Heat (usually חֹם,'chom, הִמָּה, chammah', or חֵמָה chemah'), besides its ordinary meaning, has several peculiar uses in Scripture. In Isa 49:10, and Re 7:16, there is a reference to the burning wind of the desert, the simoom or samiel, described by travelers as exceedingly pestilential and fatal. It is highly probable that this was the instrument with which God destroyed the army of Sennacherib (2Ki 19:7,35). Its effects are evidently alluded to in Ps 103:15-16, and in Jer 4:11. Thevenot mentions such a wind, which in q658 suffocated 20,000 men in one night, and another which in 1655 suffocated 4000 persons. It sometimes burns up the corn when near its maturity, and hence the image of "corn blasted before it be grown up," used in 2Ki 19:26. Its effect is not only to render the air extremely hot and scorching, but to fill it with poisonous and suffocating vapors. The most violent storms that Judaea was subject to came from the deserts of Arabia. "Out of the south cometh the whirlwind," says Job (Job 37:9); "And there came a great wind from the wilderness" (Job 1:19). Zec 9:14: "And Jehovah shall appear over them, and his arrow shall go forth as the lightning; and the Lord Jehovah shall sound the trumpet, and shall march in the whirlwinds of the south." The 91st Psalm, which speaks of divine protection, describes the plague as arrows, and in those winds there are observed flashes of fire. In Nu 13:3, the place in which the plague was inflicted upon the Israelites is for that reason called Taberah, i.e. a burning. A plague is called דֶּבֶר, deber', as a desert is called מַדנבָּר, midbar', because those winds came from the desert, and are real plagues. This hot wind, when used as a symbol, signifies the fire of persecution, or else some prodigious wars which destroy men. For wind signifies war; and scorching heat signifies persecution and destruction. So in Mt 13:6,21, and Lu 8:6-13, heat is tribulation, temptation, or persecution; and in 1Pe 4:12, burning tends to temptation. A gentle heat of the sun, according to the Oriental interpreters, signifies the favor and bounty of the prince; but great heat denotes punishment. Hence the burning of the heavens is a portent explained in Livy (3, 5) of slaughter. Thus in Ps 121:6: "The sun shall not smite thee by day, nor the moon by night," is in the next place explained thus, "Jehovah shall preserve thee from all evil; he shall preserve thy soul." SEE FIRE.