Rain Words: Geshem and Matar


These two Hebrew words “geshem” and “matar” describe rain.

Ezekiel 34:26 says, “And I will make them and the places round about My hill a blessing; and I will cause the shower (Gimmel~Shin~Mem, geshem) to come down in his season; there shall be showers (Gimmel~Shin~Mem, geshem) of “blessing.”

Genesis 19:24 says, “Then God “rained” (Mem~Tet~Resh, matar, verb to rain, send hail) upon Sodom and upon Gomorrah, brimstone and fire from God out of heaven.”

Does the word “geshem” for rain signify abundant “blessing”?

Does “matar” for rain signify judgment?



  1. As a rule, Matar is translated as the early rains, and Geshem are the latter rains. Both are needed for healthy, bountiful crops to grow.

    In the verse that you cite from Genesis, the Midrash explains that the word denotes mercy. This is despite the fact that what fell from the Heavens was destructive. According to the Midrash, it started to fall as gentle rain, and only as it landed on Sedom did it turn into sulfur and fire.

    Best wishes from the AskTheRabbi.org Team