Mt 24:31. The winds which most commonly prevail in Palestine are from the western quarter, more usually perhaps from the south-west, Lu 12:54. Not infrequently a north wind arises, Job 37:9, which, as in ancient days, is till the sure harbinger of fair weather; illustrating the truth of the observation in Pr 25:23, "The north wind driveth away rain." For the tempestuous wind called EUROCLYDON, see that article.
But the wind most frequently mentioned in the Bible is the "cast wind," which is represented as blasting and drying up the fruits, Ge 41:6; Eze 17:10; 19:12, and also as blowing with great violence, Ps 48:7; Eze 27:26; Jon 4:8. It is also the "horrible tempest" literally the glow-wind, of Ps 11:6. This is a sultry and oppressive wind blowing from the south-east, and prevailing only in the hot and dry months of summer. Coming thus from the vast Arabian desert, it seems to increase the heat and drought of the season, and produces universal languor and debility. Rev. Dr. Eli Smith, who experienced it effects during the summer, at Beyrout, describes it as possessing the same qualities and characteristics as the Sirocco, which he had felt at Malta, and which also prevails in Sicily and Italy; except that the Sirocco, in passing over the sea, acquires great dampness. This wind is called by the Arabs the Simoom, by the Turks the Samuel; and by the Egyptians the Camsin; and has long been regarded as a pestilential wind, suddenly overtaking travelers and caravans in the deserts, and almost instantly destroying them by its poisonous and suffocating death. But late and judicious travelers find no evidence that this wind is laden with any poisonous influence. It is indeed oppressively hot and dry, rapidly evaporating the water in the ordinary skin bottles, stopping the perspiration of travelers, drying up the palate and the air passages, and producing great restlessness and exhaustion. As it often blows with a terrible roaring and violence, it carries dust and fine sand high up into the air, so that the whole atmosphere is lurid, and seems in a state of combustion, and the sun is shorn of his beams, and looks like a globe of dull smoldering fire. Both men and animals are greatly annoyed by the dust, and seek any practicable shelter or covering. The camels turn their backs, and hide their heads from it in the ground. It is often accompanied by local whirlwinds, which form pillars of sand and dust, rising high above the ground and moving with swiftness over the plain. Such a tempest may have suggested some features in the prophetic descriptions of the day of God's power: "wonders in the heavens and in the earth, blood and fire and pillars of smoke: the sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood," Joe 2:30-31; Ac 2:19-20.
Dr. Thomson describes another variety of hot winds or siroccos, often more overwhelming than those just mentioned. The sky is covered with clouds, and pale lightning play through the air; but there is no rain, thunder, or wind. The heat, however, is intolerable; every traveler seeks a refuge, the birds hide themselves in the thickest shades, the fowls pant under the walls with open mouths, and no living thing is in motion.
blowing from the four quarters of heaven (Jer 49:36; Eze 37:9; Da 8:8; Zec 2:6). The east wind was parching (Eze 17:10; 19:12), and is sometimes mentioned as simply denoting a strong wind (Job 27:21; Isa 27:8). This wind prevails in Palestine from February to June, as the west wind (Lu 12:54) does from November to February. The south was a hot wind (Job 37:17; Lu 12:55). It swept over the Arabian peninsula. The rush of invaders is figuratively spoken of as a whirlwind (Isa 21:1); a commotion among the nations of the world as a striving of the four winds (Da 7:2). The winds are subject to the divine power (Ps 18:10; 135:7).
The four represent the four quarters (Eze 37:9; Da 8:8; Mt 24:31; Jer 49:36). The N. wind was coldest (Song 4:16). The N. wind "awakes," i.e. arises strongly; the Holy Spirit as the Reprover of sin (Joh 16:8-11). The S. wind "comes" gently; the Comforter (Joh 14:16). The W. wind brings rain from the sea (1Ki 18:44-45); its precursor is cloud (Lu 12:54), prevailing in Palestine from November to February. The E. wind is tempestuous (Job 27:21) and, withering (Ge 41:23). The N. wind is first invoked (Song 4:16) to clear the air (Job 37:22); then the warm S. wind (Job 37:17; Lu 12:55); so the Holy Spirit first clears away mists of gloom, error, unbelief, and sin, which intercept the light of the Sun of righteousness, then infuses warmth (2Co 4:6), causing the graces to exhale their odor.
In Pr 25:23 "the N. wind driveth away (literally, causeth to grieve, so puts to flight) rain," so a frowning countenance drives away a backbiting tongue. So Vulgate, Chald., and Syriac less appropriately "bringeth forth rain." The N. wind prevails from June to the equinox, the N.W. wind thence to November. The E. wind, "the wind of the wilderness" (Job 1:19; 27:21; Jer 13:24). It is parching and penetrating, like the sirocco (Jon 4:8). The E. wind blowing from across the Red Sea, just at the Passover time of year, was the natural agency employed by divine interposition to part the waters of the Red Sea S. of Suez (Ex 14:21). The E. wind meant in Ge 41:6,23 is probably the S.E. wind blowing from the Arabian desert, called the chamsin, so parching as to wither up all grass; during it there is an entire absence of ozone in the air.
The samoom blows from the S.S.E.; blowing over the Arabian peninsula, it is parching when it reaches Palestine. Lake squalls (lailaps) are noticed Mr 4:37; Lu 8:23. The Greek (lips) name for S.W. wind, and the Latin (cores) N.W. wind, and the violent Euraquilon (not Euroclydon), E.N.E. wind, are noticed Ac 27:12,14. (See EUROCLYDON.) The E. wind symbolizes empty violence (Job 15:2; Ho 12:1; Israel "followeth after" not only vain but pernicious things) and destruction (Jer 18:17; Isa 27:8). Wind indicates speed (Ps 104:4; Heb 1:7), transitoriness (Job 7:7; Ps 78:39), the Holy Spirit (Joh 3:8; Ac 2:2; Ge 3:8 margin).
That the Hebrews recognized the existence of four prevailing winds as issuing, broadly speaking, from the four cardinal points, north, south, east and west, may be inferred from their custom of using the expression "four winds" as equivalent to the "four quarters" of the hemisphere.
The north wind, or, as it was usually called "the north," was naturally the coldest of the four, Ecclus. 43:20 and its presence is hence invoked as favorable to vegetation in
It is described in
as bringing rain; in this case we must understand the northwest wind. The northwest wind prevails from the autumnal equinox to the beginning of November, and the north wind from June to the equinox. The east wind crosses the sandy wastes of Arabia Deserts before reaching Palestine and was hence termed "the wind of the wilderness."
It blows with violence, and is hence supposed to be used generally for any violent wind.
In Palestine the east wind prevails from February to June. The south wind, which traverses the Arabian peninsula before reaching Palestine, must necessarily be extremely hot.
Job 37:17; Lu 12:55
The west and southwest winds reach Palestine loaded with moisture gathered from the Mediterranean, and are hence expressly termed by the Arabs "the fathers of the rain." Westerly winds prevail in Palestine from November to February. In addition to the four regular winds, we have notice in the Bible of the local squalls,
Mr 4:37; Lu 8:23
to which the Sea of Gennesareth was liable. In the narrative of St. Paul's voyage we meet with the Greek term Lips to describe the southwest wind; the Latin Carus or Caurus, the northwest wind
and Euroclydon, a wind of a very violent character coming from east-northeast.