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Study Resources :: Dictionaries :: Arms, Armor

Dictionaries :: Arms, Armor

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Below are articles from the following dictionary:
Smith's Bible Dictionary

Arms, Armor:

The subject naturally divides itself into-

I. Offensive weapons: Arms. and

II. Defensive weapons: Armor.

I. Offensive weapons.

(1.) Apparently the earliest known, and most widely used was the Chereb or "SWORD". Very little can be gathered as to its shape, size, material, or mode of use. Perhaps if anything is to be inferred it is that the Chereb is both a lighter and a shorter weapon than the modern sword. It was carried in a sheath (1 Samuel 17:51; 2 Samuel 20:8; 1 Chronicles 21:27) slung by a girdle (1 Samuel 25:13) and resting upon the thigh (Psalm 45:3; Judges 3:16) or upon the hips (2 Samuel 20:8).

(2.) Next we have the SPEAR; and of this weapon we meet with at least three distinct kinds.

a. The Chanîth, a "Spear," and that of the largest kind. It was the weapon of Goliath (1 Samuel 17:7, 45; 2 Samuel 21:19; 1 Chronicles 20:5) and also of other giants (2 Samuel 23:21; 1 Chronicles 11:23) and mighty warriors (2 Samuel 2:23; 23:18; 1 Chronicles 11:11, 20).

b. Apparently lighter than the preceding was the Cîdôn or "Javelin." When not in action the Cîdôn was carried on the back of the warrior (1 Samuel 17:6, Authorized Version "target".)

c. Another kind of spear was the Rômach. In the historical books it occurs in Numbers 25:7 and 1 Kings 18:28, and frequently in the later books, as in 1 Chronicles 12:8 ("buckler"); 2 Chronicles 11:12. (It varied much in length, weight, and size.)

d. The Shelach was probably a lighter missile or "dart." See 2 Chronicles 23:10; 32:5 ("darts"); Nehemiah 4:17; 4:23 (see margin); Job 33:18; 36:12; Joel 2:8.

e. Shebet, a rod or staff, is used once only to denote a weapon (2 Samuel 18:14).

(3.) Of missile weapons of offence the chief was undoubtedly the Bow, Kesheth. The ARROWS, Chitzîm, were carried in a quiver Thelî (Genesis 27:3) or Ashpâh (Isaiah 22:6; 49:2; Psalm 127:5). From an allusion in Job 6:4, they would seem to have been some times poisoned; and Psalm 120:4 may point to a practice of using arrows with some burning material attached to them.

(4.) The SLING, Kel'a is first mentioned in Judges 20:16. This simple weapon, with which David killed the giant Philistine, was the natural attendant of a shepherd. Later in the monarchy, slingers formed part of the regular army (2 Kings 3:25).

(5.) The BATTLE AXE (Jeremiah 51:20) a powerful weapon of whose exact form we have no knowledge.

II. Armor.-

(6.) The Shiryôn, or BREASTPLATE, enumerated in the description of the arms of Goliath, a "coat of mail," literally a "breastplate of scales." (1 Samuel 17:5) and further (38). This word has furnished one of the names of Mount Hermon (see Deuteronomy 3:9).

(7.) The Tacharâ, Habergeon, is mentioned but twice- in reference to the gown of the high priest (Exodus 28:32; 39:28). It was probably a quilted shirt or doublet.

(8.) The Côb'a, HELMET, is referred to in 1 Samuel 17:5; 2 Chronicles 26:14; Ezekiel 27:10.

(9.) Mitzchâh, GREAVES or defences for the feet, made of brass, are named in 1 Samuel 17:6 only.

(10.) Two kinds of SHIELD are distinguishable. SEE [SHIELD].

a. The Tzinnâh, or large shield; encompassing (Psalm 5:12) the whole person. When not in actual conflict, it was carried before the warrior (1 Samuel 17:7, 41).

b. Of smaller dimensions was the Mâgên, buckler or target, probably for use in hand‐to‐hand fight (1 Kings 10:16; 2 Chronicles 9:15, 16).


The Blue Letter Bible ministry and the BLB Institute hold to the historical, conservative Christian faith, which includes a firm belief in the inerrancy of Scripture. Since the text and audio content provided by BLB represent a range of evangelical traditions, all of the ideas and principles conveyed in the resource materials are not necessarily affirmed, in total, by this ministry.


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