565. Mounts - Forts - Rams

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Ezekiel 4:22And lay siege against it, and build a fort against it, and cast a mount against it; set the camp also against it, and set battering rams against it round about. (Ezekiel 4:2). And lay siege against it, and build a fort against it, and cast a mound against it; set the camp also against it, and set battering rams against it round about.
Several important operations in ancient sieges are here noticed:
1. The “mount” was an inclined plane which the besiegers of a castle or a walled town built up to the walls so that they could bring their engines of war closer, and work them to greater advantage. The mount was made of all sorts of materials, earth, timber, boughs, and stones, the sides being walled up with brick or stone, and the inclined top made of layers of brick or stone, forming a paved road up which the war engines might be drawn. Some of these engines are described in the note on 2 Chronicles 26:1515And he made in Jerusalem engines, invented by cunning men, to be on the towers and upon the bulwarks, to shoot arrows and great stones withal. And his name spread far abroad; for he was marvellously helped, till he was strong. (2 Chronicles 26:15) (#370); another is mentioned below. Mounts were used by the Assyrians, Babylonians, Egyptians, Jews, and Greeks, and are often referred to in the Old Testament under the name of “banks” or “bulwarks,” as well as “mounts.” See, among other passages, Deuteronomy 20:2020Only the trees which thou knowest that they be not trees for meat, thou shalt destroy and cut them down; and thou shalt build bulwarks against the city that maketh war with thee, until it be subdued. (Deuteronomy 20:20); 2 Samuel 20:1515And they came and besieged him in Abel of Beth-maachah, and they cast up a bank against the city, and it stood in the trench: and all the people that were with Joab battered the wall, to throw it down. (2 Samuel 20:15); 2 Kings 19:3232Therefore thus saith the Lord concerning the king of Assyria, He shall not come into this city, nor shoot an arrow there, nor come before it with shield, nor cast a bank against it. (2 Kings 19:32); Isaiah 37:3333Therefore thus saith the Lord concerning the king of Assyria, He shall not come into this city, nor shoot an arrow there, nor come before it with shields, nor cast a bank against it. (Isaiah 37:33); Jeremiah 6:6; 33:46For thus hath the Lord of hosts said, Hew ye down trees, and cast a mount against Jerusalem: this is the city to be visited; she is wholly oppression in the midst of her. (Jeremiah 6:6)
4For thus saith the Lord, the God of Israel, concerning the houses of this city, and concerning the houses of the kings of Judah, which are thrown down by the mounts, and by the sword; (Jeremiah 33:4)
; Ezekiel 17: 17.
The battering-ram is supposed to have been first used by the Phoenicians. It consisted of a heavy beam of wood strengthened with iron plates, and terminating in an iron head made like that of a ram. Suspended from a wooden framework by ropes or chains, the beam was swung to and fro by the attacking party, and was struck against the wall with repeated blows until a breach was effected. The Assyrian armies were abundantly supplied with similar engines of war, though they were made after different patterns. It is to these that Ezekiel refers in the text. “Some had a head shaped like the point of a spear; others, one more resembling the end of a blunderbuss. All of them were covered with a framework, which was of ozier, wood, felt, or skins, for the better protection of those who worked the implement; but some appear to have been stationary, having their frame resting on the ground itself; while others were movable, being provided with wheels” (Rawlinson, Five Great Monarchies, vol.1, p. 470).
To oppose the ram various inflammable substances, such as tow, were thrown upon the light frame-work, setting it on fire. To extinguish this, those who worked the ram carried a supply of water. Again, a chain was let down by the besieged, and the end of the ram was caught in it, and the force of the blow neutralized by drawing the ram upward. To counteract this some of the besieging party were stationed below the ram, and provided with strong hooks which they caught in the descending chains, hanging on them with all their weight.