This is the effect produced upon grain or other plants by the hot east winds which blow from the desert of Arabia. They usually continue to blow for two or three days at a time. If they occur in the spring near ripening time, the grain is often turned yellow and does not properly mature. The farmers dread this wind. In some localities, if they suspect that the east wind is coming, they set up a great shouting and beating of pans, hoping to drive it off. Sometimes this wind is a double pestilence, when it brings with it a cloud of locusts (2Ch 6:28). The writer, while journeying in the northern part of the Arabian desert, the source of these winds, witnessed such a cloud of locusts on their way toward habitable regions. It did not call for a very vivid imagination on the part of the children of Israel to realize the meaning of the curses and all manner of evil which would befall those who would not hearken to the voice of Yahweh. De 28:22-24 could easily be considered a poetic description of the east winds (Arabic howa sharki’yeh) which visit Palestine and Syria at irregular intervals today. The heat is fiery: it dries up the vegetation and blasts the grain; the sky is hazy and there is a glare as if the sun were reflected from a huge brass tray. Woodwork cracks and warps; the covers of books curl up. Instead of rain, the wind brings dust and sand which penetrate into the innermost corners of the dwellings. This dust fills the eyes and inflames them. The skin becomes hot and dry. To one first experiencing this storm it seems as though some volcano must be belching forth heat and ashes. No other condition of the weather can cause such depression. Such a pestilence, only prolonged beyond endurance, was to be the fate of the disobedient. This word should not be confused with mildew. Since the words blasting and mildew occur together it may be inferred that mildew (literally "a paleness") must mean the sickly color which plants assu me for other causes than the blasting of the east wind, such, as for instance, fungus diseases or parasites (1Ki 8:37; Am 4:9; Hag 2:17).

James A. Patch