Water in its solid state, produced by freezing. Both Elihu and Jehovah God called Job’s attention to the marvel of ice, the Almighty saying: “Out of whose belly does the ice actually come forth . . . ? The very waters keep themselves hidden as by stone, and the surface of the watery deep makes itself compact.” (Job 36:1; 37:10; 38:1, 29, 30) The formation of ice as here referred to is possible only because of a most unusual property of water. As the water in lakes and seas cools it becomes heavier. The lighter, warmer water is displaced by the heavier water and rises to the top. But when the water as a whole reaches about 39° Fahrenheit (4° Centigrade) this process reverses. The water becomes lighter as it nears the freezing point and remains as a layer above the warmer water beneath. This upper layer then turns to ice, “makes itself compact.” Being lighter than water, the ice keeps the waters beneath “hidden as by stone,” thus protecting marine life. Were it not for this phenomenon, all the lakes and even the oceans would in time become solid ice, thus making it impossible for man to live on the earth.
The psalmist speaks of Jehovah’s “throwing his ice like morsels.” This evidently refers to hail or sleet.—Ps. 147:17; see HAIL.