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Bible Encyclopedias

Kitto's Popular Cyclopedia of Biblial Literature


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The Scriptures employ different words to denote carriages of different sorts, but it is not in every case easy to distinguish the kind of vehicle which these words severally denote. We are now, however, through the discovery of ancient sculptures and paintings, in possession of such information respecting the chariots of Egypt, Assyria, Babylon, and Persia, as gives advantages in the discussion of this subject which were not possessed by earlier writers. The chariots of these nations are, in fact, mentioned in the Scriptures; and by connecting the known with the unknown, we may arrive at more determinate conclusions than have hitherto been attainable.


Fig. 125—Egyptian Curricle

The first chariots mentioned in Scripture are those of the Egyptians; and by close attention to the various notices which occur respecting them, we may be able to discriminate the different kinds which were in use among that people.

The earliest notice of chariots in Scripture occurs in , where the king of Egypt honors Joseph by commanding that he should ride in the second of the royal chariots. This was doubtless a state-chariot, and the state-chariots of the Egyptians do not appear to have been different from their war-chariots, the splendid military appointments of which rendered them fit for purposes of royal pomp. We also observe that where private carriages were known, as in Egypt, they were of the same shape as those used in war, and only differed from them by having less complete military accoutrements, although even in these the case for arrows is not wanting. One of the most interesting of the Egyptian paintings represents a person of quality arriving late at an entertainment in his curricle, drawn (like all the Egyptian chariots) by two horses. He is attended by a number of running footmen, one of whom hastens forward to knock at the door of the house, another advances to take the reins, a third bears a stool to assist his master in alighting, and most of them carry their sandals in their hands that they may run with the more ease. This conveys a lively illustration of such passages as ; . The principal distinction between these private chariots and those actually used in war was, as appears from the monuments, that in the former the party drove himself, whereas in war the chariot, as among the Greeks, often contained a second person to drive it, that the warrior might be at liberty to employ his weapons with the more effect. But this was not always the case; for in the Egyptian monuments we often see even royal personages alone in their chariots, warring furiously, with the reins lashed round their waist (See fig. 126). So it appears that Jehu (wh

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Bibliography Information
Kitto, John, ed. Entry for 'Chariots'. "Kitto's Popular Cyclopedia of Biblial Literature".

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Chariots of War
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