Rain is Given to Zion Alone
There are two distinct climatic conditions in the Land of Palestine. For six months in the year, from May to October, no rain falls, the whole land becomes very dry and even parched in certain locations. After that it comes the rainy season beginning from late October to April. The rainy season may be divided into three parts, the former (early or autumn rain), the winter (with great amount of rainfall) and the latter rain (the spring rain), and the first and third periods of the rainy season are mentioned quite commonly in the OT.
There are various Hebrew words used to denote the three parts of the rainy season:
1. Yoreh (Hos. 6:3) or Moreh (Joel 2:23) denotes “the former or the early rain”
The "early" or "former" rains commence in autumn in the latter part of October or beginning of November.
2. Melqosh means the "latter rain" (Prov. 16:1, 5)
The "latter" or “spring” rains fall in March and April, after the coldest months of January and February have passed.
3. Geshem or Matar means "the rains" (Gen. 7:12; Ezra 10:9)
Both of the terms are used in a very general sense. But the former has its more specific usage, to denote the heavy rain and even violent rain that comes down in the winter.
The Importance of Water (Rain)
Water is a precious gift of life from God. Its very existence is His masterstroke in His creation of all things, with which it creates a balance in the equilibrium of life. It is a vital source of life, one that requires every living thing to be invariably dependent on for their survival, growth and procreation. Water sustains the circle of life, passing energy from plants to animals. Most importantly, it reveals to us the underlying story of God’s unending love for humanity ever since the creation.
In the Land of Palestine, the autumnal rain coming in October would change the entire landscape, bringing in a sense of vitality, life and growth. The first shower after a long summer would serve to soften up the soil, preparing the ground to receive the seeds. The latter rain falls in the spring; between March and April just before the summer sets in. The order of nature is such that after this rainfall, the crops will be fully mature and ready for harvest. There is plenty of rain in the middle of December to March between the early rain and the latter rain periods as well.
[To be continued...]