Psalms 18:5; comp.  1 Samuel 2:19). In  Jeremiah 10:13 the production of rain by lightning is referred to: "When he uttereth his voice, there is a multitude of waters in the heavens, he maketh lightnings with (or for) rain." (See Rain).

Thunder is also introduced into the poetical allusion to the passage of the Red Sea in Psalm 67:18. The plague of hail on the land of Egypt is very naturally represented as accompanied with "mighty thunderings," which would be Literally incidental to the immense agency of the electric fluid on that occasion ( Exodus 9:22-29;  Exodus 9:33-34). It accompanied the lightnings at the giving of the law ( Exodus 19:16;  Exodus 20:18). See also  Psalms 81:7, which probably refers to the same occasion, "I answered thee in the secret place of thunder," literally, "in the covering of thunder," בסתר רעם , i.e. the thunder-clouds. It was also one of the grandeurs attending the divine interposition described in  2 Samuel 22:14; comp.  Psalms 18:13. The enemies of Jehovah are threatened with destruction by thunder; perhaps, however, lightning is included in the mention of the more impressive phenomenon ( 1 Samuel 2:10). Such means are represented as used in the destruction of Sennacherib's army ( Isaiah 29:5-7; comp.  Isaiah 30:30-33). Bishop Lowth would understand the description as metaphorical, and intended, under a variety of expressive and sublime images, to illustrate the greatness, the suddenness, the horror of the event, rather than the manner by which it was effected (new transl., and notes Ad Loc. ) . Violent thunder was employed by Jehovah as a means of intimidating the Philistines in their attack upon the Israelites, while Samuel was offering the burnt-offering ( 1 Samuel 7:10;  Sirach 46:17). Homer represents Jupiter as interposing in a battle with thunder and lightning (Iliad, 8:75, etc.; 17:594; see also Spence, Polymetis, Dial. 13:211). The term thunder was transferred to the war-shout of a military leader ( Job 39:25), and hence- Jehovah is described as "causing his voice to be heard" in the battle ( Isaiah 30:30). Thunder was miraculously sent at the request of Samuel ( 1 Samuel 12:17-18). It is referred to as a natural phenomenon subject to laws originally appointed by the Creator ( Job 28:26;  Job 38:25;  Sirach 43:17); and is introduced in Visions ( Revelation 4:5;  Revelation 6:1;  Revelation 8:5;  Revelation 11:19;  Revelation 14:2;  Revelation 16:18;  Revelation 19:6; Esther [Apoc.] 11:5). So in  Revelation 10:3-4, "seven thunders." (See Seven).

It is adopted as a Comparison. Thus" as lightning is seen before the thunder is heard, so modesty in a person before he speaks recommends him to the favor of the auditors" ( Sirach 32:10;  Revelation 19:6,etc.). The sudden ruin of the unjust man is compared to the transitory noise of thunder ( Sirach 40:13); but see Arnald, ad loc. One of the sublimest metaphors in the Scriptures occurs in  Job 26:14," Lo, these are parts of his ways; but how little a portion is heard of him [ שמוֹ , a mere whisper]; but the Thunder of his power, who can understand?" Here the whisper and the thunder are admirably opposed to each other. If the former be so wonderful and overwhelming, how immeasurably more so the latter? In the sublime description of the war-horse (Job 39), he is said to perceive the battle afar off "by the thunder of the captains, and the shouting" ( Job 39:25). That part of the description, however ( Job 39:19), "hast thou clothed his neck with thunder?" appears to be a mistranslation. To the class of mistranslations must be referred every instance of the word "thunderbolts" in our version, a word which corresponds to no reality in nature. (See Thunderbolt).

It is related ( John 12:28) that Jesus said, "Father, glorify thy name. Then came there a voice from heaven, saying, I haves both glorified it, and will glorify it again." Some of the people that stood by, but had not heard the words distinctly, said it had "thundered," for the voice came from heaven; others who had caught the words supposed that God had spoken to Jesus by an angel, conformably to the Jewish opinion that God had never spoken but by the ministry of angels. Perhaps, however, thunder attended the voice, either a little before or after; comp.  Exodus 19:16;  Exodus 19:19;  Revelation 4:5;  Revelation 6:1. (See Bath-Kol).

Thunder enters into the appellative or surname given by our Lord to James and John-Boanerges, Ἐστιν , Υἱοὶ Βροντῆς , says Mark, "sons of thunder" ( Mark 3:17). Schleusner here understands the thunder of eloquence as in Aristoph. ( Achar. 530). Virgil applies a like figure to the two Scipios," Duo fulmina belli" (En. 6:842). Others understand the allusion to be to the energy and courage, etc., of the two apostles (Lardner, Hist. of theApostles and Evangelists, 9:1; Suicer, Thesaurus, s.v. Βροντή ) . Theophylact says they were so called because they were great preachers and divines, Ὡς Μεγαλοκήρυκας Καὶ Θεολογικοτάτους . Others suppose the allusion to be to the proposal of these apostles to call fire from heaven on the inhospitable Samaritans ( Luke 9:53-54). It is not certain When our Lord so surnamed them. (See Boanerges).

In a physical point of view, the most noticeable feature in connection with thunder is the extreme rarity of its occurrence during the summer months in Palestine and the adjacent countries. From the middle of April to the middle of September it is hardly ever heard. Robinson, indeed, mentions an instance of thunder in the early part of May (Researches, 1, 430), and Russell in July (Aleppo, 2, 289); but in each case it is stated to be a most unusual event. Hence it was selected by Samuel as a striking expression of the Divine displeasure towards the Israelites: "Is it not wheat harvest to- day? I will call upon the Lord, and he shall send thunder and rain" ( 1 Samuel 12:17). Rain in harvest was deemed as extraordinary as snow in summer ( Proverbs 26:1), and Jerome asserts that he had never witnessed it in the latter part of June, or in July ( Comment. On  Amos 4:7); the same observations apply equally to thunder, which is rarely unaccompanied with rain (Russell, 1, 72; 2, 285). Lieutenant Lynch, in the month of May, witnessed a thunder storm in the mountains of Moab, near the Dead Sea. He, says, "Before we had half ascended the pass, however, there came a shout of thunder from the dense cloud which had gathered at the summit of the gorge, followed by a rain, compared to which the gentle showers. of oar more favored clime are as dew-drops to the overflowing cistern. The black and threatening cloud soon enveloped the mountain- tops, the lightning playing across it in incessant flashes, while the loud thunder reverberated from side to side of the appalling chasm. Between the peals we soon heard a roaring: and continuous sound. It was the torrent from the rain-cloud, sweeping in a long line of foam down the steep declivity, bearing along huge fragments of rock, which, striking against each other, sounded like mimic thunder" (Expedition, p. 353). (See Lightning).

International Standard Bible Encyclopedia [12]

thun´dẽr ( רעם , ra‛am (  1 Samuel 2:10;  Job 26:14;  Job 39:19;  Job 40:9;  Psalm 77:18;  Psalm 81:7;  Psalm 104:7;  Isaiah 29:6 ), קול , ḳōl , "a voice" ( Exodus 9:23;  1 Samuel 7:10;  1 Samuel 12:17;  Job 28:26;  Job 38:25 )): Thunder is the noise resulting from the lightning discharge. It is very common in the winter storms of Syria and Palestine and occurs in the extra-season storms. Thunder accompanied the storm of hail in Egypt at the time of the plagues: "The Lord sent thunder and hail" ( Exodus 9:23 ).

Lightning and thunder are indications of the power of Yahweh and His might. "The thunder of his power who can understand?" ( Job 26:14 ); "The God of glory thundereth" ( Psalm 29:3 ). Yahweh also confused the Philistines with thunder ( 1 Samuel 7:10 ), and His foes were "visited of Yahweh of hosts with thunder" ( Isaiah 29:6 ). Thunder was regarded as the voice of Yahweh: "God thundereth with the voice of his excellency" ( Job 37:4 ), and God spoke to Jesus in the thunder (βροντή , brontḗ ,  John 12:29 ). See also Lightning .