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§ 288. on Military standards. 351

brought up the rear, ago. Each one followed the standard of his particular corps and family. When the cloud descended again, the encampment was formed in the order, mentioned in the preceding section, Num. 2: 1, 3, 10, 17, 18, 25, 31. 10: 5–8, 23–28. That the Hebrews could not, at a subsequent period, after they had settled in Palestine, observe the same order in their military expeditions, which was observed by them, while marching in the wilderness, is a matter so evident, that it hardly needs to be mentioned.


Of military standards, there were, I. The Standard, denominated :35 degel; one of which pertained to each of the four general divisions. The four standards of this name were large, and ornamented with colours in white, purple, crimson, and dark blue. The Jewish Rabbins assert, (founding their statement on Gen. 49:3, 9, 17, 22 which in this case is very doubtful authority,) that the first of these standards, viz. that of Judah, bore a lion; the second, or that of Reuben, bore a man; that of Ephraim, which was the third, displayed the figure of a bull; while that of Dan, which was the fourth, exhibited the representation of cherubim. They were wrought into the standards with embroidered work. II. The Standard, called nix oth. The ensign of this name belonged to the separate classes of families. Perhaps it was, originally, merely a pole or spear, to the end of which a bunch of leaves was fastened, or something of the kind. Subsequently, it may have been a shield, suspended on the elevated point of such pole or spear, as was sometimes done among the Greeks and Romans. III. The Standard, called to nes. This standard was not, like the others, borne from place to place. It appears from Num. 21: 8, 9.. that it was a long pole, fixed into the earth. A flag was fastened to its top, which was agitated by the wind, and seen at a great distance, Jer. 4: 6, 21. 51: 2, 12, 27. Ezek. 27: 7. In order to render it visible, as far as possible, it was erected on lofty mountains, and was in this way used as a signal, to assemble soldiers. It no sooner made its appearance on such an elevated position, 352 § 289. Respecting war.

than the war-cry was uttered, and the trumpets were blown, Is. 5: 26. 13: 2. 18; 3. 30: 17. 49: 22. 62: 10–13.

Note. It has been already remarked, that the priests blew alarms and warnings with silver trumpets. It may further be observed, that, in very many instances, such notices were given by means of horns, which were used in war likewise by many other nations, Josh. 6: 4, 5. Judg. 8:27. 6: 34. 7: 18. 1 Sam. 13: 3. 2 Sam. 2:28. 18: 16. 20. 1, 22. Is. 18; 3. Jer. 4: 5, 15, 21. 6: 1, 17. 42: 14. 51: 27. Hos. 5: 8. S: 1.

§ 289. Respecting WAR.

Previously to commencing war, the heathen nations consulted oracles, soothsayers, necromancers, and also the lot, which was ascertained by shooting arrows of different colours, 1 Sam. 28:1– 10. Is. 41:21–24. Ezek. 25: 11. The Hebrews, to whom things of this kind were interdicted, were in the habit, in the early part of their history, of inquiring of God by means of Urim and Thummim, Judg. 1: 1. 20:27, 28. 1 Sam. 23: 2. 28; 6. 30: 8.

After the time of David, the kings who reigned in Palestine, consulted according to the different characters, which they sustained, and the feelings, which they exercised, sometimes true prophets, and sometimes false, in respect to the issue of war, 1 K. 22:6– 13. 2 K. 19:2, et seq. 20, et seq. Sacrifices were also offered, in reference to which the soldiers were said “to consecrate themselves to the war,” Is. 13: 3. Jer. 6:4. 51: 27. Joel 3:9. Obad. 1. There are instances of formal declarations of war, and, sometimes, of previous negotiations, 2 K. 14: 8. 2 Chron. 25: 17. Judg. 11: 12 —28; but ceremonies of this kind were by no means always observed, 2 Sam. 10:1–12. When the enemy made a sudden incursion, or when the war was unexpectedly commenced, the alarm was given to the people by messengers rapidly sent forth, by the sound of warlike trumpets, by standards floating on the loftiest places, by the clamour of many voices on the mountains, that echoed from summit to summit, Judg. 8:27. 6:34. 7:22. 19:29, 30. 1 Sam. 11:7, 8. Is. 5:26. 13: 2. 18; 3. 30. 17. 49:2. 62: 10. Military expeditions commonly commenced in the spring, 2 Sam. 11: 1. and were continued in the summer, but in the winter, the soldiers § 290. PREPARAtions fon Battle. 353

went into quarters. There is no mention made in Scripture of a war being settled by a combat between two individuals. In the case of David and Goliath, it is true, there was a challenge and a combat, but there was no previous agreement between the two armies, which prevented the further effusion of blood.

War is considered by the Orientals, as a judgment sent from heaven. It is God, who grants victory to those who are in the right, but sends defeat upon those, who are in the wrong, 2 Chron. 20: 12. Is. 66:15, 16. This idea, viz. that God fights for the good against the wicked, very frequently discovers itself in the Old Testament, and accounts for the fact, that, not only in the Hebrew, but also in the Arabic, Syriac, and Chaldaic, words, which originally signify justice, innocence, or uprightness, signify likewise victory; and that words, whose usual meaning is injustice or wickedness, also mean defeat or overthrow. The same may be said in respect to words, which signify help or aid, [for instance Home.] in as much as the nation, which conquered, received aid from God, and God was its helper, Ps. 7: 9. 9. 9. 26: 1. 35: 24. 43: 1. 75: 3. 76: 13. 78; 9. 82: 8. 1 Sam. 14:45. 2 K. 5: 1. Is. 59: 17. Habak. 3: 8. Ps. 20: 6. 44: 5.

§ 290. PREPARAtions for BATTLE.

Before battle the various kinds of arms were put in the best order ; the shields were anointed, and the soldiers refreshed themselves by taking food, lest they should become weary and faint under the pressure of their labours, Jer. 46: 3, 4. Is. 21: 5. The soldiers, more especially the generals and kings, except when they wished to remain unknown, (1 K. 22:30–34.) were clothed in splendid habiliments, which are denominated, (Ps. 1.10: 3.) --or, wop the sacred dress. The Hebrew words for an army in battle array are pip;, Top, Ho-op, re-zo. The phrase, which is used to express the action of thus setting an army in array, is rior: T-27; it occurs in Gen. 14: S. and very frequently as: terwards, but we are left in some uncertainty in respect to its precise import. There is evidence, however, for stating as far as this, viz. that the army was probably divided into the general divisions of centre, and left, and right wing, in as much, as there is

frequent mention made of too, i.e. leaders of a third part, Gen. 354 § 291. concerNING THE BATTLE.

14: 14, 15. Judg. 7: 16–19. Exod. 14: 7. 15:4. 2 K. 7: 2. 17:19. 10:25. That the army was so arranged, as to form a phalanx of some sort, there can hardly be room for a doubt. Bodies of men drawn up in military order, in some instances, especially if danger pressed hard upon them, performed very long marches. This was the case with the Hebrews, when they departed from Egypt, Exod. 13: 18, comp. Josh. 1: 14. 4: 12. Judg. 7: 11. While the approaching army was at a distance, there was nothing discernible but a cloud of dust; as they came nearer the glittering of their arms could be discovered, and at length the manner, in which they were drawn up, might be distinctly seen, Ezek. 26; 10. Is. 14: 31. Xenophon in Expedit. Cyri I. 8, 5. It was the duty of the priests, before the commencement of the battle, to exhort the Hebrews to exhibit that courage, which was required by the exigency of the occasion. [The words, which they used, were, as follows. “Hear, O Israel; ye approach this day unto battle against your enemies; let not your hearts faint; fear not, and do not tremble; neither be ye terrified because of them. For the Lord, your God, is he, that goeth with you, to fight for you against your enemies, to save you,”] Deut. 20: 2, et seq. In more recent times, exhortations to the soldiers of this kind were given by generals, and kings, 2 Chron. 13: 4. 20: 20. In some cases, sacrifices were offered, either by some prophet, or by some other person, while he was present, 1 Sam. 13: 8—13. The last ceremony, previous to an engagement, was the sounding, ori, of the sacred trumpets by the priests, Num. 10. 9, 10. 2 Chron. 13: 12–14. 1 Macc. 3: 54.


The Greeks, while they were yet three or four furlongs distant from the enemy, commenced the song of war; something resembling which, occurs in 2 Chron. 20: 21. They then raised a shout, dow, which was also done among the Hebrews, rins, zori, Horo non-in, 1 Sam. 17: 52. Josh. 6: 6. Is. 5; 29, 30, 17: 12. Jer. 4: 19, 25; 30. The war-shout in Judg. 7:20. was, as follows; “The sword of the Lord and of Gideon,” Two Ho ans. At other times perhaps, at least in some instances, it was a mere yell or inarticulate cry. The mere march

& 291. concenNING THE BATTLE. 355

of armies with their weapons, chariots, and trampling coursers, occasioned a great and confused noise, which is compared by the prophets to the roaring of the ocean, and the dashing of the mountain torrents, Is. 17: 12, 13. 28: 2. The descriptions of battles in the Bible are very brief, but, although there is nothing especially said in respect to the order, in which the battle commenced and was conducted, there is hardly a doubt, that the light-armed troops, as was the case in other nations, were the first in the engagement. The main body followed them, and, with their spears extended, made a rapid and impetuous movement upon the enemy. Hence swiftness of foot in a soldier is mentioned, as a ground of great commendation, not only in Homer, but in the Bible, 2 Sam. 2: 19–24. 1 Chron. 12:8. Ps. 18; 33. It was often the case in battle, that soldier contended personally with soldier. As, in contests of such a nature, the victory depended on personal strength and prowess, the animosity of the combatants became very much excited, and the slaughter, in proportion to the whole number, was immense. A common stratagem of war among the Hebrews was that of dividing the army, and placing one part of it in ambush, Gen. 14: 14–16. Josh. 8: 12. Judg. 20:39. Notwithstanding it was the sentiment of the early times, of which we are speaking, that deception and art of any kind whatever, however unjust, might be lawfully employed against an enemy, there is, nevertheless, no instance of such deception recorded in the Bible, except the one in Gen. 34; 25–31. and which is there far from being approved of. If, in reference to this statement, we should be referred to the conduct of Jael, (Judg. 4; 17–22.) we should feel at liberty to say, that her daring deed could hardly be considered a stratagem, and at the worst was only pursuing a wrong course amid the collision of opposite duties. The Hebrews, when about to attack an enemy, deemed it a good reason for rejoicing, if they saw a storm arising, from the hope which they indulged in, that God was coming in the clouds to their assistance, 1 Sam. 7: 10. Judg. 5:20, 21. Josh. 10: 12–15. Habak. 3: 11. The attack, which is made by the Orientals in battle, always has been, and is, to this day, characterized for vehemence and impetuosity. In case the enemy sustain an unaltered front, they retreat, but it is not long before they return again, with renewed ar

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