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Bible Encyclopedias

Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature


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There are several words thus rendered in the English Bible, namely properly חֵו ֹ (chets, from its sharpness), of frequent occurrence (rendered "dart" in Proverbs 7:23; "wound," i.e. of an arrow, Job 34:6; "staff" by an error of transcription for עֵוֹ, the haft of a spear, 1 Samuel 17:7), with its derivatives חֵצִי (chetsi', 1 Samuel 20:36-38; 2 Kings 9:24) and חָצִוֹ (chatats', Psalms 77:17; elsewhere "gravel"); poetically רֶשֶׁ (re'sheph, Psalm 76:31, lightning, as it is elsewhere rendered), and בֶּןאּקֶשֶׁה (ben-ke'sheth, i.e. son of a bow, Job 41:28). Among the Hebrews arrows were probably at first made of reed, as common among the Egyptians; subsequently they were made from some light sort of wood, and tipped with an iron point. Whether they were ever dipped in poison is not clear from Job 6:4; Deuteronomy 32:24. They were often composed, in part at least, of the shrub רֹתֶם, ro'them, "juniper," which, being discharged from the bow while on fire, kindled upon the baggage or armament of the enemy (Psalms 120:4; Job 30:4). Hence arrows are sometimes put tropically for lightnings (Deuteronomy 32:23; Deuteronomy 32:42; Psalms 7:13; Zechariah 9:14). Arrows were used in war as well as in hunting (Genesis 27:3; Genesis 47:22). (See ARCHER). They were kept in a case called a quiver (q.v.), which was slung over the shoulder in such a position that the soldier could draw them out when needed (Psalms 91:5; Psalms 120:4). (See BOW). They were also used in divination (Ezekiel 21:21). (See DIVINATION). The arrows of the ancient Egyptians varied from 22 to 34 inches in length; some were of wood, others of reed; frequently tipped with a metal head, and winged with three feathers, glued longitudinally, and at equal distances, upon the other end of the shaft, as on modern arrows. Sometimes, instead of the metal head, a piece of hard wood was inserted into the reed, which terminated in a long tapering point; but these were of too light and powerless a nature to be employed in war, and could only have been intended for the chase; in others, the place of the metal was supplied by a small piece of flint or other sharp stone, secured by a firm black paste; and although used occasionally-in battle, they appear from the sculptures to have belonged more particularly to the huntsman; while the arrows of archers are generally represented with bronze heads, some barbed, others triangular, and many with three or four projecting blades, placed at right angles and meeting in a common point (Wilkinson, Anc. Egypt. i, 356). The ancient Assyrians appear also to have used arrows made of reeds, which were kept in a quiver slung over the back. The barbs were of iron and copper, several of which have been discovered among the ruins (Layard, Nineveh, ii, 263). (See ARMOR).

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Bibliography Information
McClintock, John. Strong, James. Entry for 'Arrow'. Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature. Harper & Brothers. New York. 1870.

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