Particles of water floating in the air; they resemble very light rain. When warm humid air rises from the earth and cools to what is called the dew point, moisture condenses because cool air cannot hold as much water as warm air. If this occurs near the ground, it is called fog; if it takes place higher in the sky, it forms what is called a cloud. (Ps 135:7; Pr 25:14; Jer 10:13; 51:16) Moisture that condenses on cool objects, such as the ground or vegetation (usually at night), is described as dew. (Ex 16:13, 14; Jg 6:36-40; see DEW.) Mist, on the other hand, is composed of airborne particles of moisture that are somewhat larger in size than fog particles, but smaller than raindrops.
The Bible’s poetic description of these geophysical processes accords with scientific findings. Elihu tells how Jehovah, the Source of all heat and energy, first causes the moisture to be drawn up from the earth and then allows it to trickle slowly and drip back in the form of rain and mist (Heb., ʼedh), as if filtered.—Job 36:27, 28.
In the Genesis account of conditions here on the earth at a certain point during the creative “days” is found the only other occurrence of the Hebrew word ʼedh (mist). “Jehovah God had not made it rain upon the earth . . . But a mist would go up from the earth [including the streams, lakes, and seas] and it watered the entire surface of the ground.” (Ge 2:5, 6) Translators of ancient versions (LXX, Vg, Sy), however, understood the reference to be, not to a mist, but to a fountain, suggesting that watering was accomplished by means of an underground freshwater stream.
Figurative Use. In the city of Paphos on the island of Cyprus, Bar-Jesus (Elymas), a sorcerer and false prophet, opposed Paul when the apostle was speaking to the proconsul Sergius Paulus. Paul told him that Jehovah’s hand was upon him and that he would be blind for a period of time. “Instantly a thick mist and darkness fell upon him.” Apparently his sight became misty, or foggy, followed quickly by intense darkness. In describing the incident, the physician Luke employed the Greek medical term a·khlysʹ (thick mist).—Ac 13:4-11.
The apostle Peter, in his warning against the false teachers and would-be corrupters who would quietly slip into the Christian congregation, says: “These are fountains without water, and mists driven by a violent storm, and for them the blackness of darkness has been reserved.” Travelers in the Middle East were familiar with the disappointment of approaching a fountain or well with hope of getting refreshing water, only to find it dried up. In Palestine, in the month of August, there are occasional cirrostratus clouds from the W that do not bring rain. A farmer who looked to these wispy, mistlike clouds as a promise of water for his crops would be bitterly disappointed. So with these false teachers, these immoral men, as Peter goes on to say: “For they utter swelling expressions of no profit, and by the desires of the flesh and by loose habits they entice those who are just escaping from people who conduct themselves in error. While they are promising them freedom, they themselves are existing as slaves of corruption.”—2Pe 2:1, 17-19.
Christians are reminded to take Jehovah into account in all their plans, not bragging about what they will do, but remembering the transitoriness and uncertainty of life in this system of things, that they are like a mist that quickly disappears.—Jas 4:14; see CLOUD.