Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature
(usually כְּלַי, ὅπλον , which denote an instrument of any kind). Among the Hebrews we find, in general, the same kinds of military weapons mentioned (1 Samuel 17:5 sq.; 2 Chronicles 26:14; Nehemiah 4:13; Nehemiah 4:16; Ezekiel 39:9; comp. Philo, Opp. 2, 530) as among other warlike nations of antiquity (see Herod, 7:61 sq.). We can therefore determine little about their precise form or material, except so far as monuments or modern usage enables us to draw, a comparison. We note the following kinds (comp. 2 Corinthians 6:7, ὅπλα; δεξιὰ καὶ ἀριστερά, Diod. Sic. 3, 51; σκεπαστηρια, ἀμυντήρια , Lat. arman et tela; see Bremi on Nepos, 14:11): —
I. Protective Weapons. — To this class belong the following:
1. The Shield (q.v.).
2. The Helmet ( כּוֹבִע or קוֹבִע, 2 Chronicles 26:14; Jeremiah 46:4; ἡ περικεφαλαία, Ephesians 6:17) of brass (1 Samuel 17:5; 1 Samuel 17:38; 1 Maccabees 6:35; comp. Diod. Sic. 5, 30; Xenoph. Anab. 1, 2, 16). Whether the Israelites also wore them of leather (neats hide, Homer, 11, 10:257 sq.; Strabo, 7:306, etc.; see Passow, s.v. κυνέη ) is uncertain, although such certainly belonged to rude ages (for the ancient Egyptian form, see Wilkinson, 1, 331). (See HELMET).
3. The Breastplate (שַׁרְיוֹן, θώραξ ), which covered the center of the person (1 Samuel 17:5; Nehemiah 4:16; 2 Chronicles 26:14; 1 Maccabees 3, 3), usually of brass (1 Samuel 17:5; Revelation 9:9; comp. Iliad, 13:371 sq., 397 sq.), and sometimes composed of plates (קִשְׂקִשַּׂים, 1 Samuel 17:5), by which, however, we must not understand the Roman lorica squameata, consisting of a leather corselet covered with brass scales. In order to would a fully equipped soldier, it was necessary to strike some spot where the brazen pieces failed to join each other fully, or where ordinary clothing intervened (1 Kings 20:34). Among the Syro- Seleucid generals we find chain armor (panoply) in use (1 Maccabees 6:35; comp. the Sept. at 1 Samuel 17:5; Diod. Sic. 5, 30); but of linen corselets (see Kopke, Kriegsw. d. Griech. p. 97 sq.) there appears no trace in the Bible. (See BREASTPLATE).
4. Greaves for protecting the knees and legs (מַצְחָה, κνημῖδες, ocreae; 1 Samuel 17:6), commonly of brass (Iliad, 7:42), were universal in classical antiquity (Xenoph. Anab. 1, 2, 16; 4:7; 16; Virgil, En. 11:177; Pliny, 34:18, etc.), and are regarded as an invention of the Carians (Pliny, 7:57). We must distinguish from these the military shoe (סְאוֹן, Isaiah 9:4), probably like the Roman caliga (see Bynaeus, De Calaeis Hebr. p. 83 sq.), a sort of half-boot of leather shod with strong nails (Juvenal, 16:24; Josephus, War, 6:1, 8; clavi caligeres, Pliny, 9:33; 22:46; 34:41). (See GREAVES); (See SHOE).
II. Aggressive Weapons. —
1. The Sword (חֶרֶב ), which was carried in a special belt at the hips (1 Samuel 17:37; 1 Samuel 25:13; 2 Samuel 20:8), but certainly not (as Jahn [Archceö l. II, 2, 40] falsely argues from Judges 3:16; Judges 3:21; Josephus, War, 3, 5, 5) on the right side (see the figures of Ninevites in the Journal Asiatique, 1840, 7 pl. 3, 6, 7, 10; 10:17, 19, 22, 53, etc.). It was enclosed in a sheath (תִּעִר, 1 Samuel 17:51; 2 Samuel loc. cit.; נָדָן, 1 Chronicles 21:27; θήκη, John 18:11), hence the phrase "to draw the sword" (הֵרַיק חֶרֶב, or שָׁלִ, or פָּתִח ), and was double-edged (פַיּות
שְׂנֵי, Judges 3:16; Proverbs 5:4; δίστομος , Hebrews 4:12; Revelation 1:61; 2:12; ἀμφήκης, Iliad, 21:118). It was used both for striking and stabbing (1 Samuel 31:4; 2 Samuel 2, 16; 2 Samuel 20:10, etc.). The Sept. usually translates the Heb. חֶרֶב by μάχαιρα , which latter occurs in the New Test., and originally denoted the short dagger (comp. Iliad, 3, 271 sq.), but later any (curved) saber in distinction from. ξίφος, the proper (military) sword; but that חֶרֶב also signifies the straight sword there can be no doubt. The Roman sica, a somewhat curved poniard, was introduced later among the Jews, and became, shortly before the destruction of Jerusalem, the deadly weapon of the bold robbers, who hence were called Sicarii (Josephuas, Ant. 20:8, 10; War, 7:10, 1; Life, § 56). (See SWORD).
2. The Spear, lance, or dart, was used as a weapon both for thrusting (close at hand) and for throwing (at a short distance), like the δόρυ of the Greeks (Strabo, 10:448); but chiefly for the former (see 1 Samuel 18:1; 1 Samuel 19:10; 1 Samuel 20:33). The usual Heb. designations are רֹמִח and חֲנַית, which can hardly be distinguished, except that the latter is generally used in connection with the sword (or bow), while both appear in connection with the shield (Judges 5:8; 1 Samuel 17:15). Instead of either word, we sometimes find קִיַו (2 Samuel 21:16) and כַּידוֹן (Joshua 8:18; Joshua 8:26; 1 Samuel 17:6; Job 41:21); also שֶׁבֶט in some cases (2 Samuel 18:14, according to some). They are also thought to have been used as standards for colors (Gesen. Thesaur. p. 683). The spears (see the Persepolitan specimens in Porter, Travels, 1, pl. 36, 40, 46, 49) had a wooden shaft (חֵוֹ, 1 Samuel 17:7; or עֵוֹ, 2 Samuel 21:19; 2 Samuel 23:7) and an iron point (1 Samuel 17:7). Ash or fir was preferred (Virgil, En. 11:667; Homer, II. 19:390 sq.; 22:293; Odys. 14:281; Ovid, Ietam. 10. 93; Statius, Theb. 6:102; comp. Pliny. 16:24), and hence many (so Rosenmü ller) explain Nahum 2:4; but בּרוֹשׁ . is probably cypress (q.v.). The hasta of the Romans, a weapon for throwing, is called λόγχη in the New Test. (John.19, 34; comp. 2 Maccabees 5, 2; 2 Maccabees 15:11; see Alstorph. De Hastis Veter. [Amst. 1757]). (See SPEAR).
3. The Bow .(q.v.) in connection with Arrows (q.v.).
4. The Sling (q.v.).
5. A Battle-axe (see Wilkinson, 1, 323, 325 sq.) is named (סַגוֹר, Psalms 35:3; comp. the σάγαρις of the Scythians, Massageta, and Persians, Herod. 1, 215; 4:70; 7:64; Xenoph. Cyrop. 1, 2, 9; 2, 1, 9; Strabo, 15:734; the Armenian sacr) as a special weapon of attack (comp. the קִרְדְּמּוֹת of the Chaldaeans, Jeremiah 46:2). A sledge-hammer may perhaps be meant in one passage (מֵפַיוֹ, Proverbs 25:18; Sept. ῥόπαλον; comp. Odys. 11:575); but it is probably only the ordinary mallet (מִפֵּוֹ ). See generally Bosvelt [Rau] De Armis Vett, Hebr. (Tr. ad Rh. 1781); Jahn, Archaö l. II, 2, 400 sq.; Seume, Armna Vett. cum Nostris Comniparata (Lips. 1792) (See ARMOR).
Of the custom of many nations of burying arms with a warrior in the grave, there is no trace in the Bible (see Ezekiel 22:27; 1 Maccabees 13:29; comp. Tacitus, Gerz. 27; Rosenmü ller, Morgenl. 4, 343 sq.). Captured weapons were suspended in temples or burned in heaps (Isaiah 9:4 sq.; Ezekiel 39:9; comp. Virgil. in. 8:562 sq.). Arsenals (בָּתֵּי כֵלַים, 2 Kings 20:13; Isaiah 39:2; ὁπλοθήκη, Josephus, War, 2, 17, 9) were erected in cities for the deposit of weapons. (See ARMORY).
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McClintock, John. Strong, James. Entry for 'Weapon'. Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature. https://www.studylight.org/encyclopedias/eng/tce/w/weapon.html. Harper & Brothers. New York. 1870.