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Bible Encyclopedias

The 1901 Jewish Encyclopedia


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Ancient Hebrew literature recognizes only four winds-north, south, east, and west, having no names for those from intermediate points, so that such a designation as "north" has a wide range of application. The dwelling-places of the winds were in the four corners of the earth ("ḳ eẓ ot haareẓ ") there they were confined in storehouses, from which Yhwh sent them forth ( Jeremiah 10:13 , 49:36 , 51:16 B. B. 6:7 ). According to Revelation 7:1 , these storehouses were guarded by four angels, who restrained the winds, as they continually strove to break loose (comp. Enoch, 76:1 et seq. : "At the ends of the earth I saw twelve doors opened toward all the quarters of heaven, and the winds came forth from them, and blew over the earth"). The ancient Hebrews had no conception of the nature and causes of winds for them, as for every ancient people, the wind was a mysterious creation, whose paths were always unknown (Ecclesiastes 11:5 [R. V.] John 3:8 ). Indeed, in their action, as in their origin, the winds were phenomena wholly without the sphere of human knowledge (Psalm 107:25-27 Mark 4:41 ), and Yhwh 's power appeared the greater in that it was He who created them (Amos 4:13 ), causing them to come from out His treasuries (Psalm 135:7 Jeremiah 10:13 , 51:16 ), and controlling their power and "weight" (Job 28:25 ). He likewise made them His messengers and servants (Psalm 104:4 [R. V.], 148:8), and used the "stormy winds" as instruments in the execution of His judgments ( Isaiah 29:6 Amos 1:14 Wisdom of Solomon 5:23 Ecclus. [Sirach] 39:28).

The Hebrews, as was natural, carefully distinguished the characteristics of the individual winds. The north wind was icy cold (Ecclus. [Sirach] 43:20 comp. LXX., Proverbs 27:16 Job 37:9 ), so that Jerome called it "ventus durissimus." When it came from the north it brought rain (Proverbs 25:23 ), and, according to Josephus, the sailors on the coast called the stormy wind from the north, which scourges the waves, "the black north wind" ("B. J." 3:9, § 3). The east wind, which came from the Syrian desert (Jeremiah 4:11 , 13:24 Job 1:19 ), was the hot wind, which parched the crops and blighted the trees (Genesis 41:6,23 , 27 Ezekiel 17:10 , 19:12 Hosea 13:15 Jonah 4:8 ). Hence the Septuagint usually calls it κ α ή σ ω ν ("the burner"). When it developed into a storm it was especially dangerous because of the violence of its blasts (Job 1:19 , 27:21 Isaiah 27:8 Jeremiah 18:17 Ezekiel 27:26 Psalm 48:8 [A. 5:7]). The south wind also was a hot wind ( Job 37:17 Luke 12:55 ) although the due south wind blows but seldom in Palestine. From the west came the refreshing evening breeze which brought rain (Genesis 3:8 Song of Song of Solomon 2:17 1 Kings 18:43 et seq. Luke 12:54 also Song of Song of Solomon 4:16 , where northwest and southwest winds are probably meant).

E. G. H. I. Be.

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Bibliography Information
Singer, Isidore, Ph.D, Projector and Managing Editor. Entry for 'Winds'. 1901 The Jewish Encyclopedia. 1901.

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