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Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature
(רוּחִ , rzach; Sept. πνεῦμα, ἄνεμος; Vulg. spiritus, ventus). This Hebrew word signifies air in motion generally, as breath, wind, etc. Both the Septuagint words occur in the following definition of wind by Aristotle (De Mundo, c. 4): "Wind (ἄνεμος) is nothing else but a large quantity of air flowing, which is called πνεῦμα ." So also Plato has μεγάλῳ τινὶ πνεῦματι for a high wind (Phcedon, § 24, edit. Forster). Josephus also uses πνεῦμα βιαῖον for a violent wind (Ant. 14:2, 2), as Lucian also does, βιαίῳ πνεάματι (Ver. Hist. I, 1:714). The Vulgate word spiritus, from spiro, "to breathe," "blow," is applied in like manner in Latin, as by Virgil (AEneid, 12:365): "Boreae cum spiritus alto Insonat AEgeo," "When the northern blast roars in the AEgean."
1. The wind as a natural phenomenon (Genesis 3:8; Job 21:18; Job 30:15; Job 30:22; Job 37:21; Psalms 1:4; Psalms 103:16; Proverbs 30:4; Ecclesiastes 1:6; Ecclesiastes 11:4; Isaiah 7:2; Isaiah 17:13; Isaiah 40:7; Jeremiah 10:13; Jeremiah 51:16; Amos 14:13). It is poetically ascribed to the immediate agency of God (Psalms 135:7; Psalms 147:18; comp. Baruch 6:61). In the New Test. it occurs in Matthew 11:7; Matthew 14:24; Mark 4:39; John 3:8; Acts 27:4; Ephesians 4:14; James 1:6; Revelation 6:13; Revelation 7:1). Throughout the New Test. the word is ἄνεμος, except in our Lord's illustration, John 3:8. In the Apocrypha ἄνεμος occurs in Wisdom of Solomon 5:14; Wisdom of Solomon 13:2, etc.; but πνεῦμα in Wisdom of Solomon 17:18; Sirach 5:9; Sirach 22:18; Song of the Children, 26:42). We might perhaps attribute the exclusion of the word πνεῦμα , for " the wind," from the New Test., to its having become almost entirely appropriated to "heavenly things." In Acts 2:2, we have πνοή, translated '"wind;" Vulg. spiritus. It means the same in Homer (Iliad, 5:697), πνοή for πνοή βορέαο, "the breath or blast of Boreas;" comp. Job 37:10, Sept. In Genesis 3:8, "the cool of the day," or rather "wind of the day," indicates the evening, since in the East a refreshing breeze arises some hours before sunset; Vulg. ad auram post meridiem. Comp. Song of Solomon 2:17; Song of Solomon 4:6; where the words "until the day break and the shadows flee away" should be rendered "until the day breathe or blow" (i.e., till evening); Heb. שיפוח; Sept. διαπνεύσῃ; Vulg. aspiret. The evening breeze is still called, among the Persians, "the breeze of the day " (Chardin, Voyage, 4:48).
In Amos 4:13, God is said to "create the wind." Although this idea is very conformable to the Hebrew theory of causation, which does not recognize second causes, but attributes every natural phenomenon immediately to the divine agency, yet the passage may perhaps be directed against the worship of the winds, which was common among ancient nations. Comp. Wisdom of Solomon 13:2. Herodotus relates the same of the Persians (1:131). The words of our Savior "a reed shaken with the wind" (Matthew 11:7), are taken by some in the natural, and by others in a metaphorical sense. The former view is adopted by Grotius, Beza, Campbell, Rosenmuller, Schleusner, and Wetstein; and is confirmed, as Rosenmuller observes, by the antithesis of the rich man, whose magnificence all gladly survey. The comparison is adopted to reprove the fickleness of the multitude (comp. Matthew 11:15, and Ephesians 4:14).
2. The wind occurs as the medium of the divine interposition, or agency (Genesis 1:2; Genesis 8:1, Exodus 15:10; Numbers 11:31; 1 Kings 18:45; 1 Kings 19:11; Job 1:19, Isaiah 11:5; Jonah 1:4). In the New Test., the wind was supernaturally employed at the day of Pentecost, like the "sound " and "fire" (Acts 2:3). Indeed, our Lord's illustration (John 3:8), and the identity of the Hebrew and Greek words signifying breath, wind, and spirit, lead to the inference that the air in motion bears the nearest resemblance of any created object to divine influence, and is therefore the most appropriate medium of it. (See SPIRIT). To this class of instances we refer Genesis 1:2, "And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters." Along with Patrick and Rosenmuller, we construe the phrase, "a wind of God," a wind employed as the medium of divine agency. Rosenmuller compares Psalms 104:30; Psalms 147:8; Isaiah 40:7. Dr. Lee refers to 1 Kings 18:12; 2 Kings 2:16, and Psalms 33:6; Isaiah 11:4. In the two latter passages, he observes that the word is equivalent to power, etc. The commotions of the elements, etc., through means of which the petulance of Elijah was reproved (1 Kings 19:11), are best understood as having occurred in vision (camp. Daniel 2:35; Zechariah 5:9).
3. The wind is used metaphorically in the following instances: "The wings of the wind" denote the most rapid motion (2 Samuel 22:11), where the phrase may be a poetical representation also of the incident recorded (2 Samuel 5:24; Psalms 104:3). The onomatopoeia in the two former passages, in Hebrew, is remarkable. Anything light or trifling is called wind (Job 7:7; Isaiah 41:29; Psalms 78:39; comp. Ephesians 4:14; Sirach 5:9). Violent yet empty speech is called "a strong wind," or a mere tempest of words (Job 8:2). "Vain knowledge" is called דִּעִתאּרוּחִ, knowledge of wind (Job 15:2); "vain words," words of wind (Job 16:3). Many expressive phrases are formed with this word. "To inherit the wind," denotes extreme disappointment (Proverbs 11:29); "to hide the wind," impossibility (Proverbs 27:16); to "labor for the wind," to labor in vain (Ecclesiastes 5:16); "to bring forth wind," great patience and pains for no purpose (Isaiah 26:18; comp. Hosea 8:7; Hosea 12:1); "to become wind," to result in nothingness (Jeremiah 5:13). "The four winds" denote the four quarters of the globe (Ezekiel 37:9); "to scatter to all winds," to disperse completely (Ezekiel 5:10; Ezekiel 12:11; Ezekiel 17:21); "to cause to come from all winds," to restore completely (Ezekiel 37:9). "The wind hath bound her upon her wings," means deportation into a far country (Hosea 4:19); "to sow the wind and reap the whirlwind," unwise labor and a fruitless result (Hosea 8:7); "to feed on the wind," to pursue delusory schemes (Hosea 12:1); "to walk in wind," to live and act in vain (Micah 2:11); "to observe the wind," to be over-cautious (Ecclesiastes 11:4); to "winnow with every wind," to be credulous, apt to receive impressions (5:9).
Comparisons. — Disappointment, after high promise or pretension, is "as wind without rain" (Proverbs 25:14); the desperate speeches of an afflicted person are compared to wind (Job 6:26).
Symbolically. — Empires are represented as having wings, and "the wind in their wings" denotes the rapidity of their conquests (Zechariah 5:9). The wind is often used as the symbol or emblem of calamities (Isaiah 32:2; Isaiah 41:16; Isaiah 57:13; Isaiah 64:6); destruction by the Chaldaean army (Jeremiah 4:11-12; comp. Wisdom of Solomon 4:4; Wisdom of Solomon 5:23; Wisdom of Solomon 11:20). "The windy storm" (Psalms 55:8) denotes Absalom and his party. The wind is the frequent emblem of the divine chastisements (Isaiah 27:8; Jeremiah 22:22; Jeremiah 51:1, etc.
Beautiful expressions occur, as in Isaiah 27:2, "He stayeth his rough wind in the day of the east wind;"' that is, God doth not aggravate the misfortunes of mankind by his chastisements; to "make a weight for the winds " (Job 28:25).
Mistranslations. — In Psalms 78:39, "He remembered that they were but flesh, a wind that passeth away and cometh not again," should probably be rendered, "a spirit going away and not returning." All the versions make the words relate to the soul of man. Homer has a very similar description of death (Iliad, 9:408). In Ecclesiastes 1:5-6, the translation is faulty, and the sense further obscured by a wrong division of verses. The passage should be read: "The sun also ariseth and the sun goeth down, and hasteth to his place where he ariseth, going to the south and circulating to the north. The wind is continually whirling about, and the wind returneth upon its whirlings." All the versions give this rendering; our version alone mistakes the meaning. The phrase "brought forth wind," is understood, by Michaelis as an allusion to the female disorder called. empneumatosis, or windy inflation of the womb (Syrutagma, Comment. 2:165). The Syriac translator also understood the passage in this way: "Enixi sumus ut illae quae ventos pariunt."
4. The east wind (רוחאּקדים, ἄνεμος νότος, ἄνεμος καύσων νότος , ventus urens. spiritus vehemens, ventus auster. קדים , καύσων, ardor, aestus, ventus urens). Both forms denote the natural phenomenon (Genesis 41:6; Genesis 41:23; Job 38:24; Psalms 48:7; Psalms 78:26; Jonah 4:8). Considerable indefiniteness attends the use of these words. Dr. Shaw remarks that every wind is called by the Orientals קדים, an east wind, which blows from any point of the compass between the east and north, and betwveen the east and south (Travels, page 285). Accordingly, the Sept. often understands this word to mean the south, as in Exodus 10:13; Exodus 14:21 (see Bochart, Hierozoicon, II, 1:15). 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 (Hosea 13:15 : Jonah 4:8; Job 14:2; Job 15:2; Isaiah 40:7; Genesis 41:6; Genesis 41:23; Ezekiel 17:10; Ezekiel 19:12; Ezekiel 27:26; Psalms 48:7; Psalms 103:5). In Jonah 4:8, the phrase occurs, קדים חרישית רוח, a still or sultry east wind. For testimonies to the destructiveness of this wind in Egypt and Arabia, see Niebuhr, Beschrieb. von Arabien, page 8; Thevenot, Voyages, I, 2:34; Hackett, Illustrations of Scripture, page 135.
The east wind crosses the sandy wastes of Arabia Desert before reaching Palestine, and was hence termed "the wind of the wilderness" (Job 1:19; Jeremiah 13:24). It is remarkably dry and penetrating, and has all the effects of the sirocco on vegetation (Ezekiel 17:10; Ezekiel 19:12; Hosea 13:15; Jonah 4:8). It also blows with violence, and is hence supposed to be used generally for any violent wind (Job 27:21; Job 38:24; Psalms 48:7; Isaiah 27:8; Ezekiel 27:26). It is probably in this sense that it is used in Exodus 14:21, though the east, or at all events the north-east, wind would be the one adapted to effect the phenomenon described, viz. the partition of the waters towards the north and south, so that they stood as a wall on the right hand and on the left (Robinson, Researches, 1:57). In this, as in many other passages, the Sept. gives the "south" wind (νότος) as the equivalent for the Greek kadim. Nor is this wholly incorrect, for in Egypt, where the Sept. was composed, the south wind has the same characteristics that the east has in Palestine. The Greek translators appear to have felt the difficulty of rendering kadim in Genesis 41:6; Genesis 41:23; Genesis 41:27, because the parching effects of the east wind, with which the inhabitants of Palestine are familiar, are not attributable to that wind in Egypt, but either to the south wind, called in that country the khamsin, or to that known as the samum, which comes from the south-east or south-south-east (Lane's Modern Egypt, 1:22, 23). It is certainly possible that in Lower Egypt the east wind may be more parching than elsewhere in that country, but there is no more difficulty in assigning to the term kadim the secondary sense of parching, in this passage, than that of violent in the others before quoted. As such, at all events, the Sept. treated the term both here and in several other passages, where it is rendered kaus6n (καύσων, lit. the burner). In James 1:11, the A.V. erroneously understands this expression of the burning heat of the sun. In Palestine the east wind prevails from February to June (Raumer, page 79).
It is used metaphorically for pernicious speech, a storm of words (Job 15:2); calamities, especially by war (Isaiah 27:8; Jeremiah 18:17; Ezekiel 17:10; Ezekiel 19:12; Ezekiel 27:26; Hosea 13:15). In this latter passage the east wind denotes Shalmaneser, king of Assyria; in Ezekiel 27:26, it denotes the Chaldseans. Tyre is there represented under the beautiful allegory of a ship towed into deep waters, and then destroyed by an east wind. A very similar representation is given by Horace (Carm. 1:14). The east wind denotes divine judgment (Job 27:21). "To follow the east wind," is to pursue a delusory and fatal course (Hosea 12:1).
5. West wind (רוח ים, ἄνεμος ἀπὸ θαλάσσης, ventus ab occidente). The west and south-west winds reach Palestine loaded with moisture gathered from the Mediterranean (Robinson, 1:429), and are hence expressively termed by the Arabs "the fathers of the rain" (Raumer, page 79). The little cloud "like a man's hand" that rose out of the west, was recognised by Elijah as a presage of the coming downfall (1 Kings 18:44), and the same token is adduced by our Lord as' one of the ordinary signs of the weather (Luke 12:54). Westerly winds prevail in Palestine from November to February. See WEST.
6. North wind (רוח צפון, Proverbs 25:23, ἄνεμος βορέας, ventus Aquilo).The north wind, or, as it was usually called, " the north," was naturally the coldest of the four (Sirach 43:20), and its presence is hence invoked as favorable to vegetation, in Song of Solomon 4:16. It is further described in Proverbs 25:23, as bringing (A.V. "driveth away" in text; "bringeth forth" in marg.) rain; in this case we must understand the north-west wind, which may bring rain, but was certainly not regarded as decidedly rainy. The difficulty connected with this passage has led to the proposal of a wholly different sense for the term taphon, viz. hidden place. The north-west wind prevails from the autumnal equinox to the beginning of November, and the north wind from June to the equinox (Raumer, Palest. page 79). (See NORTH).
7. South wind ( דרום, Job 37:17; תימן, Psalms 78:26; λίψ , ventus Africus, Luke 12:55; νότος [Sirocco], Acts 27:13). The south wind, which traverses the Arabian peninsula before reaching Palestine, must necessarily be extremely hot (Job 37:17; Luke 12:55); but the rarity of the notices leads to the inference that it seldom blew from that quarter (Psalms 78:26; Song of Solomon 4:16; Sirach 43:16); and even when it does blow, it does not carry the samurm into Palestine itself, although Robinson experienced the effects of this scourge not far south of Beersheba (Researches, 1:196). In Egypt the south wind (khamsin) prevails in the spring, a portion of which, in the months of April and May, is termed el-khamsin from that circumstance (Lane, 1:22). (See SOUTH).
8. The four winds (ארבע רוחות , τα τέσσαρα πνεύματα, οἱ τέσσαρες ἄνεμοι, quatuor venti). The Hebrews speak only of four winds; and so Josephus (Ant. 8:3, 5). This phrase is equivalent to the four quarters of the world (Ezekiel 37:9; 2 Esdras 13:5), the several points of the compass, as we should say (Daniel 8:8). See Tristram, Nat. Hist. of the Bible, page 33. Phrases. — "Striving of the four winds" is great political commotions (Daniel 7:2; comp. Jeremiah 4:11-12; Jeremiah 51:1); to "hold the four winds" is by contrary to secure peace (Revelation 7:1); "to be divided to the four winds" implies utter dispersion (Daniel 11:4; Jeremiah 49:32; Ezekiel 5:10; Ezekiel 5:12; Ezekiel 17:2). So also the phrase ἐκ τῶν τεσσάρων ἀνέμων (Matthew 24:31) means from all parts of the world (Mark 13:27).
9. The Hebrews, like other ancient nations, had but few nanes of winds. Homer mentions only βορέας, νότος, ζέφυρος, and ευρος . Aul. Gellius, indeed, complains of the infrequency of names of winds in ancient writers (Noct. Att. 2:22). The same indefiniteness appears in Herodotus (see Larcher's notes on, 1:188). In the course of time the Greeks and Romans added eight other winds to the original four, but that appearing too minute a. division, they reduced the additional ones to four, thus making only eight in all. The names of these may be seen in Larcher (ut supra), or Pliny (Hist. Nat. 18:34). Further information may be found in Coray's Translation of Hippocrates, De AEribus, Aquis et Locis (Paris, 1800); Discours Preliminaire, and see index. For a comparative table of the English, Latin, and Greek divisions of the winds, and their names, amounting to more than thirty, see Beloe's Herodotus (Polymnnia, notes, 3:293, Lond. 1791).
One Greek name of a wind occurs in Acts 27:14, Εὐροκλύδων , Euroclydon, a tempestuous wind in the Mediterranean, now called a Levanter. The Alexandrian MS. has Εὐρακύλων; Vulg. Euroaquilo; Syriac, אורקלידון . The common reading, Εὐροκλύδων, seems derived from Ευρος, Eurus, "east wind," and κλδύων, a wave," quasi an eastern tempest. Other MSS. read Εὐρυκλύδων, Euryclydon, from εὐρύς , "broad," and κλύδων; 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 north-east round by the north to. the south-east (Travels, page 330, 4to; see Bower's conjectures, and Doddridge, in loc.).
The Hebrews had no single terms indicating the rrelative velocity of the air in motion, like our words breeze, gale, etc. Such gradations they expressed by some additional word, as "great," רוחאּגדולה, "a great wind" (Jonah 1:4), "rough," קשה, etc. Nor have we any single word indicating the destructive effects of the wind, like their verbs סער and שֹער as ואסער (Zechariah 7:14, etc.), and answering to the Greek word ἀνεμόφθορος (see Sept. of Genesis 41:6; Genesis 41:23). Our metephorical use of the word storm comes nearest. The term zilaphdh ( זַלְעָפָה ), in Psalms 11:6 (A.V. "horrible"), has been occasionally understood as referring to the samunzm (Olshausen, in loc.; Gesen, Thesaur. page 418); but it may equally well be rendered "wrathful," or "avenging" (Hengstenberg, in loc.). The phrase רוח סערה, "stormy wind," πνεῦμα καταιγίδος, spiritus procellae, occurs in Psalms 107:25; Psalms 148:8. It is metaphorically used for the divine judgments (Ezekiel 13:11; Ezekiel 13:13). The word סערה is usually translated "whirlwind;" it means, however, more properly a storm (2 Kings 2:1; 2 Kings 2:11; Job 38:1; Job 40:6; Zechariah 9:14; Sept. συσσεισμός, λαῖλαψ, νέφος; Vulg. turbo; Sirach 43:17; συστροφὴ πνεύματος, Sirach 48:9; λαίλαπι πυρός;). We have notice in the Bible of the ilocal squalls (λαῖλαψ — Mark 4:37; Luke 8:23), to which the sea of Gennesareth was liable in consequence of its proximity to high ground, and which were sufficiently violent to endanger boats (Matthew 8:24; John 6:18).
The Hebrew word is used metaphorically for the divine judgments (Isaiah 40:24; Isaiah 41:16); and to describe them as sudden and irresistible (Jeremiah 23:19; Jeremiah 25:32; Jeremiah 30:23). "A whirlwind out of the north " (Ezekiel 1:4) denotes the invasion from Babylon. Another word, סופה, is also translated "whirlwind," and properly so.
It occurs in Job 37:9, Isaiah 21:1. It is used as a simile for complete and sudden destruction (Proverbs 1:27); and for the most rapid motion, "wheels of warchariots like a whirlwind " (Isaiah 5:28; Jeremiah 4:13). Total defeat is often compared to "chaff scattered by a whirlwind" (Isaiah 17:13). It denotes the rapidity and irresistibleness of the divine judgments (Isaiah 66:5).
The phrase "to reap the whirlwind" denotes useless labor (Hosea 8:7); "the day of the whirlwind," destruction by war (Amos 1:14). "The Lord hath his way in the whirlwind," is probably an allusion to Sinai (Nahum 1:3). A beautiful comparison occurs in Proverbs 10:25 : "As the whirlwind passeth, so is the wicked no more: but the righteous is an everlasting foundation." (See WHIRLWIND).
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McClintock, John. Strong, James. Entry for 'Wind'. Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature. https://www.studylight.org/encyclopedias/eng/tce/w/wind.html. Harper & Brothers. New York. 1870.
the Week of Proper 22 / Ordinary 27