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Bible Encyclopedias

Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature


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(in Proverbs 7:23, חֵוֹ, chets, an arrow, as elsewhere; in Job 41:26, מִסָּע, massa', an arrow; in 2 Samuel 17:14, שֵׁבֶט, sherbet, a rod or staff, as elsewhere; in 2 Chronicles 32:5, שֶׁלִח, she'lach, any missile weapon; in Job 41:29, תּוֹתָח, tothach', a bludgeon; in the New. Test. βέλος, Ephesians 6:16, or βολίς, Hebrews 12:20, a javelin), an instrument of war similar to an arrow or light spear. It is thought that the Hebrews were in the habit of discharging darts from the bow while on fire. These fiery darts were made of the shrub rothem or Spanish broom (the Spartium junceum of Linn.), which grows abundantly in the Arabian desert. It is probably in reference to this fact that arrows are sometimes compared to lightnings (Deuteronomy 32:23; Deuteronomy 32:42; Psalms 7:13; Psalms 120:4; Zechariah 9:14). The fiery darts among the Romans, according to Ammianus Marcellinus, consisted of a hollow reed, to the lower part of which, under the point or barb, was fastened a round receptacle, made of iron, for combustible materials, so that such an arrow had the form of a distaff. This was filled with burning naphtha, and when the arrow or dart was shot from a slack bow (for if discharged from a tight bow the fire went out) it struck the enemies' ranks and remained fixed, the flame consuming whatever it met with; water poured on it increased its violence, and there were no other means to extinguish it but by throwing earth upon it. Similar darts or arrows, which were twined round with tar and pitch and set fire to, are described by Livy as having been made use of by the inhabitants of the city of Saguntum when besieged by the Romans (Hist. 21:9). The apostle alludes to these fiery darts in Ephesians 6:11-16. (See ARMS).

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

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the Week of Proper 4 / Ordinary 9
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