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People's Dictionary of the Bible


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Army. I. Jewish army. Every able-bodied man over 20 years of age was a soldier, Numbers 1:3; each tribe formed a division, with its own banner and its own leader, Numbers 2:2; Numbers 10:14; their positions in the camp and on the march were fixed. Numbers 2:1-34; the whole army started and stopped at a given signal, Numbers 10:5-6; so they came up out of Egypt. Exodus 13:18. On the approach of an enemy a selection was made from the general body, Deuteronomy 20:5; 2 Kings 25:19; and officers were appointed, Deuteronomy 20:9. The army was then divided into thousands and hundreds under captains. Numbers 2:34; Numbers 31:14; 2 Chronicles 25:5; 2 Chronicles 26:12. With the kings arose the custom of a body-guard and a standing army. David's band of 600, 1 Samuel 23:13; 1 Samuel 25:13, he retained after he became king, and added the Cherethites and Pelethites. 2 Samuel 15:18; 2 Samuel 20:7. David organized a national militia, divided into twelve divisions, under their respective officers, each of which was called out for one month in the year. 1 Chronicles 27:1-34. The maintenance and equipment of the soldiers at the public expense date from the establishment of a standing army. II. Roman army. The Roman army was divided into legions. The number in a legion varied from 3000 to 6000, each under "chief captains," Acts 21:31, who commanded by turns. The legion was subdivided into ten cohorts ("band,"), Acts 10:1; the cohort into three maniples, and the maniple into two centuries, containing originally 100 men, as the name implies: but subsequently from 50 to 100 men, according to the strength of the legion. There were thus sixty centuries in a legion, each under the command of a centurion. Acts 10:1; Acts 10:22; Matthew 8:5; Matthew 27:54. In addition to the legionary cohorts, independent cohorts of volunteers served under the Roman standards. One of these cohorts was named the Italian, Acts 10:1, because the soldiers in it were from Italy.

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These files are public domain.
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Bibliography Information
Rice, Edwin Wilbur, DD. Entry for 'Army'. People's Dictionary of the Bible. 1893.

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