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Lightning

Encyclopedia of the Bible and its Reception

Volume 16
Editor(s): Christine Helmer, Steven L. McKenzie, Thomas Römer, Jens Schröter, Barry Dov Walfish, Eric J. Ziolkowski
De Gruyter (Berlin, Boston) 2018

Biblical Texts

Dale Launderville

That lightning (Heb. bārāq, thirty-one times in HB/OT; Gk. ἀστραπή, eight times in NT) can strike suddenly from afar is evident in the metaphor of “the arrow” (Pss 18:15; 144:6; Wis 5:21; Zech 9:14; Job 36:32). The bright, blinding appearance of a lightning strike is conveyed by metaphors of the “glittering sword” (Ezek 21:15, 20, 30) or “glistening spear” (Hab 3:11). These weapons wielded by the thunderstorm deity in Syro-Palestine signaled that rain would soon arrive – a particularly signific…

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