Israel is having a Sirocco this week, typical of April and May, with temperatures in Jerusalem soaring to 37 degrees (98 Fahrenheit) and over 40 degrees (104) in most of the rest of the country.
Jesus said: “And when you see the south wind blowing, you say, ‘There will be scorching heat’; and it happens” (Luke 12:55).
The Sirocco comes “with a mist of fine sand, veiling the sun, scorching vegetation, and bringing languor and fever to men. They are painful airs, and, if the divine economy were only for our physical benefit, inexplicable, for they neither carry rain nor help at harvest” (George Adam Smith, The Historical Geography of the Holy Land [25th ed.; London: Hodder & Stoughton, 1894, 1931; repr. Fontana Library, 1968], 65.)
Compare “A hot wind from the bare heights in the desert toward the daughter of my people, not to winnow or cleanse…” (Jeremiah 4:11).
Children are especially susceptible to heatstroke during a Sirocco. If a small child is outside in the sun during a Sirocco without a good hat, and without drinking lots of water, the child is in serious danger. Each year during the Sirocco season several children die of heatstroke in Israel.
Apparently, a Sirocco was what caused the death of the widow’s miracle-son that Elisha raised from the dead.
The child grew. One day, he went out to his father among the reapers. Suddenly he cried to his father, “Oh, my head, my head!” His father told a servant, “Carry him to his mother.” The servant picked him up and brought him to his mother. The boy sat on her lap till noon, and then he died. (2 Kings 4:18-20)
Notice that this event occurred during the harvest season (April-May), and that the young boy was in an unshaded grain field.