Snow in the Ancient Middle East

God’s voice thunders in marvelous ways; he does great things beyond our understanding. 
He says to the snow, ‘Fall on the earth,’ and to the rain shower, ‘Be a mighty downpour.’ 
So that everyone he has made may know his work, he stops all people from their labor.  ~ Job 37: 5 – 7 NIV

Just a few days ago, a snow storm in Israel forced schools to close in Jerusalem and caused flooding and loss of electricity. Like me, you might be surprised that it snows in higher elevations in Israel. Jerusalem is roughly 2,490 feet ( 760 meters) and usually has one or two snow flurries per winter. (Source: Wikipedia)

Snow is not new to the Middle East. Climate scientists have discovered fascinating insights into ancient weather by using ships’ logs, court records, and other documents.

A BBC News article, Snow in Baghdad, and other ancient climates, reported that, according to Weather magazine, scientists have scoured “records from what is now Iraq going back over 1,000 years, using documents stored in Madrid and in Baghdad itself…

“Snow was reported regularly in winters between 832 and 998. In 909, one writer records: ‘There were four fingers of snow on the ground, and the cold was intense. Water, vinegar, eggs and unguents froze.’

“Things sound even more extreme in 926, when ‘sherbet and rose-water froze, as well as vinegar. The scholar known as Abu Zakaria sat in the middle of the Tigris, on the ice, and gave lessons of the Prophetical Tradition.'”

Discovering snow in the ancient Middle East shouldn’t be too surprising because the Bible mentions snow ten times.  Moses was familiar with snow (Exodus 4:6) and Job as well. Snow is mentioned in Job four times.  (Job was probably written shortly after Noah’s Flood about 2000 years before Christ.) The Bible is the world’s most reliable historical document, even on matters like snow in the Middle East.


Creative Commons License
Snow in the Ancient Middle East by Sus Schmitt is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

One response to “Snow in the Ancient Middle East

  1. Pingback: Snow in the Ancient Middle East | Mike and Sus Schmitt·

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