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Rain

RAIN. The great importance to the inhabitants of Pal. of the country’s limited rainfall is made clear by the variety of Heb. words which describe it. The Heb. commonly distinguishes rain (מָטָר, H4764) from showers (גֶּ֫שֶׁם, H1773, or שָׂעִיר, H8540, the “small” rain of Deut 32:2, KJV); it also records the seasonal occurrence of the rain (see below). The annual amounts of rainfall received in various parts of Pal. are described in Palestine, Climate (q.v.). The average figures, however, are liable to mislead, since totals vary greatly from year to year. In Jerusalem, for example, the long term average is 26.1 inches, but the maximum received in any one year was 40 inches and the minimum 12 inches. With fluctuations of this magnitude in the total, the impact upon a society dependent for its livelihood on the land can well be imagined. Most important to the farmer is the distribution of rainfall throughout the year. This is very uneven indeed. As the accompanying diagram for Jerusa