1. Lesson One of the Book of Daniel, Introduction to the Book of Daniel

Lesson 22: Geography Study Concerning the Scriptures- The Hydrology of the Holy Land, Continued

The Bible uses the terms “former rain” and “latter rain” in reference to God’s blessing of the land.   

The word “former” refers to the first period of rain or the rain in the autumn period.   

The word “latter” refers to the spring rain, the second period of rain of the year.   

This in itself tells of the aridness of the land that rains were described by two events, the former and the latter rain.   

Hosea 6:1-3, Come, and let us return unto the LORD: for he hath torn, and he will heal us; he hath smitten, and he will bind us up. (Pattern of a Father)  After two days will he revive us: in the third day he will raise us up, and we shall live in his sight. Then shall we know, if we follow on to know the LORD: his going forth is prepared as the morning; and he shall come unto us as the rain, as the latter and former rain unto the earth.


When he comes it will be as refreshing as the long sought after rains. 

Joel 2:23-24,  Be glad then, ye children of Zion, and rejoice in the LORD your God: for he hath given you the former rain moderately, and he will cause to come down for you the rain, the former rain, and the latter rain in the first month.   And the floors shall be full of wheat, and the vats shall overflow with wine and oil. 

Here we see that the latter rain was in the first month.   

The months in Israel did not match the months as we know them. 

The month - In addition to knowing that the length of months varied and that a new-year date in the spring or fall determined which of them was first, we are able to observe through Israel’s history an interesting development in the naming of the months.

These names reflected the presence of one or another dominating cultural influence, first that of the Canaanites, then that of Mesopotamia.  The earliest practice was to use the Canaanite month-names, of which four survive in the Bible:


Abib aw-beeb' (March-April);    (middle of March to the middle of April)  From an unused root (meaning to be tender); green, that is a young ear of grain; hence the name of the month Abib or Nisan:—Abib, ear, green ears of corn.


Exodus 13:4, This day came ye out in the month Abib.  This is the first month.


Exodus 12:1, And the LORD spake unto Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt, saying, 2This month shall be unto you the beginning of months: it shall be the first month of the year to you.


Ziv zeev' (April-May);  Probably from an unused root meaning to be prominent; properly brightness
(compare H2111), that is, (figuratively) the month of flowers; Ziv (corresponding
to Ijar or May):—Zif 

When April showers they come your way, they bring us flowers that bloom in May, And when you see clouds upon the hill, you’ll always see crowds of daphadils.   

Ethanim ay-thaw-neem' (September-October);   Plural of H386; always with the article; the permanent brooks; Ethanim, the
name of a month:—Ethanim.

Bul bool (October-November) buòl   For H2981; produce (of the earth, etc.):—food, stock.  

(Ex. 13:4; 23:15; 34:18; 1 Kings 6:1, 37-38; 8:3). The other Canaanite months are known from Phoenician inscriptions. These are all agricultural names and reflect a seasonal pattern of reckoning, as in the Gezer calendar. 

The usual practice in the Old Testament is to simply number the months from first to twelfth.

Some of these numbered months are found in the passages mentioned above, hence the practice must be at least as early as the time of the Israelite monarchy. Because the first month is always in the spring, we must trace this practice back to the patriarchs, who would have learned it in Mesopotamia (Gen. 11:31).

When the Jews returned from Babylonian Exile, they brought with them the names of the Babylonian calendar, at the same time counting the new year from the spring.

Although the rabbis returned to an autumnal new year, Judaism retains these Babylonian names as its own: Nisan (March-April); Iyyar (April-May); Sivan (May-June); Tammuz (June-July); Ab (July-August); Elul (August-September); Tishri (September-October); Marcheshvan (October-November); Chislev (November-December); Tebeth (December-January); Shebat (January-February); Adar (February-March).

The intercalated year is called WeAdar, “and-Adar.”

The month of the former rains is Tishri (Ethanim) (September-October). 

This month is related by several Semitic calendars with the beginning of the year which indicates that those calendars were agricultural in nature and that the former rains inaugurated a new agricultural beginning.   

In the Old Testament, the first day of Tishri (September-October) was marked by a festival(Feast of Trumpets, Lev 23:23), one that is known today as Rosh HaShana ) (”new years’). 

So in light of the aridness of the Holy land the need for conserving water supplies would have been at the top of any priority list.   

We do not know the value of water as did the children of Israel. 

So it is no wonder that the Bible is full of references to wells, cisterns, fountains, and springs.   

Many times the need for water was used to convey spiritual truths.   

Remember the woman at the well where Jesus said in John 4:13,   

Whosoever drinketh of this water shall thirst again:   But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life. 

The imagery of water was used to indicate a sign of blessing,  

Isaiah 41:17-18,  When the poor and needy seek water, and there is none, and their tongue faileth for thirst, I the LORD will hear them, I the God of Israel will not forsake them.  I will open rivers in high places, and fountains in the midst of the valleys: I will make the wilderness a pool of water, and the dry land springs of water.  

The imagery of water is used to indicate unspeakable joy as given in Isaiah 35 which speaks of what will take place when Jesus Christ renews the promised land at the beginning of the Millennium.


Isaiah 35  The wilderness and the solitary place shall be glad for them; and the desert shall rejoice, and blossom as the rose. It shall blossom abundantly, and rejoice even with joy and singing: the glory of Lebanon shall be given unto it, the excellency of Carmel and Sharon, they shall see the glory of the LORD, and the excellency of our God. 3Strengthen ye the weak hands, and confirm the feeble knees. 4Say to them that are of a fearful heart, Be strong, fear not: behold, your God will come with vengeance, even God with a recompense; he will come and save you.  Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped. 6Then shall the lame man leap as an hart, and the tongue of the dumb sing: for in the wilderness shall waters break out, and streams in the desert. 7And the parched ground shall become a pool, and the thirsty land springs of water: in the habitation of dragons, where each lay, shall be grass with reeds and rushes. 8And an highway shall be there, and a way, and it shall be called The way of holiness; the unclean shall not pass over it; but it shall be for those: the wayfaring men, though fools, shall not err therein. 9No lion shall be there, nor any ravenous beast shall go up thereon, it shall not be found there; but the redeemed shall walk there: 10And the ransomed of the LORD shall return, and come to Zion with songs and everlasting joy upon their heads: they shall obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.


The imagery of water was used to indicate delight,


Psalm 1:1-3,  Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.  But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night.  And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.