The word “dew” appears 34 times in the Bible, and it is primarily seen as a blessing. It is used poetically and symbolically in many places, and is quite different to the blessing of rain. Since the time of Passover, Jewish people across the land have been praying the “Tfilat Tal” – a prayer or blessing for dew, which asks God to bring a light out of the darkness to draw Israel to himself, as a root finds water from dew.
Rain will always catch our attention, as anyone caught out in the rain would know. It can be heard in the pitter-patter of raindrops, or the pummeling of a heavy shower. Dew, on the other hand, is silent. It does not draw attention to itself at all. It can be seen as a more humble, unassuming version of rain – never causing damage; gentle, nourishing and dependable.
What’s so special about dew?
Dew often goes unnoticed, and we need to make an effort to become aware of this subtle gift from God that speaks of his steadfast love – his mercies that come new every morning.
As with so many concepts we read about in the Bible, the first time it is mentioned is key in understanding its significance. In Genesis 27:28, Isaac blesses Jacob with these words:
“May God give you of the dew of heaven and of the fatness of the earth and plenty of grain and wine.”
Dew in the Bible speaks primarily of bounty and divine blessing. It is seen to descend along with the manna and the quail that God provided for his children in the desert, and is likened to Moses’ teaching. It is a refreshment, a gift, and a message from heaven – a source of life.
The blessing of rain is well-known and understood. God sends rain as a blessing, and withholds it when he wants to correct and draw Israel’s attention back to himself. Not only is rain a blessing conditional upon behaviour, but it can also be a curse if it is the wrong type of rain at the wrong time. A heavy downpour can destroy an entire crop of wheat or barley if it comes too late in the season. Dew, on the other hand, shows up every morning, unconditionally. And it is always a blessing. It sustains, bringing gentle nourishment to the earth.
Whether or not we pay attention to it, the dew is always there, regardless. However long we may have ignored it or been oblivious to its presence, it appears day after day, no questions asked… just like the unconditional love of God.
Here are a couple more key verses which mention “dew”:
“Your people will offer themselves freely on the day of your power, in holy garments;
from the womb of the morning, the dew of your youth will be yours.” (Psalm 110:3)
The womb of the morning can refer to the very break of morning, when dew appears. It speaks of freshness; the strength of the early stages of life. It gives encouragement that God can provide youthful vigour when He calls us up to fight with Him. He will always provide the sustenance we will need when we willingly agree to battle alongside Him and do exploits with our God.
“[unity] is like the dew of Hermon, which falls on the mountains of Zion!
For there the Lord has commanded the blessing, life for evermore.” (Psalm 133:3)
Here, the Psalmist writes of God’s great joy in our unity: “How good and pleasant it is when brothers dwell together in unity!” This is like dew, which is connected to God’s life-giving blessing.
“I will be like the dew to Israel; he shall blossom like the lily; he shall take root like the trees of Lebanon;
his shoots shall spread out; his beauty shall be like the olive, and his fragrance like Lebanon.” (Hosea 14:5-6)
In this verse, God likens Himself to dew – a great blessing to Israel, that causes flourishing, growth, beauty and fragrance. This verse also can be seen as inspiration for the Tfilat Tal:
Tfilat Tal – The Jewish prayer / blessing for dew
May dew fall upon the blessed land.
Fill us with heaven’s finest blessings.
May a light come out of the darkness to draw Israel
to you as a root finds water from dew.
May you bless our food with dew.
May we enjoy plenty with nothing lacking.
Grant the wish of the people – that followed you
through the desert like sheep – with dew.
You are Adonai our God,
who causes the wind to blow and the dew to fall,
For blessing and not for curse.
For life and not for death.
For plenty and not for lack.
What a wonderful prayer! As you pray it for yourself, would you also pray it over Israel? In particular, that the light of Yeshua, who has shone out of the darkness, would draw Israel to the Lord, as a root finds water from dew.
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