Holman Bible Dictionary
Armies were organized in different ways during Israel's history. The patriarchs called upon servants and other members of the household (Genesis 14:1 ). In the wilderness Joshua led men he had chosen to defend against the Amalekites (Exodus 17:9-10 ). In the conquest Joshua led the tribes of Israel into battle after being commissioned by the “captain of the host of the Lord” (Joshua 5:14 ). At times tribes joined together to take territory (Judges 1:3; Judges 4:6 ).
Deborah summoned many of the tribes to battle, but some did not answer (Judges 5:1 ). Other judges summoned clans (Judges 6:34 ) and tribes (Judges 6:35; Judges 7:29 ). Saul first established a standing, professional army in Israel (1 Samuel 13:2 ), at first leading it himself with his son but then appointing a professional commander (1 Samuel 17:55 ). David apparently hired foreign troops loyal to him personally (2 Samuel 9:18; 2 Samuel 15:18 ). Solomon enhanced the foot soldiers with a chariot corps and calvary (1 Kings 10:26 ). The army was organized into various units with officers over each, but the precise chain of command cannot be determined (2 Chronicles 25:5 ). Humanitarian laws determined who was excused from military service and how war was conducted (Deuteronomy 20:1 ).
These dictionary topics are from the Holman Bible Dictionary, published by Broadman & Holman, 1991. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Broadman & Holman.
Butler, Trent C. Editor. Entry for 'Army'. Holman Bible Dictionary. https://www.studylight.org/dictionaries/eng/hbd/a/army.html. 1991.