A form of precipitation consisting of pellets of ice, or frozen rain. The Bible’s references to the destructive nature of hail are confirmed by what has happened in different parts of the earth in more recent years. In 1985, a hailstorm in Brazil killed more than 20 persons and injured another 300. Severe thunderstorms can generate hail the size of eggs or even grapefruit. An unusually large hailstone picked up after a storm in Kansas (U.S.A.) on September 3, 1970, measured some 15 cm (6 in.) across. The large stones fall at speeds of about 160 km/hr (100 mph). Hail is particularly damaging to crops, with single hailstorms sometimes causing losses amounting to millions of dollars.
Used by Jehovah. Hail is one of the forces Jehovah has used at times to accomplish his word and to demonstrate his great power. (Ps 148:1, 8; Isa 30:30) The first recorded instance of this was the seventh plague upon ancient Egypt, a destructive hailstorm that ruined vegetation, shattered trees, and killed both men and beasts out in the field but did not affect the Israelites in Goshen. (Ex 9:18-26; Ps 78:47, 48; 105:32, 33) Later, in the Promised Land, when the Israelites, under Joshua, came to the aid of the Gibeonites, who were threatened by an alliance of five kings of the Amorites, Jehovah used great hailstones against the attacking Amorites. On this occasion more died from the hailstones than in battle with Israel.—Jos 10:3-7, 11.
Symbolic. Jehovah, however, did not spare unfaithful Israel from devastating hail. (Hag 2:17) Furthermore, through his prophet Isaiah, he foretold the overthrow of the ten-tribe kingdom by the Assyrians, comparing the conquering Assyrian forces to “a thunderous storm of hail.” (Isa 28:1, 2) Similarly the Babylonians, like hail, were to sweep away Judah’s “refuge of a lie,” that is, Judah’s alliance with Egypt for military help.—Isa 28:14, 17; 31:1-3.
In the book of Revelation, reference is made to hail in conjunction with the first of the seven angels with trumpets blowing his trumpet, and in connection with the opening of the heavenly temple sanctuary of God. (Re 8:2, 7; 11:19) Then, at the pouring out of the seventh bowl of God’s anger, symbolic hailstones weighing about a talent (20.4 kg; 45 lb) descend upon wicked men.—Re 16:1, 17, 21.
‘For the day of war.’ In speaking to Job out of the windstorm, Jehovah indicated that he had reserved storehouses of hail for “the day of fight and war.” (Job 38:1, 22, 23) Appropriately, therefore, hail is mentioned among the elements to be used against the attacking forces of “Gog.”—Eze 38:18, 22.