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Bible Encyclopedias

Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature

Chariots of War

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(Exodus 14:7; 2 Samuel 8:4). One class of carriages thus denominated were used as the common vehicles of princes and generals; but another formed the most terrible of military engines, and were employed in great numbers to break the enemy's battalions by rushing in among them (1 Samuel 13:5; 1 Chronicles 18:4). Like other ancient carriages, they had usually only two wheels; and iron hooks or scythes, strong and sharp, were affixed to the extremities of the axles on each side, which made dreadful havoc among the troops (Joshua 11:4 Judges 4:3; Judges 4:13). Warriors sometimes fought standing on them, or leaping from them upon the enemy. The chariots in the army of Cyrus were capacious enough to permit twenty men to fight from them. If we examine the sculptures of Egypt, we find that the strength of the armies of the Pharaohs was in their chariots, an Egyptian army being composed exclusively of infantry and bigas, or two-horsed chariots, which carry the driver and the warrior. In no instance is an Egyptian ever represented on horseback. Such palpable evidence that the Egyptians did not employ cavalry is difficult to reconcile with the Scripture account of the pursuit of 'the Israelites, which expressly speaks of " the horses and chariots of Pharaoh, and his horsemen" (Exodus 14:9). Hengstenberg, after a critical examination of the text, says, in his Egypt and the Books of Moses (p. 126), that "Moses does not mention cavalry at all; that, according to him, the Egyptian army is composed only of chariots of war, and that he therefore agrees in a wonderful manner with the native Egyptian monuments." (See ARMY);(See CHARIOT).

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

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