From BiblePortal Wikipedia

Fausset's Bible Dictionary [1]

In Israel's, at the Exodus, every man above 20 was a soldier ( Numbers 1:3); each tribe a battalion, with its own banner and leader ( Numbers 2:2;  Numbers 10:5-6;  Numbers 10:14). Their positions in camp and on march were accurately fixed. The whole host moved according to preappointed alarms on the trumpet. So ( Exodus 13:18) they "went up harnessed" (margin five in a rank; Chamushim , from Chameesh , "five"; or from Chomesh , "the loins," with the loins girt), prepared for the march, not fleeing away as fugitives. Five was a number regarded as inauspicious by the Egyptians, but honored by Israel; witness the five books of the pentateuch, the Jubilee of fifty years. Manetho describes the Israelites as 250,000 lepers, five X fifty thousand. The exactness of their martial order is implied in Balaam's metaphors ( Numbers 24:6).

The "scribe of the host" made the conscription and chose the officers when needful ( Deuteronomy 20:5-9;  2 Kings 25:19;  2 Chronicles 26:11). The army was divided into thousands and hundreds with captains over each; the family too was respected in the army organization, as being the unit in the Jewish polity ( Numbers 2:34;  Numbers 31:14). Before the time of the kings their tactics were of a loose desultory kind; but the kings established a body guard, the first step toward a standing army. Saul had 3000 picked men ( 1 Samuel 13:2;  1 Samuel 14:52;  1 Samuel 24:2). David had 600 before his accession ( 1 Samuel 23:13); after it he added the Cherethites and Pelethites and Gittites ( 2 Samuel 8:18;  2 Samuel 15:18), and veteran guards ( Shalishim , "captains,"  1 Chronicles 12:18;  Ezekiel 23:15;  Ezekiel 23:23, "princes," "great lords") whose "chief" was about David's person as adjutant. He called out also monthly a regiment of national militia, twelve regiments in all, under officers ( 1 Chronicles 27:1).

A "captain of the host," or commander in chief, led the army in time of war; as Abner under Saul, Joab under David. Judaea and the northern kingdom Israel being hilly, were little suited for chariots and horsemen, except in the plains of Esdraelon and Philistia, and toward Egypt and Syria. Moreover, God had forbidden the multiplication of horses ( Deuteronomy 17:16). But their own unfaithfulness exposed them to the enemy's powerful chariots; so they too longed to have similar ones ( Joshua 17:16;  Joshua 11:9;  Judges 1:19;  Judges 4:2;  1 Samuel 13:5). David reserved 100 from the Syrian spoils ( 2 Samuel 8:4). Solomon afterward largely increased the number from Egypt ( 1 Kings 10:26-29;  1 Kings 9:19); in all 1400 chariots, 12000 horsemen. The grades in the army appear in  1 Kings 9:22, "men of war" (privates), servants (subalterns), princes (captains), captains (staff officers), rulers of chariots and horsemen (cavalry officers).

The body guard was permanently maintained ( 1 Kings 14:28), the militia only exceptionally called out. The Syrians reduced the cavalry to a mere fragment in Jehoahaz's reign. Jotham in Judah had a large cavalry force ( Isaiah 2:7), but it was much brought down in Hezekiah's reign, so that the Jews, in violation of God's prohibition ( Deuteronomy 17:16), looked to Egypt for horses and chariots ( Isaiah 31:1;  Isaiah 36:9;  Psalms 20:7). In action the army was often in three divisions ( Judges 7:16;  1 Samuel 11:11;  2 Samuel 18:2). Jehoshaphat divided his into five bodies (answering to the five geographical divisions then), but virtually Judah's heavy armed men formed the main army, the two light armed divisions of Benjamin the subsidiary bodies. At the Exodus the number of soldiers was 600,000 ( Exodus 12:37), at the borders of Canaan 601,730; under David, 1,300,000 men capable of service, namely, 800,000 for Israel, 500,000 for Judah ( 2 Samuel 24:9), but in  1 Chronicles 21:5-6 it is 1,570,000; namely, 1,100,000 for Israel, and 470,000 for Judah.

The discrepancy is due to the census having been broken off ( 1 Chronicles 27:24). The militia ( 1 Chronicles 27:1, etc.), 288,000, was probably included in Chronicles, not in Samuel. The exact census was not entered in the annals of the kingdom ( 1 Chronicles 27:24); hence the amount is given in round and not exact numbers. Levi and Benjamin were not reckoned, the latter owing to Joab's repugnance to the census ( 1 Chronicles 21:6). Jehoshaphat's army was 1,160,000 ( 2 Chronicles 17:14-18). John Hyrcanus first introduced mercenaries. The Roman army was divided into legions, each under six tribunes ("chief captains," chiliarchs,  Acts 21:31), who commanded in turn. The legion had 10 cohorts ("bands," speira,  Acts 10:1), the cohort into three maniples, the maniple into two centuries (each 100 men originally), commanded by a centurion ( Acts 10:1-22;  Matthew 8:5).

The "Italian band" or cohort consisted of volunteers from Italy, perhaps the procurator's body guard. "Augustus' band" or cohort ( Acts 27:1) were either volunteers from Sebaste, or a cohort similar to "the Augustan legion." Caesarea was the Roman head quarters in Palestine. The ordinary guard was a quaternion of four soldiers, answering to the four watches of the night, and relieving each other every three hours ( Acts 12:4;  John 19:23). Two watched outside a prisoner's door, two inside ( Acts 12:6). "The captain of the guard" ( Acts 28:16) was probably commander of the Praetorian guards, to whom prisoners from the provinces were committed. The "spearmen" ( Dexiolabi ;  Acts 23:23) were light armed body guards, literally "protecting the right side," or else "grasping the weapon with the right hand."

Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament [2]

This term occurs in  Acts 23:27,  Revelation 9:16;  Revelation 19:14;  Revelation 19:19 (in the last three instances referring to armies [στρατεύματα] of apocalyptic vision). On the outbreak of a tumult in the Temple at Jerusalem, the chief captain of the band came on the scene, as he afterwards reported, σύν τῷ στρατεύματι (Authorized Version‘with an army,’ Revised Version‘with the soldiers’). The little force thus described ( Acts 23:27) was a fraction of the vast army which maintained law and order throughout the Roman Empire. In the first month of 29 b.c., a year after the battle of Actium, the gates of the temple of Janus at Rome were closed for the first time in 200 years. That significant act was the beginning of the Pax Romana. The Civil War was ended, and the State had no more foreign foes to fear. Augustus found himself master of three standing armies, his own and those of Lepidus and Antony, amounting to 45 legions. He at once undertook that task of military reorganization which was perhaps his greatest and most original achievement. By ruthlessly eliminating inferior elements he obtained a thoroughly efficient force of 25 legions. The time for great field forces, such as Scipio and Caesar had wielded, was now past. An army that could be swiftly mobilized was no longer a necessity, and might easily become a menace, to the Empire. Augustus initiated the policy, which was respected by his successors down to the time of the Antonines, of ‘maintaining the dignity of the Empire, without attempting to enlarge its limits’ (Gibbon, Hist. , ch. 1). His conservative policy determined his use of the army. Distributing the legions in the frontier provinces of the Empire-which had the Atlantic as its boundary on the west, the Rhine and the Danube on the north, the Euphrates on the east, and the deserts of Arabia and Africa on the south-he charged them to guard the borders which were exposed to the attacks of restless barbarians. Italy itself was garrisoned by the Praetorian cohorts (see Praetorium).

The legions were recruited from the Roman citizens of Italy and the provinces. Each consisted of 6000 heavy infantry divided into ten cohorts, with a troop of 120 horsemen to act as dispatch riders. The legion was no longer under six tribunes commanding by turns. The supreme authority was now entrusted to a legatus legionis , who was the deputy of the Emperor as commander-in-chief of the whole army. The efficiency of the soldiers depended largely upon the 60 centurions, who formed the backbone of the legion. The term of service was 20 years, and on discharge the legionary received a bounty or land. Many coloniœ were formed for the purpose of providing homes for veterans. Each legion bore a title and a number, e.g. , ‘VI. Victrix’ stationed at York, ‘III. Gallica’ at Antioch.

But the legions were not the only guardians of the peace of the Empire. Augustus developed a new order of auxilia . Regiments of infantry ( cohortes ) or cavalry ( alœ ), 500 to 1000 strong, were recruited from the subjects, not the citizens, of the provinces, and formed a second force equal in numbers if not in importance to the first. It is estimated that the two forces together made up a regular, long-service army of 400,000 men. The auxiliaries were more lightly armed than the legionaries (see Armour); they were not so well paid; and on their discharge they received a bounty or the Roman franchise.

As Judaea was a province of the second rank, governed by a procurator, it was not (like Syria) garrisoned by legionaries, but by auxiliaries, who had their headquarters in Caesarea. The cohortes and alœ were recruited from the Greek cities of Palestine, from which they derived their names, such as ‘Cohors Sebastenorum,’ or ‘Tyriorum.’ The Jews were expressly exempted from military service under the Roman banners and eagles, which they regarded as idolatrous. Julius Caesar’s edict granting this privilege is preserved by Josephus ( Ant . xiv. x. 6).

At the time of the death of Herod Agrippa (a.d. 44), an ala of cavalry and five cohorts were stationed at Caesarea (Jos. Ant . xix. ix. 1-2). Probably they had once belonged to the army of Herod the Great, and had been taken over by the Romans after the deposition of his son Archelaus in a.d. 6 (Schürer, History of the Jewish People (Eng. tr. of GJV).] i. ii. 51). They are often mentioned in the period a.d. 44-66 ( Ant . xx. vi. 1, viii. 7), and they were finally drafted into Vespasian’s army in a.d. 67. The relation of the Italian and Augustan cohorts (see Augustan Band and Italian Band) to these auxiliaries is a difficult question. The cohort (σπεῖρα), military tribune (χιλίαρχος), and centurions (ἐκατοντάρχαι) mentioned in the story of St. Paul’s arrest at Jerusalem and transference to Caesarea (Acts 21-23) certainly belonged to the Judaea n auxilia . A single cohort formed the normal garrison of the Holy City (Jos. Bellum Judaicum (Josephus) v. v. 8, where τάγμα is used instead of the more correct σπεῖρα). The barracks (παρεμβολή, used six times in the same narrative) adjoined the fortress of Antonio, close to the N.E. corner of the Temple area (see Castle). At the Jewish festivals a stronger body of troops was drafted from Caesarea for the purpose of keeping order among the pilgrims in the crowded Temple precincts, as the Turkish soldiers now do at Easter among the Christian sects in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. St. Paul was escorted from Jerusalem to Antipatris by 200 foot-soldiers, 70 horsemen (ἱππεῖς), and 200 spearmen (δεξιολάβοι), and thence to Caesarea by the horsemen alone. The precise function of the δεξιολάβοι (an exceedingly rare word, meaning apparently ‘those who grasped their weapons with the right hand’) is very doubtful; see Schürer, i. ii. 56, and Meyer, in loco .

Literature.-Article‘Exercitus’ in Smith’s Dict. of Gr. and Rom. Ant . 3, London, 1891 (by W. Ramsay), and in Pauly-Wissowa[Note: auly-Wissowa Pauly-Wissowa’s Realencyklopädie.], (by Liebenam); E. Schürer, History of the Jewish People (Eng. tr. of GJV).] 1. ii. 49ff.; E. G. Hardy, Studies in Roman History , London, 1906-09; and article‘Army’ (A. R. S. Kennedy) in Hastings’ Single-vol. Dictionary of the Bible .

James Strahan.

Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible [3]

ARMY . 1 . In default of a strong central authority; an army in the sense of a permanently organized and disciplined body of troops was an impossibility among the Hebrews before the establishment of the monarchy. The bands that followed a Gideon or a Jephthah were hastily improvised levies from his own and neighbouring clans, whose members returned with their share of the spoil to their ordinary occupations when the fray was at an end. The first step towards a more permanent arrangement was taken by Saul in his operations against the Philistines (  1 Samuel 13:2; cf.   1 Samuel 14:52 ). David, however, was the first to establish the nucleus of a standing army, by retaining as a permanent bodyguard 600 ‘mighty men’ (their official title) who had gathered round him in his exile (  1 Samuel 23:13;   1 Samuel 30:9 ,   2 Samuel 10:7;   2 Samuel 16:6 ). To these were added the mercenary corps of the Cherethites and Pelethites (wh. see), and a company of 600 Gittites (  2 Samuel 15:18 ). Apart from these, David’s armies were raised by levy as before, but now from the whole nation, hence the technical use of ‘the people’ in the sense of ‘the army’ (  2 Samuel 20:12 and often). Solomon’s organization of his kingdom into administrative districts (  1 Kings 4:7 ff.) doubtless included matters of army administration (cf.   1 Kings 4:28 ,   1 Kings 9:19 ,   1 Kings 10:26 ).

2 . The organization of the Hebrew army was by units of thousands, originally associated with the civil divisions of the same name, with subdivisions of hundreds, fifties, and tens (  1 Samuel 8:12;   1 Samuel 17:18; 1Sa 22:7 ,   2 Kings 1:9 ff;   2 Kings 11:4 ), an arrangement which continued into the Maccabæan period ( 1Ma 3:55 ). Each of these divisions had its special ‘captain.’ The whole was under the supreme command of the ‘captain of the host.’ The relative positions and duties of the shôterîm (AV [Note: Authorized Version.] ‘officers’) and other military officials are quite uncertain. The former appear to have been charged with keeping and checking the lists of the quotas to be furnished by the various districts (  Deuteronomy 20:5 ff.).

3 . The army was composed in early times entirely, and at all times chiefly, of infantry, the bulk of whom were armed with the spear or pike and the large shield or target (see Armour). The archers carried a sword and buckler (  1 Chronicles 5:18 ), and with the slingers (  2 Chronicles 26:14 ) made up the light infantry. Chariots, although long before a vital part of the forces of the surrounding nations, were first introduced into the Hebrew army by Solomon (  1 Kings 4:25; 1Ki 9:22;   1 Kings 10:26 ff.; see Chariot, Horse).

4 . The period during which a citizen was liable for military service extended from his twentieth (  Numbers 1:3 ,   2 Chronicles 25:6 ) to his fiftieth year (Jos. [Note: Josephus.] Ant . III. xii. 4). Exemption was granted in the cases specified in   Deuteronomy 20:6 ff., at least under the Maccabees ( 1Ma 3:56 ), and to the members of the priestly caste (  Numbers 2:33 ).

5 . As regards maintenance, each city and district had doubtless to supply its own quota with provisions, in so far as these were not drawn from the enemy’s country. The soldier’s recompense consisted in his share of the loot, the division of which was regulated by the precedent of   1 Samuel 30:24 . The first mention of regular pay is in connexion with the army of Simon Maccabæus ( 1Ma 14:32 ). Foreign mercenaries figure largely in the armies of the later Maccabæan princes and of Herod. No reference has been made to the numbers of the Hebrew armies, since these have in so many cases been greatly corrupted in transmission.

For methods of mobilization, tactics, etc., see War, also Fortification and Siegecraft; and for the Roman army in NT times see Legion.

A. R. S. Kennedy.

Morrish Bible Dictionary [4]

It must be remembered that Israel were the hosts of Jehovah, keeping His charge and fighting His battles.  Exodus 12:41;  Joshua 5:14 . It appears that all who reached the age of twenty years were contemplated as able to bear arms,  Numbers 1:3; and they marched and encamped in 4 divisions of 3 tribes each, with a captain over every tribe. The subdivisions were into thousands and hundreds,  Numbers 31:14 , and into families.  Joshua 7:17 . There were also trumpet calls,  Numbers 10:9 (cf.   1 Corinthians 14:8 ), and all the appearance of careful organisation. Until the time of the kings this natural or tribal organisation seems to have been usual, but in the time of Saul there was a body guard,  1 Samuel 13:2 , and a captain of the host,  1 Samuel 17:55 . In David's days those heroes who were with him in the cave of Adullam formed the nucleus of his 'mighty men.'  2 Samuel 23:8-39 . They were devoted to the service of God's king. David afterwards organised a monthly militia of 24,000 man under 12 captains.  1 Chronicles 27:1-15 .

The general gradation of ranks was into privates; 'men of war;' officers; Solomon's 'servants;' captains or 'princes;' and others variously described as head captains, or knights or staff officers; with rulers of his chariots and his horsemen.  1 Kings 9:22 . It may be noticed that horses having been forbidden,  Deuteronomy 17:16 , it was not until Solomon's time that this was organised, though David had reserved horses for a hundred chariots from the spoil of the Syrians.  2 Samuel 8:4 . Solomon, trading with Egypt,  1 Kings 10:28,29 , enlarged their number until the force amounted to 1,400 chariots, and 12,000 horsemen,  1 Kings 10:26;  2 Chronicles 1:14 . Every able man being a soldier gave David the immense army of 1,570,000 men that 'drew sword.'  1 Chronicles 21:5 . After the division, Judah under Abijah had an army of 400,000 'valiant men,' and Israel at the same time of 800,000 'chosen men.' Afterwards Asa had 580,000 'mighty men of valour;' and Jehoshaphat, who had waxed great exceedingly, had as many as 1,160,000 men, besides those left in the fenced cities.  2 Chronicles 17:14-19 .

In the N.T. a few references are made to the Roman army. A 'Legion' was a body that contained within itself all the gradations of the army. It might be called under the empire, in round numbers, a force of not more than 6,000 men. Every legion at times contained 10 cohorts of 600 each; every cohort 3 maniples of 200; and every maniple 2 centuries of 100: hence the name of centurion or commander of 100 men, as found in  Acts 10:1,22 , etc. Each legion was presided over by 6 chiefs, χιλίαρθος,each commanding 1,000 men, mostly translated 'chief captain,' as in  Acts 21:31-37 , etc.: it is 'high captain' in  Mark 6:21; and 'captain' in  John 18:12;  Revelation 19:18 . A cohort, σπεῖρα, is translated 'band' in  Acts 10:1;  Acts 21:31 , etc. A 'quaternion' embraced 4 soldiers.  Acts 12:4 .

The head quarters of the Roman troops was at Caesarea, with a cohortat Jerusalem; but at the time of the feast, when, alas, the mutinous disposition of the Jews was sure to appear, additional troops were present in the city but without their standards of the eagle, etc., which were especially obnoxious to the Jews. Though the Romans were God's rod to punish them, their stiff necks could not bow, nor receive the punishment as from Jehovah.

Vine's Expository Dictionary of NT Words [5]

1: Στράτευμα (Strong'S #4753 — Noun Neuter — strateuma — strat'-yoo-mah )

denotes (a) "an army" of any size, large or small,  Matthew 22:7;  Revelation 9:16;  19:14,19 (twice); (b) "a company of soldiers," such as Herod's bodyguard,   Luke 23:11 (RV, "soldiers") or the soldiers of a garrison,   Acts 23:10,27 (RV, "the soldiers," for AV, "an army"). See Soldier , War.

2: Στρατόπεδον (Strong'S #4760 — Noun Neuter — stratopedon — strat-op'-ed-on )

from stratos, "a military host," pedon, "a plain," strictly denotes "an army encamped, a camp;" in  Luke 21:20 , of the soldiers which were to be encamped about Jerusalem in fulfillment of the Lord's prophecy concerning the destruction of the city; the phrase might be translated "by camps" (or encampments).

3: Παρεμβολή (Strong'S #3925 — Noun Feminine — parembole — par-em-bol-ay' )

lit., "a casting in among, an insertion" (para, "among," ballo, "to throw"), in the Macedonian dialect, was a military term. In the NT it denotes the distribution of troops in army formation, "armies,"  Hebrews 11:34; a camp, as of the Israelites,  Exodus 19:17;  29:14;  32:17; hence, in  Hebrews 13:11,13 , of Jerusalem, since the city was to the Jews what the camp in the wilderness had been to the Israelites; in  Revelation 20:9 , the "armies" or camp of the saints, at the close of the Millennium. It also denoted a castle or barracks,  Acts 21:34,37;  22:24;  23:10,16,32 .

Smith's Bible Dictionary [6]


I. Jewish Army. - Every man above 20 years of age was a soldier,  Numbers 1:3, each tribe formed a regiment, with its own banner and its own leader,  Numbers 2:2;  Numbers 10:14, their positions in the camp or on the march were accurately fixed, Numbers 2; the whole army started and stopped at a given signal,  Numbers 10:5-6, thus they came up out of Egypt ready for the fight.  Exodus 13:18. On the approach of an enemy, a conscription was made from the general body, under the direction of a muster-master,  Deuteronomy 20:5;  2 Kings 25:19, by whom also the officers were appointed.  Deuteronomy 20:9. The army had then divided into thousands and hundreds under their respective captains,  Numbers 31:14, and still further into families.  Numbers 2:34;  2 Chronicles 25:5;  2 Chronicles 26:12.

With the king, arose the custom of maintaining a body-guard, which formed the nucleus of a standing army, and David's band of 600,  1 Samuel 23:13;  1 Samuel 25:13, he retained after he became king, and added the Cherethites and Pelethites .  2 Samuel 15:18;  2 Samuel 20:7. David further organized a national militia, divided into twelve regiments under their respective officers, each of which was called out for one month in the year.  1 Chronicles 27:1. It does not appear that the system established by David was maintained by the kings of Judah; but in Israel the proximity of the hostile kingdom of Syria necessitated the maintenance of a standing army. The maintenance and equipment of the soldiers at the public expense dated from the establishment of a standing army. It is doubtful whether the soldier ever received pay even under the kings.

II. Roman Empire Army. - The Roman army was divided into legions, the number of which varied considerably (from 3000 to 6000), each under six tribuni ("chief captains"),  Acts 21:31, who commanded by turns. The legion was subdivided into ten cohorts ("band"),  Acts 10:1, the cohort into three maniples, and the maniple into two centuries, containing originally 100 men, as the name implies, but subsequently from 50 to 100 men, according to the strength of the legion.

There were thus 60 centuries in a legion, each under the command of a centurion.  Acts 10:1;  Acts 10:22;  Matthew 8:5;  Matthew 27:54. In addition to the legionary cohorts, independent cohorts of volunteers served under the Roman standards. One of these cohorts was named the Italian,  Acts 10:1, as consisting of volunteers from Italy. The headquarters of the Roman forces in Judea were at Caesarea.

People's Dictionary of the Bible [7]

Army. I. Jewish Army. Every able-bodied man over 20 years of age was a soldier,  Numbers 1:3; each tribe formed a division, with its own banner and its own leader,  Numbers 2:2;  Numbers 10:14; their positions in the camp and on the march were fixed.  Numbers 2:1-34; the whole army started and stopped at a given signal,  Numbers 10:5-6; so they came up out of Egypt.  Exodus 13:18. On the approach of an enemy a selection was made from the general body,  Deuteronomy 20:5;  2 Kings 25:19; and officers were appointed,  Deuteronomy 20:9. The army was then divided into thousands and hundreds under captains.  Numbers 2:34;  Numbers 31:14;  2 Chronicles 25:5;  2 Chronicles 26:12. With the kings arose the custom of a body-guard and a standing army. David's band of 600,  1 Samuel 23:13;  1 Samuel 25:13, he retained after he became king, and added the Cherethites and Pelethites.  2 Samuel 15:18;  2 Samuel 20:7. David organized a national militia, divided into twelve divisions, under their respective officers, each of which was called out for one month in the year.  1 Chronicles 27:1-34. The maintenance and equipment of the soldiers at the public expense date from the establishment of a standing army. II. Roman Army. The Roman army was divided into legions. The number in a legion varied from 3000 to 6000, each under "chief captains,"  Acts 21:31, who commanded by turns. The legion was subdivided into ten cohorts ("band,"),  Acts 10:1; the cohort into three maniples, and the maniple into two centuries, containing originally 100 men, as the name implies: but subsequently from 50 to 100 men, according to the strength of the legion. There were thus sixty centuries in a legion, each under the command of a centurion.  Acts 10:1;  Acts 10:22;  Matthew 8:5;  Matthew 27:54. In addition to the legionary cohorts, independent cohorts of volunteers served under the Roman standards. One of these cohorts was named the Italian,  Acts 10:1, because the soldiers in it were from Italy.

Holman Bible Dictionary [8]

 Exodus 6:26 Exodus 7:4 Exodus 12:17 1 Samuel 17:36 1 Samuel 17:45 Job 25:3 Psalm 44:9 Isaiah 34:2 Hebrews 11:34 Revelation 19:11-21

Armies were organized in different ways during Israel's history. The patriarchs called upon servants and other members of the household ( Genesis 14:1 ). In the wilderness Joshua led men he had chosen to defend against the Amalekites ( Exodus 17:9-10 ). In the conquest Joshua led the tribes of Israel into battle after being commissioned by the “captain of the host of the Lord” ( Joshua 5:14 ). At times tribes joined together to take territory ( Judges 1:3;  Judges 4:6 ).

Deborah summoned many of the tribes to battle, but some did not answer ( Judges 5:1 ). Other judges summoned clans ( Judges 6:34 ) and tribes ( Judges 6:35;  Judges 7:29 ). Saul first established a standing, professional army in Israel ( 1 Samuel 13:2 ), at first leading it himself with his son but then appointing a professional commander ( 1 Samuel 17:55 ). David apparently hired foreign troops loyal to him personally ( 2 Samuel 9:18;  2 Samuel 15:18 ). Solomon enhanced the foot soldiers with a chariot corps and calvary ( 1 Kings 10:26 ). The army was organized into various units with officers over each, but the precise chain of command cannot be determined ( 2 Chronicles 25:5 ). Humanitarian laws determined who was excused from military service and how war was conducted ( Deuteronomy 20:1 ).

Easton's Bible Dictionary [9]

 Exodus 13:18 Numbers 2:2 10:14 Numbers 31:14 Numbers 2:34 2 Chronicles 25:5 26:12 1 Samuel 13:2 14:52 24:2 1 Samuel 23:13 25:13 2 Samuel 15:18 20:7 1 Samuel 4:10 15:4 Deuteronomy 17:16 2 Samuel 8:4 1 Kings 10:26,28,29 1 Kings 9:19 1 Kings 9:22  2 Samuel 17:28,29 1 Kings 4:27 10:16,17 Judges 20:10 Exodus 12:37 2 Samuel 24:9

King James Dictionary [10]

'ARMY, n.

1. A collection or body of men armed for war, and organized in companies, battalions, regiments, brigades and divisions, under proper officers. In general, an army in modern times consists of infantry and cavalry, with artillery; although the union of all is not essential to the constitution of an army. Among savages, armies are differently formed. 2. A great number; a vast multitude; as an army of locusts or caterpillars.  Joel 2:25 .

Webster's Dictionary [11]

(1): (n.) A collection or body of men armed for war, esp. one organized in companies, battalions, regiments, brigades, and divisions, under proper officers.

(2): (n.) A great number; a vast multitude; a host.

(3): (n.) A body of persons organized for the advancement of a cause; as, the Blue Ribbon Army.

Wilson's Dictionary of Bible Types [12]

 Joel 2:25 (b) This word is used to describe the great hordes of locusts, caterpillars and palmer warms which GOD sent as a punishment on Israel.

Baker's Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology [13]

See Holy War War

International Standard Bible Encyclopedia [14]

ar´mı̄ ( חיל , ḥayil , "army," צבא , cābhā ), "host," מערכה , ma'arakhah , "army in battle array" גּדוּד , gedhūdh , "troop"):

1. The First Campaign of History

2. In the Wilderness

3. The Times After the Conquest

4. In the Early Monarchy

5. From the Time of Solomon Onward

6. Organization of the Hebrew Army

7. The Army in the Field

8. The Supplies of the Army

9. In the New Testament

The Israelites were not a distinctively warlike people and their glory has been won on other fields than those of war. But Canaan, between the Mediterranean and the desert, was the highway of the East and the battle-ground of nations. The Israelites were, by the necessity of their geographical position, often involved in wars not of their own seeking, and their bravery and endurance even when worsted in their conflicts won for them the admiration and respect of their conquerors.

1. The First Campaign of History

The first conflict of armed forces recorded in Holy Scripture is that in Gen 14. The kings of the Jordan valley had rebelled against Chedorlaomer, king of Elam - not the first of the kings of the East to reach the Mediterranean with his armies - and joined battle with him and other kings in the Vale of Siddim. In this campaign Abraham distinguished himself by the rescue of his nephew Lot, who had fallen with all that he possessed into the hands of the Elamite king. The force with which Abraham effected the defeat of Chedorlaomer and the kings that were with him was his own retainers, 318 in number, whom he had armed and led forth in person in his successful pursuit.

2. In the Wilderness

When we first make the acquaintance of the Israelites as a nation, they are a horde of fugitives who have escaped from the bitter oppression and hard bondage of Pharaoh. Although there could have been but little of the martial spirit in a people so long and grievously oppressed, their journeyings through the wilderness toward Canaan are from the first described as the marching of a great host. It was according to their "armies" ("hosts" the Revised Version (British and American)) that Aaron and Moses were to bring the Children of Israel from the land of Egypt ( Exodus 6:26 ). When they had entered upon the wilderness they went up "harnessed" ("armed" the Revised Version (British and American)) for the journeyings that lay before them - where "harnessed" or "armed" may point not to the weapons they bore but to the order and arrangements of a body of troops marching five deep ( hămushshı̄m ) or divided into five army corps ( Exodus 13:18 ). On the way through the wilderness they encamped (  Exodus 13:20; and passim ) at their successive halting-places, and the whole army of 600,000 was, after Sinai, marked off into divisions or army corps, each with its own camp and the ensigns of their fathers' houses ( Numbers 2:2 ). "From twenty years old and upward, all that are able to go forth to war in Israel," the males of the tribes were numbered and assigned to their place in the camp ( Numbers 1:3 ). Naturally, in the wilderness they are footmen ( Numbers 11:21 ), and it was not till the period of the monarchy that other arms were added. Bow and sling and spear and sword for attack, and shield and helmet for defense, would be the full equipment of the men called upon to fight in the desert. Although we hear little of gradations of military rank, we do read of captains of thousands and captains of hundreds in the wilderness ( Numbers 31:14 ), and Joshua commands the fighting men in the battle against the Amalekites at Rephidim ( Exodus 17:9 ). That the Israelites acquired in their journeyings in the wilderness the discipline and martial spirit which would make them a warlike people, may be gathered from their successes against the Midianites, against Og, king of Bashan, toward the close of the forty years, and from the military organization with which they proceeded to the conquest of Canaan.

3. The Times After the Conquest

In more than one campaign the Israelites under Joshua's leadership established themselves in Canaan. But it was largely through the enterprise of the several tribes after that the conquest was achieved. The progress of the invaders was stubbornly contested, but Joshua encouraged his kinsmen of Ephraim and Manasseh to press on the conquest even against the invincible war-chariots of the Canaanites - "for thou shalt drive out the Canaanites, though they have iron chariots, and though they are strong" ( Joshua 17:18 ). As it was in the early history of Rome, where the defense of the state was an obligation resting upon every individual according to his stake in the public welfare, so it was at first in Israel. Tribal jealousies, however, impaired the sentiment of nationality and hindered united action when once the people had been settled in Canaan. The tribes had to defend their own, and it was only a great emergency that united them in common action. The first notable approach to national unity was seen in the army which Barak assembled to meet the host of Jabin, king of Hazor, under the command of Sisera ( Judges 4:5 ). In Deborah's war-song in commemoration of the notable victory achieved by Barak and herself, the men of the northern tribes, Zebulun, Naphtali, Issachar, along with warriors of Manasseh, Ephraim and Benjamin, are praised for the valor with which they withstood and routed the host - foot, horse and chariots - of Sisera. Once again the tribes of Israel assembled in force from "Dan even to Beersheba, with the land of Gilead" ( Judges 20:1 ) to punish the tribe of Benjamin for condoning a gross outrage. The single tribe was defeated in the battle that ensued, but they were able to put into the field "26,000 men that drew sword," and they had also "700 chosen men left-handed; every one could sling stones at a hair-breadth, and not miss" ( Judges 20:15 ,  Judges 20:16 ).

4. In the Early Monarchy

Up to this time the fighting forces of the Israelites were more of the character of a militia. The men of the tribes more immediately harassed by enemies were summoned for action by the leader raised up by God, and disbanded when the emergency was past. The monarchy brought changes in military affairs. It was the plea of the leaders of Israel, when they desired to have a king, that he would go out before them and fight their battles ( 1 Samuel 8:20 ). Samuel had warned them that with a monarchy a professional soldiery would be required. "He will take your sons, and appoint them unto him, for his chariots, and to be his horsemen; and they shall run before his chariots; and he will appoint them unto him for captains of thousands, and captains of fifties; and he Will set some to plow his ground, and reap his harvest, and to make his instruments of war, and the instruments of his chariots" ( 1 Samuel 8:11 ,  1 Samuel 8:12 ). That this was the course which military reform took in the period following the establishment of the monarchy may well be. It fell to Saul when he ascended the throne to withstand the invading Philistines and to relieve his people from the yoke which they had already laid heavily upon some parts of the country. The Philistines were a military people, well disciplined and armed, with 30,000 chariots and 6,000 horsemen at their service when they came up to Michmash ( 1 Samuel 13:5 ). What chance had raw levies of vinedressers and herdsmen from Judah and Benjamin against such a foe? No wonder that the Israelites hid themselves in caves and thickets, and in rocks, and in holes, and in pits ( 1 Samuel 13:6 ). And it is quoted by the historian as the lowest depth of national degradation that the Israelites had to go down to the Philistines "to sharpen every man his share, and his coulter, and his axe, and his mattock" ( 1 Samuel 13:20 ) because the Philistines had carried off their smiths to prevent them from making swords or spears.

It was in this desperate condition that King Saul was called to begin the struggle for freedom and national unity in Israel. The victories at Michmash and Elah and the hotly contested but unsuccessful and fatal struggle at Gilboa evince the growth of the martial spirit and advance alike in discipline and in strategy. After the relief of Jabesh-gilead, instead of disbanding the whole of his levies, Saul retained 3,000 men under arms, and this in all probability became the nucleus of the standing army of Israel ( 1 Samuel 13:2 ). From this time onward "when Saul saw any mighty man, or any valiant man, he took him unto him" ( 1 Samuel 14:52 ). Of the valiant men whom Saul kept round his person, the most notable were Jonathan and David. Jonathan had command of one division of 1,000 men at Gibeah ( 1 Samuel 13:2 ), and David was captain of the king's bodyguard ( 1 Samuel 18:5; compare  1 Samuel 18:13 ). When David fell under Saul's jealousy and betook himself to an outlaw life in the mountain fastnesses of Judah, he gathered round him in the cave of Adullam 400 men ( 1 Samuel 22:1 ,  1 Samuel 22:2 ) who were ere long increased to 600 ( 1 Samuel 23:1 ,  1 Samuel 23:3 ). From the story of Nabal (1 Sam 25) we learn how a band like that of David could be maintained in service, and we gather that landholders who benefited by the presence of an armed force were expected to provide the necessary supplies. On David's accession to the throne this band of warriors remained attached to his person and became the backbone of his army. We can identify them with the gibbōrı̄m - the mighty men of whom Benaiah at a later time became captain ( 2 Samuel 23:22 ,  2 Samuel 23:23;  1 Kings 1:8 ) and who are also known by the name of Cherethites and Pelethites ( 2 Samuel 8:18 ). These may have received their name from their foreign origin, the former, in Hebrew kerēthı̄ being originally from Crete but akin to the Philistines; and the latter, in Hebrew pelēthı̄ being Philistines by birth. That there were foreign soldiers in David's service we know from the examples of Uriah the Hittite and Ittai of Gath. David's gibbōrı̄m have been compared to the Praetorian Cohort of the Roman emperors, the Janissaries of the sultans, and the Swiss Guards of the French kings. Of David's army Joab was the commander-in-chief, and to the military' genius of this rough and unscrupulous warrior, the king's near kinsman, the dynasty of David was deeply indebted.

5. From the Time of Solomon Onward

In the reign of Solomon, although peace was its prevailing characteristic, there can have been no diminution of the armed forces of the kingdom, for we read of military expeditions against Edom and Syria and Hamath, and also of fortresses built in every part of the land, which would require troops to garrison them. Hazor, the old Canaanite capital, at the foot of Lebanon; Megiddo commanding the rich plain of Jezreel; Gezer overlooking the Philistine plain; the Bethhorons (Upper and Nether); and Tadmor in the wilderness; not to speak of Jerusalem with Millo and the fortified wall, were fortresses requiring strong garrisons ( 1 Kings 9:15 ). It is probable that "the levy," which was such a burden upon the people at large, included forced military service as well as forced labor, and helped to create the dissatisfaction which culminated in the revolt of Jeroboam, and eventually in the disruption of the kingdom. Although David had reserved from the spoils of war in his victorious campaign against Hadadezer, king of Zobah, horses for 100 chariots ( 2 Samuel 8:4 ), cavalry and chariots were not an effective branch of the service in his reign. Solomon, however, disregarding the scruples of the stricter Israelites, and the ordinances of the ancient law ( Deuteronomy 17:16 ), added horses and chariots on a large scale to the military equipment of the nation ( 1 Kings 10:26-29 ). It is believed that it was from Musri, a country of northern Syria occupied by the Hittites, and Kue in Cilicia, that Solomon obtained horses for his cavalry and chariotry ( 1 Kings 10:29;  2 Chronicles 1:16 , where the best text gives Mucrı̄ , and not the Hebrew word for Egypt). This branch of the service was not only looked upon with distrust by the stricter Israelites, but was expressly denounced in later times by the prophets ( Isaiah 2:7;  Hosea 1:7;  Micah 5:10 ). In the prophets, too, more than in the historical books, we are made acquainted with the cavalry and chariotry of Assyria and Babylon which in the days of Sargon, Sennacherib, and Nebuchadnezzar had become so formidable. Their lancers and mounted archers, together with their chariots, gave them a sure ascendancy in the field of war ( Nahum 3:2 ,  Nahum 3:3;  Habakkuk 1:8;  Jeremiah 46:4 ). In comparison with these, the cavalry of the kings of Israel and Judah was insignificant, and to this Rabshakeh contemptuously referred ( 2 Kings 18:23 ) when he promised to the chiefs of Judah from the king of Assyria 2,000 horses if Hezekiah could put riders upon them.

6. Organization of the Hebrew Army

As we have seen, every male in Israel at the age of twenty, according to the ancient law, became liable for military service ( Numbers 1:3;  Numbers 26:2;  2 Chronicles 25:5 ), just as at a later time every male of that age became liable for the half-shekel of Temple dues. Josephus is our authority for believing that no one was called upon to serve after the age of fifty ( Ant. , III, xii, 4). From military service the Levites were exempt ( Numbers 2:33 ). In Deuteronomic law exemption was allowed to persons betrothed but not married, to persons who had built a house but had not dedicated it, or who had planted a vineyard but had not eaten of the fruit of it, and to persons faint-hearted and fearful whose timidity might spread throughout the ranks ( Deuteronomy 20:1-9 ). These exemptions no doubt reach back to a high antiquity and in the Maccabean period they still held good (1 Macc 3:56). The army was divided into bodies of 1,000, 100, 50, and in Maccabean times, 10, each under its own captain ( Sar ) ( Numbers 31:14;  1 Samuel 8:12;  2 Kings 1:9;  2 Chronicles 25:5; 1 Macc 3:55). In the army of Uzziah we read of "heads of fathers' houses," mighty men of valor who numbered 2,600 and had under their hand a trained army of 307,500 men ( 2 Chronicles 26:12 ,  2 Chronicles 26:13 ), where, however, the figures have an appearance of exaggeration.

Over the whole host of Israel, according to the fundamental principle of theocracy, was Yahweh Himself, the Supreme Leader of her armies ( 1 Samuel 8:7 ); it was "the Captain of the Lord's host," to whom Joshua and all serving under him owned allegiance, that appeared before the walls of Jericho to help the gallant leader in his enterprise. In the times of the Judges the chiefs themselves, Barak, Gideon, Jephthah, led their forces in person to battle. Under the monarchy the captain of the host was an office distinct from that of the king, and we have Joab, Abner, Benaiah, named as commanders-in-chief. An armor-bearer attended the captain of the host as well as the king ( 1 Samuel 14:6;  1 Samuel 31:4 ,  1 Samuel 31:5;  2 Samuel 23:37 ). Mention is made of officers who had to do the numbering of the people, the ṣōphēr , scribe, attached to the captain of the host ( 2 Kings 25:19; compare  2 Samuel 24:2; 1 Macc 5:42), and the shōṭēr , muster-master, who kept the register of those who were in military service and knew the men who had received authorized leave of absence ( Deuteronomy 20:5 , Driver's note).

7. The Army in the Field

Before the army set forth, religious services were held ( Joel 3:9 ), and sacrifices were offered at the opening of a campaign to consecrate the war ( Micah 3:5;  Jeremiah 6:4;  Jeremiah 22:7 ). Recourse was had in earlier times to the oracle ( Judges 1:1;  Judges 20:27;  1 Samuel 14:37;  1 Samuel 23:2;  1 Samuel 28:6;  1 Samuel 30:8 ), in later times to a prophet ( 1 Kings 22:5;  2 Kings 3:13;  2 Kings 19:2;  Jeremiah 38:14 ). Cases are mentioned in which the Ark accompanied the army to the field ( 1 Samuel 4:4;  1 Samuel 14:18 ), and before the engagement sacrifices also were offered ( 1 Samuel 7:9;  1 Samuel 13:9 ), ordinarily necessitating the presence of a priest ( Deuteronomy 20:2 ). Councils of war were held to settle questions of policy in the course of siege or a campaign ( Jeremiah 38:7;  Jeremiah 39:3 ). The signal for the charge or retreat was given by sound of a trumpet ( Numbers 10:9;  2 Samuel 2:28;  2 Samuel 18:16; 1 Macc 16:8). The order of battle was simple, the heavy-armed spearmen forming the van, slingers and archers bringing up the rear, supported by horses and chariots, which moved to the front as need required ( 1 Samuel 31:3;  1 Kings 22:31;  2 Chronicles 14:9 ). Strategy was called into play according to the disposition of the opposing forces or the nature of the ground ( Joshua 8:3;  Joshua 11:7;  Judges 7:16;  1 Samuel 15:5;  2 Samuel 5:23;  2 Kings 3:11 ).

Although David had in his service foreign soldiers like Uriah the Hittite and Ittai of Gath, and although later kings hired aliens for their campaigns, it was not till the Maccabean struggle for independence that mercenaries came to be largely employed in the Jewish army. Mercenaries are spoken of in the prophets as a source of weakness to the nation that employs them (to Egypt,  Jeremiah 46:16 ,  Jeremiah 46:21; to Babylon,  Jeremiah 50:16 ). From the Maccabean time onward the princes of the Hasmonean family employed them, sometimes to hold the troublesome Jews in check, and sometimes to support the arms of Rome. Herod the Great had in his army mercenaries of various nations. When Jewish soldiers, however, took service with Rome, they were prohibited by their law from performing duty on the Sabbath. Early in the Maccabean fight for freedom, a band of Hasideans or Jewish Puritans, allowed themselves to be cut down to the last man rather than take up the sword on the Sabbath (1 Macc 2:34ff). Cases are even on record where their Gentile adversaries took advantage of their scruples to inflict upon them loss and defeat ( Ant. , Xiii , xii, 4; Xiv , iv, 2).

8. The Supplies of the Army

Before the army had become a profession in Israel, and while the levies were still volunteers like the sons of Jesse, the soldiers not only received no pay, but had to provide their own supplies, or depend upon rich landholders like Nabal and Barzillai (1 Sam 25;  2 Samuel 19:31 ). In that period and still later, the chief reward of the soldier was his share of the booty gotten in war ( Judges 5:30 f;   1 Samuel 30:22 ). By the Maccabean period we learn that an army like that of Simon, consisting of professional soldiers, could only be maintained at great expense (1 Macc 14:32).

9. In the New Testament

Although the first soldiers that we read of in the New Testament were Jewish and not Roman ( Luke 3:14;  Mark 6:27 ), and although we read that Herod with his "men of war" joined in mocking Jesus ( Luke 23:11 ), it is for the most part the Roman army that comes before us. The Roman legion, consisting roughly of 6,000 men, was familiar to the Jewish people, and the word had become a term to express a large number ( Matthew 26:53;  Mark 5:9 ). Centurions figure most honorably alike in the Gospels and the Acts ( kenturı́ōn ,  Mark 15:39; hekatontárchēs , hekatontárchos ,  Matthew 8:5;  Luke 23:47;  Acts 10:1;  Acts 22:25 ,  Acts 22:27 ). "The Pretorium" is the residence of the Roman procurator at Jerusalem, and in Caesarea ( Matthew 27:27;  Acts 23:35 ), or the praetorian guard at Rome ( Philippians 1:13 ). The Augustan band and the Italian band ( Acts 10:1;  Acts 27:1 ) are cohorts of Roman soldiers engaged on military duty at Caesarea. In Jerusalem there was one cohort stationed in the time of Paul under the command of a chilı́archos , or military tribune ( Acts 22:24 ). It was out of this regiment that the dexioláboi ( Acts 23:23 ) were selected, who formed a guard for Paul to Caesarea, spearmen, or rather javelin-throwers.

Figurative: Among the military metaphors employed by Paul, who spent so much of his time in the later years of his life among Roman soldiers, some are taken from the weapons of the Roman soldier (see Arms ), and some also from the discipline and the marching and fighting of an army. Thus, "campaigning" is referred to ( 2 Timothy 2:3 ,  2 Timothy 2:4;  2 Corinthians 10:3-6 ); the "order and solid formation of soldiers" drawn up in battle array or on the march ( Colossians 2:5 ); the "triumphal procession" to the capitol with its train of captives and the smoke of incense ( 2 Corinthians 2:14-16 ); and "the sounding of the trumpet," when the faithful Christian warriors shall take their place every man in his own order or "division" of the resurrection army of the Lord of Hosts ( 1 Corinthians 15:52 ,  1 Corinthians 15:53 ). (See Dean Howson, Metaphors of Paul - "Roman Soldiers.")

The armies which are in heaven ( Revelation 19:14 ,  Revelation 19:19 ) are the angelic hosts who were at the service of their Incarnate Lord in the days of His flesh and in His exaltation follow Him upon white horses clothed in fine linen white and pure (see Swete's note). See further Armor , Arms .


Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature [15]

represented by several Heb. and Gr. words. (See War). I.' Jewish. The military organization of the Jews commenced with their departure from the land of Egypt, and was adapted to the nature of the expedition on which they then entered. Every man above 20 years of age was a soldier ( Numbers 1:3); each tribe formed a regiment, with its own banner and its own leader ( Numbers 2:2;  Numbers 10:14); their positions in the camp or on the march were accurately fixed (Numbers 2); the whole army started and stopped at a given signal ( Numbers 10:5-6); thus they came up out of Egypt ready for the fight ( Exodus 13:18). That the Israelites preserved the same exact order throughout their march may be inferred from Balaam's language ( Numbers 24:6). On the approach of an enemy, a conscription was made from the general body under the direction of a muster-master (originally named שֹׁטֵר ,  Deuteronomy 20:5, "officeri" afterward סוֹפֵר ,  2 Kings 25:19, "scribe of the host," both terms occurring, however,-to ether in  2 Chronicles 26:11, the meaning of each being primarily a writer), by whom also the officers were appointed ( Deuteronomy 20:9). From the number so selected some might be excused serving on certain specified grounds ( Deuteronomy 20:5-8;  1 Maccabees 3:56). The army was then divided into thousands and hundreds under their respective captains ( שִר הָאֲלָפִים and שִׂר הִמֵּץוֹת ,  Numbers 31:14), and still farther into families ( Numbers 2:34;  2 Chronicles 25:5;  2 Chronicles 26:12), the family been regarded as the unit in the Jewish polity. From the time the Israelites entered the land of Canaan until the establishment of the kingdom, little progress was made in military affairs: their wars resembled border forays, and the tactics turned upon stratagem rather than upon the discipline and disposition of the forces. Skilfully availing themselves of the opportunities which the country offered, they gained the victory sometimes by an ambush ( Joshua 8:4), sometimes by surprising the enemy ( Joshua 10:9;  Joshua 11:7;  Judges 7:21), and sometimes by a judicious attack at the time of fording a river ( Judges 3:28;  Judges 4:7;  Judges 7:24;  Judges 12:5). No general muster was made at this period; but the combatants were summoned on the spur of the moment either by trumpet- call ( Judges 3:27), by messengers ( Judges 6:35), by some significant token ( 1 Samuel 11:7), or, as in later times, by the erection of a standard ( נֵס ,  Isaiah 18:3;  Jeremiah 4:21;  Jeremiah 51:27), or a beacon-fire on an eminence ( Jeremiah 6:1). (See Battle).

With the kings arose the custom of maintaining a body-guard, which formed the nucleus of a standing army. Thus Saul had a band of 3000 select warriors ( 1 Samuel 13:2;  1 Samuel 14:52;  1 Samuel 24:2), and David, before his accession to the throne, 600 ( 1 Samuel 23:13;  1 Samuel 25:13). This band he retained after he became kin-l, and added the CHERETHITES and PELETHITES ( 2 Samuel 15:18;  2 Samuel 20:7), together with another class, whose name, Shaleshim ( שָׁלִישַׁים , Sept. Τριστάται , Auth. Vers. "a third part"), has been variously interpreted to mean

(1.) a corps of veteran guards =Roman Triarii (Winer, Lex. Heb. p. 991);

(2.) chariot warriors, as being Three in each chariot (Gesen. Thes. p. 1429);

(3.) officers of the guard, Thirty in number (Ewald, Gesch. ii, 601). The fact that the Egyptian war-chariot, with which the Jews were first acquainted, contained but two warriors, forms an objection to the second of these opinions (Wilkinson, Anc. Egypt, i, 335), and the frequent use of the term in the singular number ( 2 Kings 7:2;  2 Kings 9:25;  2 Kings 15:25) to the third. Whatever he the meaning of the name, it is evident that it indicated officers of hirh rank, the chief of whom ( הִשּׁלִישׁ , "lord,"  2 Kings 7:2, or ראשׁ הִשָּׁלִישִׁים , "chief of the captains,"  1 Chronicles 12:18) was immediately about the king's person, as adjutant or secretary-at-war. David farther organized a national militia, divided into twelve regiments, each of which was called out for one month in the year under their respective officers ( 1 Chronicles 27:1); at the head of the army when in active service he appointed a commander-in-chief ( שִׂראּצָבָא , "captain of the host,"  1 Samuel 14:50).

Hitherto the army had consisted entirely of infantry ( רִגְלִי ,  1 Samuel 4:10;  1 Samuel 15:4), the use of horses having been restrained by divine command ( Deuteronomy 17:16). The Jews had, however, experienced 'the great advantage to be obtained by chariots, both in their encounters with the Canaanites ( Joshua 17:16;  Judges 1:19), and at a later period with the Syrians ( 2 Samuel 8:4;  2 Samuel 10:18). The interior of Palestine was indeed generally unsuited to the use of chariots; the Canaanites had employed them only in the plains and valleys, such as Jezreel ( Joshua 17:16), the plain of Philistia (Judges i, 19;  1 Samuel 13:5), and the upper valley of the Jordan ( Joshua 11:9;  Judges 4:2). But the border, both on the side of Egypt and Syria, was admirably adapted to their use; and accordingly we find that as the foreign relations of the kingdoms extended, much importance was attached to them. David had reserved a hundred chariots from the spoil of the Syrians ( 2 Samuel 8:4): these probably served as the foundation of the force which Solomon afterward enlarged through his alliance with Egypt ( 2 Kings 10:28-29), and applied to the protection of his border, stations or barracks being erected for them in different localities ( 1 Kings 9:19). The force amounted to 1400 chariots, 4000 horses, at the rate (in round numbers) of three horses for each chariot, the third being kept as a reserve, and 12,000 horsemen ( 2 Kings 10:26;  2 Chronicles 1:14). At this period the organization of the army was complete; and we have, in  1 Kings 9:22, apparently a list of the various gradations of rank in the service, as follow:

(1.) אִנְשֵׁי הִמִּלְחָמָה , "men of war" = Privates;

(2.) עבָדִים , "servants," the lowest rank of officers = Lieutenants;

(3.) שָׂרִים , "princes" =Captains;

(4.) שָׁלִישִׁים , "captains," already noticed, perhaps = Staff-Officers;

(5.) שָׂרֵי הָרֶכֶב and שָׂרֵי הִפָּרָשִׁים , "rulers of his chariots and his horsemen" =Cavalry Officers. (See Captain).

It does not appear that the system established by David was maintained by the kings of Judah; but in Israel the proximity of the hostile kingdom of Syria necessitated the maintenance of a standing army. The militia was occasionally called out in time of peace, as by Asa ( 2 Chronicles 14:8), by Jehoshaphat ( 2 Chronicles 17:14), by Amaziah ( 2 Chronicles 25:5), and lastly by Uzziah ( 2 Chronicles 26:11); but these notices prove that such cases were exceptional. On the other hand, the incidental notices of the body-guard lead to the conclusion that it was regularly kept up ( 1 Kings 14:28;  2 Kings 11:4;  2 Kings 11:11). Occasional reference is made to war-chariots ( 2 Kings 8:21), and it would appear that this branch of the service was maintained until the wars with the Syrians weakened the resources of the kingdom ( 2 Kings 13:7); it was restored by Jotham (Isaiah ii, 7), but in Hezekiah's reign no force of the kind could be maintained, and the Jews were obliged to seek the aid of Egypt for horses and chariots ( 2 Kings 18:23-24). This was an evident breach of the injunction in  Deuteronomy 17:16, and met with strong reprobation on the part of the prophet Isaiah ( Isaiah 31:1). (See Chariot).

With regard to the arrangement and maneuvring of the army in the field, we know but little. A division into three bodies is frequently mentioned ( Judges 7:16;  Judges 9:43;  1 Samuel 11:11;  2 Samuel 18:2); such a division served various purposes: in action there would be a centre and two wings; in camp, relays for the night-watches ( Judges 7:19); and by the combination of two of the divisions, there would be a main body and a reserve, or a strong advanced guard ( 1 Samuel 13:2;  1 Samuel 25:13). Jehoshaphat divided his army into five bodies, corresponding, according to Ewald (Geschichte, iii, 192), to the geographical divisions of the kingdom at that time: may not, however, the threefold principle of division be noticed here also, the heavy-armed troops of Judah being considered as the proper army, and the two divisions of light-armed of the tribe of Benjamin as an appendage ( 2 Chronicles 17:14-18)? (See Fight).

The maintenance and equipment of the soldiers at the public expense dates from the establishment of a standing army; before which, each soldier armed himself, and obtained his food either by voluntary offerings ( 2 Samuel 17:28-29), by forced exactions ( 1 Samuel 25:13), or by the natural resources of the country ( 1 Samuel 14:27); on one occasion only do we hear of any systematic arrangement for provisioning the host ( Judges 20:10). It is doubtful whether the soldier ever received pay even under the kings (the only instance of pay being mentioned applies to mercenaries,  2 Chronicles 25:6); but that he was maintained, while on active service, and provided with arms, appears from  1 Kings 4:27;  1 Kings 10:16-17;  2 Chronicles 26:14 : notices occur of an arsenal or armory, in which the weapons were stored ( 1 Kings 14:28;  Nehemiah 3:19;  Song of Solomon 4:4). (See Armor).

The numerical strength of the Jewish army cannot be ascertained with any degree of accuracy; the numbers, as given in the text, are manifestly corrupt, and the various statements therefore irreconcilable. At the Exodus the number of the warriors was 600,000 ( Exodus 12:37), or 603,350 ( Exodus 38:26; Num. i, 46); at the entrance into Canaan, 601,730 ( Numbers 26:51). In David's time the army amounted, according to one statement ( 2 Samuel 24:9), to 1,300,000, viz. 800,000 for Israel and 500,000 for Judah; but according to another statement ( 1 Chronicles 21:5-6) to 1,470,000, viz. 1,000,000 for Israel and 470,000 for Judah. The militia at the same period amounted to 24,000X12=288,000 ( 1 Chronicles 27:1 sq.). At a later period the army of Judah under Abijah is stated at 400,000, and that of Israel under Jeroboam at 300,000 ( 2 Chronicles 13:3). Still later, Asa's army, derived from the tribes of Judah and Benjamin alone, is put at 530,000 ( 2 Chronicles 14:8), and Jehoshaphat's at 1,160,000 ( 2 Chronicles 17:14 sq.). (See Number). Little need be said on this subject with regard to the period that succeeded the return from the Babylonish captivity until the organization of military affairs in Judaea under the Romans. The system adopted by Judas Maccabaeus was in strict conformity with the Mosaic law ( 1 Maccabees 3:55); and though he maintained a standing army, varying from 3000 to 6000 men ( 1 Maccabees 4:6;  2 Maccabees 8:16), yet the custom of paying the soldiers appears to have been still unknown, and to have originated with Simon ( 1 Maccabees 14:32). The introduction of mercenaries commenced with John Hyrcanus, who, according to Josephus (Ant. 13:8, 4), rifled the tombs of the kings in order to pay them; the intestine commotions that prevailed in the reign .of Alexander Jannaeus obliged him to increase the number to 6200 men (Josephus, Ant. 13:13, 5; 14, 1); and the same policy was followed by Alexandra (Ant. 13:16, 2), and by Herod the Great, who had in his pay Thracian, German, and Gallic troops (Ant. 17:8, 3). The discipline and arrangement of the army was gradually assimilated to that of the Romans, and the titles of the officers borrowed from it (Josephus, War, ii, 20, 7). (See Soldier).

II. Roman Army.-This was divided into Legions, the number of which varied considerably, each under six Tribunes ( Χιλίαρχος , " chief captain,"  Acts 21:31), who commanded by turns. The legion (q.v.) was subdivided into ten cohorts ( Σπεῖρα , "band,"  Acts 10:1), the cohort into three Maniples, and the maniple into two Centuries, containing originally 100 men, as the name implies, but subsequently from 50 to 100 men, according to the strength of the legion. (See Smith, Dict. Of Gr. And Rom. Ant. s.v.) There were thus 60 centuries in a legion, each under the command of a centurion ( Ἑκατονταρχης ,  Acts 10:1;  Acts 10:22; Ἑκατόνταρχος ,  Matthew 8:5;  Matthew 27:54). In addition to the legionary cohorts, independent cohorts of volunteers served under the Roman standards; and Biscoe (History Of Acts, p. 220) supposes that all the Roman forces stationed in Judaea were of this class. Josephus speaks of five cohorts as stationed at Caesarea at the time of Herod Agrippa's death (Ant. 19:9, 2), and frequently mentions that the inhabitants of Caesarea and Sebaste served in the ranks (Ant. 20:8, 7). One of these cohorts was named the " Italian" ( Acts 10:1), not as being a portion of the Italica Legio (for this was not embodied until Nero's reign), but as consisting of volunteers from Italy (Gruter, Inscr. i, 434). This cohort probably acted as the bedy- guard of the procurator. The cohort named "Augustus" ( Σπεῖρα Σεβαστή ,  Acts 27:1) may have consisted of the volunteers from Sebaste (Josephus, War, ii, 12, 5; Biscoe, p. 223). Others, however, think that it was a cohors Augusta, similar to the legio Augusta. The head- quarters of the Roman forces in Judaea were at Caesarea. A single cohort was probably stationed at Jerusalem as the ordinary guard; at the time of the great feasts, however, and on other public occasions, a larger force was sent up, for the sake of preserving order (Josephus, War, ii, 12, 1; 15, 3). Frequent disturbances arose in reference to the images and other emblems carried by the Roman troops among their military ensigns, which the Jews regarded as idolatrous; deference was paid to their prejudices by a removal of the objects from Jerusalem (Ant. 18:3, 1; 5, 3). For the sentry ( Acts 12:4) and their "captain" ( Acts 28:16), (See Guard). The Δεξιόλαβοι (Vulg. Lancearii; A. V. "spearmen,"), noticed in  Acts 23:23, appear to have been light-armed, irregular troops; the origin of the name is, however, quite uncertain (Alford, Comm. in loc.). (See Host).