Particles of water floating in the air that 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; Prov. 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; Judg. 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.”—Gen. 2:5, 6.
In the city of Paphos on the island of Cyprus, Bar-Jesus (Elymas), a sorcerer and false prophet, opposed the apostle Paul as Paul 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.—Acts 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. One 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.”—2 Pet. 2:1, 17-19.
Jude describes such ones as “waterless clouds carried this way and that by winds.” (Jude 12) Jesus’ half-brother James writes to Christians that (as far as the present life is concerned) “you are a mist appearing for a little while and then disappearing.” (Jas. 4:14) Certainly false teachers are like a mist, after a short while passing out of existence forever.—2 Tim. 3:8, 9; Jude 13.