615. Assyrian Warriors

 •  2 min. read  •  grade level: 12
Nahum 2:33The shield of his mighty men is made red, the valiant men are in scarlet: the chariots shall be with flaming torches in the day of his preparation, and the fir trees shall be terribly shaken. (Nahum 2:3). The shield of his mighty men is made red, the valiant men are in scarlet: the chariots shall be with flaming torches in the day of his preparation, and the fir-trees shall be terribly shaken.
This is a vivid description of ancient Assyrian warriors and their equipments.
1. The shields may have been reddened with paint, or with the copper with which they were overlaid.
2. The fighting costume of ancient warriors was of a blood-red color. It is said that one object of this was to conceal from the enemy the blood of their wounds, the sight of which might inspire them with new courage and hope.
3. By the “flaming torches” of the chariots, Michaelis, Ewald, Gesenius, and others, suppose to be meant the fakes or scythes which were fastened to the axle, and turned repeatedly with every revolution of the wheel. Henderson accordingly renders esh-peladoth, “fiery scythes.” The fire of these scythes would be coruscations produced by their excessive brightness and the rapidity of their motion. Keil, however, (in his Commentary,) objects to this interpretation on the ground that “scythe-chariots were first introduced by Cyrus, and were unknown before his time to the Medes, the Assyrians, the Arabians, and also to the ancient Egyptians.” He supposes peladoth to refer to the steel coverings of the Assyrian war-chariots, and appends the following interesting note from Strauss: “The chariots of the Assyrians, as we see them on the monuments, glare with shining things made either of iron or steel, battle-axes, bows, arrows, and shields, and all kinds of weapons; the horses are also ornamented with crowns and red fringes, and even the poles of the carriages are made resplendent with shining suns and moons; add to these the soldiers in armor riding in their chariots, and it could not but be the case that, when illumined by the rays of the sun above them, they would have all the appearance of flames as they flew hither and thither with great celerity.” (See verse 4, l. c.)
4. By the “fir-trees,” which were to be “terribly shaken,” are probably meant the spears, darts, and lances, which had handles made of the wood of the cypress.