Snow in the Bible. A brief synopsis.

This has been an unusual winter, even for Michiganders.  The volume of snow has been high.  There have been constantly icy roads, increased driving times for weeks on end, and schools are at their limit of allowed snow days.  This winter has included episodes of blizzard-like conditions that we have not seen for many years and record breaking temperatures below freezing. “Arctic blast” has become a regular part of our vocabulary. Snow is the main topic of news stories and conversation.

The view out my back door. 2014

The view out my back door. 2014

I started to wonder if the Bible had anything to say about snow and did a little survey.  Note:  All passages below are from the ESV version of the Bible.

Snow is used as a simile when describing leprosy, because of its whiteness:

Again, the Lord said to him, “Put your hand inside your cloak.” And he put his hand inside his cloak, and when he took it out, behold, his hand was leprous like snow. (Exodus 4:6)

When the cloud removed from over the tent, behold, Miriam was leprous, like snow. And Aaron turned toward Miriam, and behold, she was leprous. (Numbers 12:10)

“…Therefore the leprosy of Naaman shall cling to you and to your descendants forever.” So he went out from his presence a leper, like snow. (2 Kings 5:27).

The book of Job appears to talk about snow more than any other book in the Bible.  It is most often mentioned in a way that involves cleansing, and also God’s power (and sometimes judgement) through nature.

Job mentions snow in the following passages:

My brothers are treacherous as a torrent-bed,
as torrential streams that pass away,
which are dark with ice,
and where the snow hides itself. (Job 6:15-16)

If I wash myself with snow
and cleanse my hands with lye,
yet you will plunge me into a pit,
and my own clothes will abhor me. (Job 9:30-31)

Drought and heat snatch away the snow waters;
so does Sheol those who have sinned. (Job 24:19)

Elihu also mentions snow in his speech:

For to the snow he says, ‘Fall on the earth,’
likewise to the downpour, his mighty downpour. (Job 37:6)

By the breath of God ice is given,
and the broad waters are frozen fast. (Job 37:10)

God Himself tells us about snow when he responds to Job, showing His amazing power over nature:

“Have you entered the storehouses of the snow,
or have you seen the storehouses of the hail,
which I have reserved for the time of trouble,
for the day of battle and war? (Job 38:22)

“Has the rain a father,
or who has begotten the drops of dew?
From whose womb did the ice come forth,
and who has given birth to the frost of heaven?
The waters become hard like stone,
and the face of the deep is frozen. (Job 38:28-30)

Snow in the book of Psalms:

Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean;
wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow. (Psalm 51:7)

When the Almighty scatters kings there,
let snow fall on Zalmon. (Psalm 68:14)

He gives snow like wool;
he scatters frost like ashes.
He hurls down his crystals of ice like crumbs;
who can stand before his cold? (Psalm 147:16 & 17)

Praise the Lord from the earth,
you great sea creatures and all deeps,
fire and hail, snow and mist,
stormy wind fulfilling his word! (Psalm 148:8)

Other miscellaneous passages concerning snow:

One of David’s mighty men is mentioned in connection with a snowy day:

And Benaiah the son of Jehoiada was a valiant man of Kabzeel, a doer of great deeds. He struck down two ariels of Moab. He also went down and struck down a lion in a pit on a day when snow had fallen.  2 Samuel 23:20

Note:  The virtuous woman of Proverbs is not afraid of snow!

She is not afraid of snow for her household,
for all her household are clothed in scarlet. (Proverbs 31:21)

Come now, let us reason together, says the Lord:
though your sins are like scarlet,
they shall be as white as snow;
though they are red like crimson,
they shall become like wool. (Isaiah 1:18)

“For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven
and do not return there but water the earth,
making it bring forth and sprout,
giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater,
so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth;
it shall not return to me empty,
but it shall accomplish that which I purpose,
and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it. (Isaiah 55:10-11)

Does the snow of Lebanon leave
the crags of Sirion?
Do the mountain waters run dry,
the cold flowing streams?
But my people have forgotten me;
they make offerings to false gods;
they made them stumble in their ways,
in the ancient roads,
and to walk into side roads,
not the highway.. (Jeremiah 18:14-15)

Her princes were purer than snow,
whiter than milk;
their bodies were more ruddy than coral,
the beauty of their form was like sapphire.

Now their face is blacker than soot;
they are not recognized in the streets;
their skin has shriveled on their bones;
it has become as dry as wood. (Lamentations 4:7-8)

These last few passages relate the whiteness of snow to angels and the appearance of God Himself:

“As I looked, thrones were placed,
and the Ancient of Days took his seat;
his clothing was white as snow,
and the hair of his head like pure wool;
his throne was fiery flames;
its wheels were burning fire. (Daniel 7:9)

And behold, there was a great earthquake, for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven and came and rolled back the stone and sat on it. His appearance was like lightning, and his clothing white as snow. (Matthew 28:2-3)

The hairs of his head were white, like white wool, like snow. His eyes were like a flame of fire…(Revelation 1:14)

Psalm 147:16 & 17