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War


War. The most important topic in connection with war is the formation of the army which is destined to carry it on. [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 his chariots and his horsemen” = cavalry officers. Formal proclamations of war were not interchanged between the belligerents. Before entering the enemy’s district spies were sent to ascertain the character of the country and the preparations of its inhabitants for resistance. Num. 13:17; Josh. 2:1; Judges 7:10; 1 Sam. 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 Sam. 1:23; 2:18; 1 Chron. 12:8. At the same time various strategic devices were practiced, such as the ambuscade, Josh. 8:2, 12; Judges 20:36, surprise, Judges 7:16, or circumvention. 2 Sam. 5:23. Another mode of settling the dispute was by the selection of champions, 1 Sam. 17; 2 Sam. 2:14, who were spurred on to exertion by the offer of high reward. 1 Sam. 17:25; 18:25; 2 Sam. 18:11; 1 Chron. 11:6. The contest having been decided, the conquerors were recalled from the pursuit by the sound of a trumpet. 2 Sam. 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, Ezek. 4:2; Micah 5:1, constructed out of the trees found in the neighborhood, Deut. 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 Sam. 20:15; 2 Kings 19:32; Isa. 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; Jer. 52:4; Ezek. 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, Ezek. 4:2; 21:22, were brought up to the walls by means of the bank, and sealing-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 Sam. 31:8; 2 Macc. 8:27; the survivors were either killed in some savage manner, Judges 9:45; 2 Sam. 12:31; 2 Chron. 25:12, mutilated, Judges 1:6; 1 Sam. 11:2, or carried into captivity. Num. 31:26.

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The Catapult, a machine for throwing heavy darts.

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The Crow.

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Battering-ram and Tower.