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Hail is precipitation in the form of balls ("ice pellets") or pieces of ice, commonly ranging from ¼ to 4 inches in size (the largest on record in modern times was 5½ inches in diameter and weighed 1½ pounds). Natural hail often accompanies thunderstorms because of the strong convective updrafts in such systems (i.e. hot, humid air rising - the reason that hail storms occur most frequently in the afternoon) that draws water to high, cold altitudes where it freezes before falling back to earth. Hail can be extremely destructive to living creatures and property, whether naturally-occurring, or sent by God.

There's A Storm Coming Hail In Bible History

The most well-known occurrence of hail in Bible History occurred as the seventh of The Ten Plagues at the time of the Exodus:

"Then The Lord [see Rock Of Ages] said to Moses, "Rise up early in the morning and stand before Pharaoh, and say to him, 'Thus says The Lord, the God of the Hebrews, "Let My people go, that they may serve Me. For this time I will send all My plagues upon your heart, and upon your servants and your people, that you may know that there is none like Me in all the earth. For by now I could have put forth My hand and struck you and your people with pestilence, and you would have been cut off from the earth; but for this purpose have I let you live, to show you My power, so that My Name may be declared throughout all the earth. You are still exalting yourself against My people, and will not let them go. Behold, tomorrow about this time I will cause very heavy hail to fall, such as never has been in Egypt from the day it was founded until now. Now therefore send, get your cattle and all that you have in the field into safe shelter; for the hail shall come down upon every man and beast that is in the field and is not brought home, and they shall die."

"Then he who feared the word of The Lord among the servants of Pharaoh [see Who Was The Exodus Pharaoh?] made his slaves and his cattle flee into the houses; but he who did not regard the word of The Lord left his slaves and his cattle in the field."

"And The Lord said to Moses, "Stretch forth your hand toward heaven, that there may be hail in all the land of Egypt, upon man and beast and every plant of the field, throughout the land of Egypt." 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." (Exodus 9:13-25 RSV)

Hail In Prophecy

Hail is also spoken of in Prophecy:

"And they assembled them at the place which is called in Hebrew, Armageddon."

"The seventh angel poured his bowl into the air, and a loud voice came out of the temple, from the throne, saying, "It is done!" And there were flashes of lightning, voices, peals of thunder, and a great earthquake such as had never been since men were on the earth, so great was that earthquake. The great city was split into three parts, and the cities of the nations fell, and God remembered great Babylon, to make her drain the cup of the fury of his wrath. And every island fled away, and no mountains were to be found; and great hailstones, heavy as a hundred-weight, dropped on men from heaven, till men cursed God for the plague of the hail, so fearful was that plague." (Revelation 16:16-21 RSV) (see The Seven Seals)

Fact Finder: At the time of the Exodus, did God direct the hail on Egypt so that the Israelites were spared?
Exodus 9:26

This Week's Bible Quiz

Which came first?

1. The Exodus or the birth of Abraham?

2. The Flood or the Tower of Babel?

3. "Let dry ground appear" or "Let there be light" at Creation?

4. The Israelites' conquering of Jericho or their crossing of the Jordan River?

5. The reign of King Solomon or the reign of King David?

6. The birth of Jesus Christ or the birth of John the Baptist?

7. The death of Jesus Christ or the death of John the Baptist?

8. The resurrection of Jesus Christ or the conversion of the apostle Paul?

9. The martyrdom of Stephen or Paul's shipwreck on Malta?

10. The ascension of Jesus Christ or the choosing of Mathias as a replacement for Judas Iscariot?

For the answers to this October 16 2001 quiz, see the Bible Quiz Answers Page

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