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Kitto's Popular Cyclopedia of Biblical Literature


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The Hebrew word signifies air in motion generally, as breath, wind, etc. It is used,

for the wind as a natural phenomenon (—'cool'; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; —'spirit'; ; ; ). It is poetically ascribed to the immediate agency of God (; ).

The wind occurs as the medium of the divine interposition, or agency (—'spirit'; 8:1; ; ; ; ; ; ; ). In the New Testament, the wind was supernaturally employed at the day of Pentecost, like the 'sound' and 'fire' () [SPIRIT]. To this class of instances we refer , 'and the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.' Along with Patrick and Rosenmüller, we construe the phrase, 'a wind of God,' a wind employed as the medium of divine agency.

The wind is used metaphorically in the following instances: 'The wings of the wind' denote the most rapid motion (). Anything light or trifling is called wind (; ; ; comp. ; ). Violent yet empty speech is called 'a strong wind,' or a mere tempest of words (). 'Vain knowledge' is called knowledge of wind (); 'vain words,' words of wind (). Many expressive phrases are formed with this word. 'To inherit the wind,' denotes extreme disappointment (); 'to hide the wind,' impossibility (); to 'labor for the wind,' to labor in vain (); 'to bring forth wind,' great patience and pains for no purpose (; comp. ; ); 'to become wind,' to result in nothingness (). 'The four winds' denote the four quarters of the globe (); 'to scatter to all winds,' to disperse completely (; ; ); 'to cause to come from all winds,' to restore completely (). 'The wind hath bound her upon her wings,' means deportation into a far country (); 'to sow the wind and reap the whirlwind,' unwise labor and a fruitless result (); 'to feed on the wind,' to pursue delusory schemes (); 'to walk in wind,' to live and act in vain (); 'to observe the wind,' to be over cautious (); to 'winnow with every wind,' to be credulous, apt to receive impressions ().

The east wind. Dr. Shaw remarks, that every wind is called by the Orientals an east wind which blows from any point of the compass between the east and north, and between the east and south (Travels, p. 285). If the east wind happens to blow a few days in Palestine during the months of May, June, July, and August, it occasions great destruction to the vines and harvests on the land, and also to the vessels at sea on the Mediterranean. It is accordingly often used to denote any pernicious wind, as in . It is used metaphorically for pernicious speech, a storm of words (); calamities, especially by war (; ; ; ; ; ). The east wind denotes divine judgment (). Phrases—'To follow the east wind,' is to pursue a delusory and fatal course ().

West wind.

North wind ().

South wind (; ; ); Sirocco ().

The four winds. This phrase is equivalent to the four quarters of the world (; ), the several points of the compass, as we should say (). Phrases—'Striving of the four winds,' is great political commotions (; comp. ; ); to 'hold the four winds,' is by contrary to secure peace (); 'to be divided to the four winds,' implies utter dispersion (; ; ; ; ).

The Hebrews, like other ancient nations, had but few names of winds. One Greek name of a wind occurs in , Euroclydon, a tempestuous wind in the Mediterranean, now called a Levanter. , Eurus, 'east wind,' and , 'a wave,' quasi an eastern tempest. Other MSS. read , Euryclydon, from , 'broad,' and , 'a wave,' or rough wavy sea; and then the word would mean the wind which peculiarly excites the waves. Shaw defends the common reading, and describes the wind as blowing in all directions from the N.E. round by the N. to the S.E. (Travels, p. 330. etc. 4to.; see Bowyer's conjectures, and Doddridge, in loc.). The Hebrews had no single terms indicating the relative velocity of the air in motion, like our words breeze, gale, etc. Such gradations they expressed by some additional word, as 'great,' - , 'a great wind' (), 'rough,' השק, etc. Nor have we any single word indicating the destructive effects of the wind, like their verbs רעס and ׂש‎‏רע, as םרעסאו (, etc.), and answering to the Greek word ἀ (see Sept. of ; ). Our metaphorical use of the word storm comes nearest. The phrase הרעס חור, 'stormy wind,' , spiritus procellæ, occurs in ; . It is metaphorically used for the divine judgments (; ). The word usually translated 'whirlwind' means more properly a storm (; ; ; ; ). The Hebrew word is used metaphorically for the divine judgments (; ); and to describe them as sudden and irresistible (; ; ). Total defeat is often compared to 'chaff scattered by a whirlwind' (). It denotes the rapidity and irresistibleness of the divine judgments (). The phrase 'to reap the whirlwind' denotes useless labor (); 'the day of the whirlwind,' destruction by war (). A beautiful comparison occurs in : 'As the whirlwind passeth, so is the wicked no more: but the righteous is an everlasting foundation.'





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Bibliography Information
Kitto, John, ed. Entry for 'Wind'. "Kitto's Popular Cyclopedia of Biblical Literature".

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