Thunder is a natural sound phenomenon that is caused by a discharge of lightning. The lightning rapidly heats and expands the nearby air's volume by over a thousand times, forming a powerful compression wave that is heard as thunder. Because the lightning spike is usually quite long, the sound of the more distant thunder is heard later, which accounts for the duration of the rumbling sound. Thunder is usually not heard from a distance greater than about 10 miles / 16 kilometers.
Thunder is recorded in The Bible both as a naturally occurring event and as a tool that God sometimes used to demonstrate His power over man and nature.
- "When He gave to the wind its weight, and meted out the waters by measure; when He made a decree for the rain, and a way for the lightning of the thunder" (Job 28:25-26 RSV)
- "The clouds poured out water; the skies gave forth thunder." (Psalm 77:17 RSV)
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- "Then Moses stretched forth his rod toward heaven; and The Lord sent thunder and hail, and fire ran down to the earth. And The Lord rained hail upon the land of Egypt; there was hail, and fire flashing continually in the midst of the hail, very heavy hail, such as had never been in all the land of Egypt since it became a nation. The hail struck down everything that was in the field throughout all the land of Egypt, both man and beast; and the hail struck down every plant of the field, and shattered every tree of the field. Only in The Land Of Goshen, where the people of Israel were, there was no hail." (Exodus 9:23-26 RSV) (see The Ten Plagues)
- "On the morning of the third day there were thunders and lightnings, and a thick cloud upon the mountain, and a very loud trumpet blast, so that all the people who were in the camp trembled. Then Moses brought the people out of the camp to meet God; and they took their stand at the foot of the mountain. And Mount Sinai was wrapped in smoke, because The Lord descended upon it in fire; and the smoke of it went up like the smoke of a kiln, and the whole mountain quaked greatly. And as the sound of the trumpet grew louder and louder, Moses spoke, and God answered him in thunder." (Exodus 19:16-19 RSV) (see The Ten Commandments)
- "So Samuel called upon The Lord, and The Lord sent thunder and rain that day; and all the people greatly feared The Lord and Samuel." (1 Samuel 12:18 RSV)
- "Now I saw when the Lamb opened one of The Seven Seals, and I heard one of the four living creatures say, as with a voice of thunder, "Come!" (Revelation 6:1 RSV)