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Dictionaries :: War

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Easton's Bible Dictionary


The Israelites had to take possession of the Promised Land by conquest. They had to engage in a long and bloody war before the Canaanitish tribes were finally subdued. Except in the case of Jericho and Ai, the war did not become aggressive till after the death of Joshua. Till then the attack was always first made by the Canaanites. Now the measure of the iniquity of the Canaanites was full, and Israel was employed by God to sweep them away from off the face of the earth. In entering on this new stage of the war, the tribe of Judah, according to divine direction, took the lead.

In the days of Saul and David the people of Israel engaged in many wars with the nations around, and after the division of the kingdom into two they often warred with each other. They had to defend themselves also against the inroads of the Egyptians, the Assyrians, and the Babylonians. The whole history of Israel from first to last presents but few periods of peace.

The Christian life is represented as a warfare, and the Christian graces are also represented under the figure of pieces of armour (Eph 6:11-17; 1Th 5:8; 2Ti 2:3,4). The final blessedness of believers is attained as the fruit of victory (Rev 3:21).

Torrey's New Topical Textbook

War: Antiquity Of

Gen 14:2

War: Originates in the Lusts of Men

Jam 4:1

War: A Time For

Ecc 3:8

War: God

Frequently ordered

Exd 17:16; Num 31:1,2; Deu 7:1,2; 1Sa 15:1-3

Taught His people the art of

2Sa 22:35

Strengthens His people for

Lev 26:7,8

Gives the victory in

Num 21:3; Deu 2:33; 3:3; 2Sa 23:10; Pro 21:31

Causes to cease

Psa 46:9

Scatters those who delight in

Psa 68:30

War: Large Armies Frequently Engaged In

2Ch 13:3; 14:9

War: Weapons Used In

Jos 1:14; Jdg 18:11

War: Preceded By


Luk 14:31; Pro 24:6

Great preparation

Joe 3:9


Jer 4:19; Mat 24:6

War: Frequently Long Continued

2Sa 3:1

War: Frequently Sore and Bloody

1Sa 14:22; 1Ch 5:22; 2Ch 14:13; 28:6

War: Often Attended By


Isa 51:19; Jer 14:15; Lam 5:10


Jer 27:13; 28:8


Jer 18:21; Lam 5:11-14


Isa 1:7

War: Records Often Kept Of

Num 21:14

War: Often Sent as a Punishment for Sin

Jdg 5:8

War: The Jews

Were expert in

1Ch 12:33,35,36; Sgs 3:8

Frequently engaged in (See Joshua chapters 6 through 11)

1Ki 14:30; 15:7,16

War: Illustrative Of

Our contest with death

Ecc 8:8

The contest of saints with the enemies of their salvation

Rom 7:23; 2Cr 10:3; Eph 6:12; 1Ti 1:18

The contest between Antichrist and the Church

Rev 11:7; 13:4,7

The malignity of the wicked

Psa 55:21

Smith's Bible Dictionary


The most important topic in connection with war is the formation of the army which is destined to carry it on. SEE [ARMY]. In 1 Kings 9:22 at a period (Solomon's reign) when the organization of the army was complete, we have apparently a list of the various gradations of rank in the service, as follows:

(1.) "Men of war"-privates;

(2.) "servants," the lowest rank of officers-lieutenants;

(3.) "princes"-captains;

(4.) "captains," perhaps-staff officers;

(5.) "rulers of the chariots and his horsemen"-cavalry officers.

Formal proclamations of war were not interchanged between the belligerents. Before entering the enemy's district spies were seat to ascertain the character of the country and the preparations of its inhabitants for resistance (Numbers 13:17; Joshua 2:1; Judges 7:10; 1 Samuel 26:4). The combat assumed the form of a number of hand‐to‐hand contests; hence the high value attached to fleetness of foot and strength of arm (2 Samuel 1:23; 2:18; 1 Chronicles 12:8). At the same time various strategic devices were practiced, such as the ambuscade (Joshua 8:2; 8:12; Judges 20:36) surprise (Judges 7:16) or circumvention (2 Samuel 5:23). Another mode of settling the dispute was by the selection of champions (1 Samuel 17; 2 Samuel 2:14) who were spurred on to exertion by the offer of high reward (1 Samuel 17:25; 18:25; 2 Samuel 18:11; 1 Chronicles 11:6). The contest having been decided, the conquerors were recalled from the pursuit by the sound of a trumpet (2 Samuel 2:28; 18:16; 20:22).

The siege of a town or fortress was conducted in the following manner: A line of circumvallation was drawn round the place (Ezekiel 4:2; Micah 5:1) constructed out of the trees found in the neighborhood (Deuteronomy 20:20) together with earth and any other materials at hand. This line not only cut off the besieged from the surrounding country, but also served as a base of operations for the besiegers. The next step was to throw out from this line one or more mounds or "banks" in the direction of the city (2 Samuel 20:15; 2 Kings 19:32; Isaiah 37:33) which were gradually increased in height until they were about half as high as the city wall. On this mound or bank towers were erected (2 Kings 25:1; Jeremiah 52:4; Ezekiel 4:2; 17:17; 21:22; 26:8) whence the slingers and archers might attack with effect. Catapults were prepared for hurling large darts and stones; and the crow, a long spar, with iron claws at one end and ropes at the other, to pull down stones or men from the top of the wall. Battering‐rams (Ezekiel 4:2; 21:22) were brought up to the walls by means of the bank, and scaling‐ladders might also be placed on it.

The treatment of the conquered was extremely severe in ancient times. The bodies of the soldiers killed in action were plundered (1 Samuel 31:8; 2 Maccabees 8:27). The survivors were either killed in some savage manner (Judges 9:45; 2 Samuel 12:31; 2 Chronicles 25:12) mutilated (Judges 1:6; 1 Samuel 11:2) or carried into captivity (Numbers 31:26).


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