This wise saying offers insights about both the natural world and human nature. I’ll bet it was popular in antiquity!
“Like clouds and wind without rain” is a common occurrence in the Holy Land from April through October. Unlike most of America, where it can and does rain year round, there’s a specific rainy season in Israel — “the autumn and spring rains” (Deuteronomy 1:14; Psalms 84:5 NIV).
It just doesn’t rain there the rest of the year. While the “clouds and wind” are appreciated during the summer heat — even if it looks like it will rain, it just won’t.
In twenty seasons of digging in Israel between April and October, I’ve only experienced one slight shower. And I’ve experienced summer morning dew there that’s offered more moisture!
So, while it looked like rain (“clouds and wind”), the ancients learned not to expect it. They also decided such a meteorological situation reminded them of “a man who boasts of gifts he does not give.”
This man or woman brags about what they can or will do, but never actually comes through. We’re not discussing a person who promises but just can’t deliver — this is a person who likes to talk it up but never backs it up.
They may be deliberately lying, never intending to produce anything, or maybe someone who always talks but never finish anything they start. Either way — they’re huge disappointments.
So, we need to be wise about our own expectations. We also need to be wise about who we’re counting on and trusting!