As White as Snow?
Another popular expression, yep this one too is from the good book. The thing is, if you study a natural phenomenon such as snow. To know what snow is and feels like on the skin you must be living or have stayed in a place on earth where snow and the four seasons are more than noticeable, which means significant amount of snow in the wintertime. A decent amount that would stick and not be gone in a week, but like colder and seasonal places on earth, their snowfall lasts for a longer time. So, what happens during the cold times, are they cleansing the land and perhaps even the people...? Lets dive.
In this blogs usual debunking fashion, there is a great need to mention that snowfall, as you can imagine, happens less frequently in modern Israel - although they do get some snow in the Middle Eastern areas, it does definitely not stick and happens mostly up in the mountains. Let me quote wikipedia (2018):
`Snowfall in Israel is not uncommon but occurs mainly in certain parts of the country. In January and February 1950, Israel experienced the largest snowfall registered since the beginning of meteorological measurements in 1870.`
Middle east cold snap
South-Africa though, gets snow. And they get plenty of it.
`On the 14 July 2012 there were heavy snowfalls in the Karoo.`
Even though you think there would not be a significant amount of snow in Africa, it is considerably more than in the Middle east, it being a desert. This then explains the quotes in Scripture, that talks about the phenomenon as it was know of and by the people. Now, lets explore some of the verses that mention snow and examine if there are any other traces left for us in the text:
Isaiah talks about snow in the sense of pure (free of impurities) and being as clean and pure snow (Isaiah 1,18):
"Come now, let us settle the matter," says So NiNi. "Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool."
As for speculations, where in the world do they both have Lions and Snow? I`ll let this quote shape your thoughts for a while..
2. Samuel 23,20 (Same verse in 1. Chronicles 11,22-24, which would also indicate this being the Books of the Annals of the Kings of Judah and the Books of the Annals of the Kings of Israel):
"And Benaiah the son of Jehoiada was a valiant man of Kabzeel, a doer of great deeds. He struck down two heroes of Moab. He also went down and struck down a lion in a pit on a day when snow had fallen."
What a guy that Jehoiada must have been. I reckon he was strong and as brave as they come - Yeah oh, lions and snow? We need to move further south for that to become even remotely possible, unless they were in the Indian Gir forest. Which is unlikely. Almost all lions are located in so-called sub-Saharan Africa.
Anyways, I did study snowflakes and geometric shapes when in my younger years, and to say the least I was utterly amazed by the order found in nature and the complex purity of something as mundane as snow (not to mention protozoa and other shapely living creatures, but thats another topic altogether). During these years of studies I came across the photographs of this guy named Wilson Alwyn `Snowflake` Bentley (1865-1931).
Images of snowflakes taken by Bentley ca. 1902
This is a Bentley Snowflake micrograph, ca. 1890.