SNOW (Heb. shelegh, white, telagh, white, Gr. chiōn). Snow is common in the hill country of Palestine. It never gets very deep, and it is not uncommon to have winters without any. The tops of the high mountains are covered with snow most of the year, and this becomes the source of much of the water there. It is stored in caves in the mountains in the winter for cooling beverages and for refrigeration purposes in the summer.
SNOW (שֶׁ֫לֶג, H8920; χιών, G5946). Although frequently mentioned as a symbol of refreshment or purity in the Bible (e.g.
Snow, then, is by no means unknown in Judaea; Jerusalem has a mean Jan. temperature of 48oF., with a daily range of some 13o. But the two areas where snowfalls are both heavy and regular are: (1) on the Lebanese mountains in the N, where Mt. Hermon rises to 9100 ft. and snow patches lie throughout the year. It was the distant view of these snows from the hot Galilean trench that prompted so much Biblical imagery; (2) on the mountains of Edom, E of the Jordan, where the land rises to over 5000 ft. (Amman in Jordan has a Jan. mean temperature of 40oF., and a daily range in that month of 7-8o.) For many Israelites, therefore, snow was better known to them as a distant prospect than as an actuality.
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia (1915)
(shelegh, telagh (
(1) Snow is not uncommon in the winter in Jerusalem, but it never reaches any depth and in many winters it is not seen at all. It usually disappears, for the most part, as soon as the sun appears, though it may "hide itself" for a time in the gorge cut by a stream (
(2) The tops of the mountains of Lebanon are white with snow for most of the year, and snow may be found in large banks in the valleys and the northern slopes at any time in the summer. Mt. Hermon, 9,200 ft. high, has long streaks of snow in the valleys all the summer.
(3) The snow of the mountains is the source of the water of the springs which last throughout the drought of summer. In case the snow fails there is sure to be a lack of water in the fountains: "Shall the snow of Lebanon fail .... or shall the cold waters that flow down from afar be dried up?" (
(4) Large quantities of snow are stored in caves in the mountains in winter and are brought down to the cities in summer to be used in place of ice for cooling drinks and refrigerating purposes.
(5) God’s power over the elements of Nature is often brought out in the
(6) Snow is the symbol of purity and cleanness, giving us some of our most beautiful passages of Scripture: "Wash me and I shall be whiter than snow" (
(7) The whiteness of leprosy is compared to snow (
Alfred H. Joy