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
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).