The unedited full-text of the 1906 Jewish Encyclopedia
- Phrase search: "names of god"
- Exclude terms: "names of god" -zerah
- Volume/Page: v9 p419
- Diacritics optional: Ḥanukkah or hanukkah
- Search by Author: altruism author:Hirsch
search tips & recommendations


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 ("ḳeẓot haareẓ"); there they were confined in storehouses, from which Yhwh sent them forth (Jer. x. 13, xlix. 36, li. 16; B. B. vi. 7). According to Rev. vii. 1, these storehouses were guarded by four angels, who restrained the winds, as they continually strove to break loose (comp. Enoch, lxxvi. 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 (Eccl. xi. 5 [R. V.]; John iii. 8). Indeed, in their action, as in their origin, the winds were phenomena wholly without the sphere of human knowledge (Ps. cvii. 25-27; Mark iv. 41), and Yhwh's power appeared the greater in that it was He who created them (Amos iv. 13), causing them to come from out His treasuries (Ps. cxxxv. 7; Jer. x. 13, li. 16), and controlling their power and "weight" (Job xxviii. 25). He likewise made them His messengers and servants (Ps. civ. 4 [R. V.], cxlviii. 8), and used the "stormy winds" as instruments in the execution of His judgments (Isa. xxix. 6; Amos i. 14; Wisdom v. 23; Ecclus. [Sirach] xxxix. 28).

The Hebrews, as was natural, carefully distinguished the characteristics of the individual winds. The north wind was icy cold (Ecclus. [Sirach] xliii. 20; comp. LXX., Prov. xxvii. 16; Job xxxvii. 9), so that Jerome called it "ventus durissimus." When it came from the north it brought rain (Prov. xxv. 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." iii. 9, § 3). The east wind, which came from the Syrian desert (Jer. iv. 11, xiii. 24; Job i. 19), was the hot wind, which parched the crops and blighted the trees (Gen. xli. 6, 23, 27; Ezek. xvii. 10, xix. 12; Hos. xiii. 15; Jonah iv. 8). Hence the Septuagint usually calls it καήσων ("the burner"). When it developed into a storm it was especially dangerous because of the violence of its blasts (Job i. 19, xxvii. 21; Isa. xxvii. 8; Jer. xviii. 17; Ezek. xxvii. 26; Ps. xlviii. 8 [A. V. 7]). The south wind also was a hot wind (Job xxxvii. 17; Luke xii. 55); although the due south wind blows but seldom in Palestine. From the west came the refreshing evening breeze which brought rain (Gen. iii. 8; Cant. ii. 17; I Kings xviii. 43 et seq.; Luke xii. 54; also Cant. iv. 16, where northwest and southwest winds are probably meant).

E. G. H. I. Be.
Images of pages