Assyria

Boyd’s Bible Dictionary:

(country of Asshur). That ancient empire on the Tigris whose capital was Nineveh (Gen. 2:14; 10:11-2214And the name of the third river is Hiddekel: that is it which goeth toward the east of Assyria. And the fourth river is Euphrates. (Genesis 2:14)
11Out of that land went forth Asshur, and builded Nineveh, and the city Rehoboth, and Calah, 12And Resen between Nineveh and Calah: the same is a great city. 13And Mizraim begat Ludim, and Anamim, and Lehabim, and Naphtuhim, 14And Pathrusim, and Casluhim, (out of whom came Philistim,) and Caphtorim. 15And Canaan begat Sidon his firstborn, and Heth, 16And the Jebusite, and the Amorite, and the Girgasite, 17And the Hivite, and the Arkite, and the Sinite, 18And the Arvadite, and the Zemarite, and the Hamathite: and afterward were the families of the Canaanites spread abroad. 19And the border of the Canaanites was from Sidon, as thou comest to Gerar, unto Gaza; as thou goest, unto Sodom, and Gomorrah, and Admah, and Zeboim, even unto Lasha. 20These are the sons of Ham, after their families, after their tongues, in their countries, and in their nations. 21Unto Shem also, the father of all the children of Eber, the brother of Japheth the elder, even to him were children born. 22The children of Shem; Elam, and Asshur, and Arphaxad, and Lud, and Aram. (Genesis 10:11‑22)
). In its splendor it embraced Susiana, Chaldea, Babylon, Media, Armenia, Assyria proper, Mesopotamia, Syria, Phoenicia, Palestine, and Idumea. Assyrian kings frequently invaded Israel (2 Kings 15:19; 16:7-9; 15:2919And Pul the king of Assyria came against the land: and Menahem gave Pul a thousand talents of silver, that his hand might be with him to confirm the kingdom in his hand. (2 Kings 15:19)
7So Ahaz sent messengers to Tiglath-pileser king of Assyria, saying, I am thy servant and thy son: come up, and save me out of the hand of the king of Syria, and out of the hand of the king of Israel, which rise up against me. 8And Ahaz took the silver and gold that was found in the house of the Lord, and in the treasures of the king's house, and sent it for a present to the king of Assyria. 9And the king of Assyria hearkened unto him: for the king of Assyria went up against Damascus, and took it, and carried the people of it captive to Kir, and slew Rezin. (2 Kings 16:7‑9)
29In the days of Pekah king of Israel came Tiglath-pileser king of Assyria, and took Ijon, and Abel-beth-maachah, and Janoah, and Kedesh, and Hazor, and Gilead, and Galilee, all the land of Naphtali, and carried them captive to Assyria. (2 Kings 15:29)
; 2 Chron. 28:2020And Tilgath-pilneser king of Assyria came unto him, and distressed him, but strengthened him not. (2 Chronicles 28:20)). Shalmaneser destroyed Samaria, B. C. 721, and carried the people captive. Assyria was overthrown by the Medes and Babylonians, 625 B. C., after an existence of 1200 years.

Concise Bible Dictionary:

The great kingdom of Assyria was situated near the river Tigris, having Armenia on the North, Mount Zagros and Media on the east, Babylonia on the south, Syria and the Syrian desert on the west; but its boundaries were doubtless not always the same. Nineveh became its capital. The first allusion to Assyria is found in Genesis 2:1414And the name of the third river is Hiddekel: that is it which goeth toward the east of Assyria. And the fourth river is Euphrates. (Genesis 2:14), where we read that one of the rivers of Paradise went “toward the east of Assyria,” or “went eastward to Assyria” (margin).
The name of Assyria appears to have arisen from its first capital, Asshur (now called Kalah Sherghat) on the Tigris. Apparently a monarchy was established there by some from Babylonia, and there were several kings before SHALMANESER I. (about B.C. 1300), whose family kept the throne for six generations until TIGLATH-PILESER I. (about B.C. 1130), who may be said to be the founder of the first Assyrian Empire. He beautified Nineveh and carried his arms in various directions. After him the kingdom became feeble until RIMMON-NIRARI II, B.C. 911, but his victorious career was excelled by his grandson, the great ASSUR-NATSIR-PAL, B.C. 883, who made conquests over the Phoenicians and the “Kaldu” (Chaldeans).
SHALMANESER II. Succeeded (B.C. 858). He carried his arms still farther. We have his conquests told by himself on three monuments in the British Museum, one of which is known as the Black Obelisk. If the names are correctly interpreted he mentions as allied against him Benhadad king of Syria and Ahab king of Israel. These were defeated at the battle of Karkar (B.C. 853). Hazael of Damascus was also defeated; and from Yahua, the son of Khumri, that is, Jehu, whom he incorrectly calls son of Omri king of Israel, he received tribute; but of this scripture says nothing.
The next king who invaded Syria was RIMMON-NIRARI III (B.C. 810). He extended his victories to what he calls, “the shore of the sea of the setting sun,” which is doubtless the Mediterranean, and imposed tribute on the Phoenicians, Israelites, Edomites, Philistines, and the king of Damascus. After this king the power of Assyria waned for a time.
The next king of note was TIGLATH-PILESER II. or III (B.C. 745), who is considered to have founded the second Assyrian kingdom. He consolidated the various dependencies, turbulent populations were removed, and the empire was divided into provinces, each of which paid a fixed annual tribute. In his inscriptions occur the names of Jehoahaz (Ahaz) of Judah; Pekah, and Hoshea of Israel; Reson (Resin) of Damascus; and Hiram of Tire. The name of Merodach-baladan is also found. Hamath was taken and then all Palestine was at his feet. He attacked those on the east of the Jordan, and carried away the Reubenites, the Gadites, and the half-tribe of Manasseh (1 Chron. 5:2626And the God of Israel stirred up the spirit of Pul king of Assyria, and the spirit of Tilgath-pilneser king of Assyria, and he carried them away, even the Reubenites, and the Gadites, and the half tribe of Manasseh, and brought them unto Halah, and Habor, and Hara, and to the river Gozan, unto this day. (1 Chronicles 5:26)). Ahaz sought his alliance against Rezin the king of Damascus. Rezin was slain and the city taken; and there Ahaz met the king of Assyria (2 Kings 16:1-101In the seventeenth year of Pekah the son of Remaliah Ahaz the son of Jotham king of Judah began to reign. 2Twenty years old was Ahaz when he began to reign, and reigned sixteen years in Jerusalem, and did not that which was right in the sight of the Lord his God, like David his father. 3But he walked in the way of the kings of Israel, yea, and made his son to pass through the fire, according to the abominations of the heathen, whom the Lord cast out from before the children of Israel. 4And he sacrificed and burnt incense in the high places, and on the hills, and under every green tree. 5Then Rezin king of Syria and Pekah son of Remaliah king of Israel came up to Jerusalem to war: and they besieged Ahaz, but could not overcome him. 6At that time Rezin king of Syria recovered Elath to Syria, and drave the Jews from Elath: and the Syrians came to Elath, and dwelt there unto this day. 7So Ahaz sent messengers to Tiglath-pileser king of Assyria, saying, I am thy servant and thy son: come up, and save me out of the hand of the king of Syria, and out of the hand of the king of Israel, which rise up against me. 8And Ahaz took the silver and gold that was found in the house of the Lord, and in the treasures of the king's house, and sent it for a present to the king of Assyria. 9And the king of Assyria hearkened unto him: for the king of Assyria went up against Damascus, and took it, and carried the people of it captive to Kir, and slew Rezin. 10And king Ahaz went to Damascus to meet Tiglath-pileser king of Assyria, and saw an altar that was at Damascus: and king Ahaz sent to Urijah the priest the fashion of the altar, and the pattern of it, according to all the workmanship thereof. (2 Kings 16:1‑10); 2 Chron. 28:16-2116At that time did king Ahaz send unto the kings of Assyria to help him. 17For again the Edomites had come and smitten Judah, and carried away captives. 18The Philistines also had invaded the cities of the low country, and of the south of Judah, and had taken Beth-shemesh, and Ajalon, and Gederoth, and Shocho with the villages thereof, and Timnah with the villages thereof, Gimzo also and the villages thereof: and they dwelt there. 19For the Lord brought Judah low because of Ahaz king of Israel; for he made Judah naked, and transgressed sore against the Lord. 20And Tilgath-pilneser king of Assyria came unto him, and distressed him, but strengthened him not. 21For Ahaz took away a portion out of the house of the Lord, and out of the house of the king, and of the princes, and gave it unto the king of Assyria: but he helped him not. (2 Chronicles 28:16‑21)). He also made himself master of Babylonia; but this afterward gained its independence under Merodach-baladan. Some Assyrian scholars take Tiglath-pileser (whose name appears to have been Pulu) to be the same person as the Pul mentioned in the Bible; but this does not at all agree with the dates of scripture, and in 1 Chronicles 5:2626And the God of Israel stirred up the spirit of Pul king of Assyria, and the spirit of Tilgath-pilneser king of Assyria, and he carried them away, even the Reubenites, and the Gadites, and the half tribe of Manasseh, and brought them unto Halah, and Habor, and Hara, and to the river Gozan, unto this day. (1 Chronicles 5:26) the names of Pul and Tiglath-pileser are mentioned as of two persons. See PUL.
In B.C. 722 SaRGON succeeded, and apparently it was he who captured Samaria. An inscription of his at Khorsabad reads, “I besieged the city of Samaria and carried away 27,280 men who dwelt there into captivity, and took fifty chariots from among them, and ordered the rest to be taken. I set my judges over them, and imposed upon them the tribute of the former kings.” He also placed colonists in Samaria, but it is supposed by the names of the places mentioned from which these were sent, that this was not done immediately. Sargon captured Carchemish, punished the king of Syria, flayed alive the king of Hamath, and then successfully overcame So or Sabako. Sargon is mentioned in Isaiah 20:11In the year that Tartan came unto Ashdod, (when Sargon the king of Assyria sent him,) and fought against Ashdod, and took it; (Isaiah 20:1) as sending his general to Ashdod, who took it. An inscription also mentions the fall of the city. Sargon defeated Merodach-baladan in Babylonia, but was assassinated in B.C. 705. He was called SHARRU-KENU, that is, “faithful king.”
SENNACHERIB succeeded Sargon his father (B.C. 701). Hezekiah had been tributary; but on his revolting Sennacherib took the fenced cities of Judah, and then Hezekiah sent him the treasures of his own house and the house of the Lord. Still Jerusalem was attacked, and profane speeches made against the God of Israel. Hezekiah humbled himself before God, and the angel of the Lord smote of the Assyrians 185,000. Sennacherib returned to his land and was eventually murdered by two of his sons (2 Kings 18:1313Now in the fourteenth year of king Hezekiah did Sennacherib king of Assyria come up against all the fenced cities of Judah, and took them. (2 Kings 18:13); 2 Kings 19:3737And it came to pass, as he was worshipping in the house of Nisroch his god, that Adrammelech and Sharezer his sons smote him with the sword: and they escaped into the land of Armenia. And Esar-haddon his son reigned in his stead. (2 Kings 19:37)). In Sennacherib’s own account he says, “Hezekiah himself I shut up like a bird in a cage in Jerusalem, his royal city.... in addition to his former tribute and yearly gifts I added other tribute and the homage due to my majesty, and I laid it upon them.” The above date would clash with the date of Hezekiah, but it is probable that Sennacherib was coregent with his father some nine years before he reigned alone.
A tablet shows Sennacherib sitting on a throne to receive the spoils of the city of Lachish. It is supposed he lived 20 years after he left Palestine before he was assassinated. He says nothing of the loss of his army, and perhaps never recovered the shock.
ESAR-HADDON succeeded (B.C. 681). He is said to have reigned from the Euphrates to the Nile. He also conquered Egypt, and divided it into 20 provinces, governed by Assyrians. According to an inscription he claimed the sovereignty of Babylon, and held his court there. This accounts for him, as king of Assyria, carrying Manasseh captive to Babylon (2 Chron. 33:1111Wherefore the Lord brought upon them the captains of the host of the king of Assyria, which took Manasseh among the thorns, and bound him with fetters, and carried him to Babylon. (2 Chronicles 33:11)). He is mentioned also in Ezra 4:22Then they came to Zerubbabel, and to the chief of the fathers, and said unto them, Let us build with you: for we seek your God, as ye do; and we do sacrifice unto him since the days of Esar-haddon king of Assur, which brought us up hither. (Ezra 4:2) as having sent the colonists into Judaea. After reigning about 10 years he associated with him his son the noted ASSUR-BANI-PAL. Egypt was again conquered. He gathered a famous library at Kouyunjik, the terra cotta tablets of which have been preserved. Assur-bani-pal died about B.C. 626. The glory of the Assyrian kingdom was permanently departing, and about B.C. 606 Nineveh was taken and destroyed (Nah. 1-3).
There are many monuments and inscriptions on tablets which the learned are deciphering; but the difficulties of distinguishing the proper names on the Assyrian monuments are shown by M. Joachim Menant, who gives as an instance one sign which may be read kal, rip, clan, or lip, being one of the signs called “polyphones.”
The following list of kings is from Rawlinson, Sayce, and other Assyrian scholars. The early dates are uncertain and several of the later dates do not agree with the usual chronology of scripture.
ASSYRIAN KINGS.
B.C.
Shalmaneser I. 1300
Tiglath-Adar I., his son 1280
Bel-kudur-tsur(Belchad- rezzar) his son 1260
Assur-narara and Nebo-dan 1240
Adar-pal-esar (Adar-pileser) 1220
Assur-dan I., his son 1200
Mutaggil-Nebo, his son 1180
Assur-ris-ilim, his son 1160
Tiglath-pileser I., his son 1140
Assur-bel-kala, his son 1110
Saruas-Rimmon I., his brother 1090
Assur-rab-buri ?
Assur-zalmati ?
Assur-dan II. 930
Rimmon-nirari II., his son 911
Tiglath-Adar II., his son 889
Assur-natsir-pal, his son 883
Shalmaneser II., his son 858
Samas-Rimmon II., his son 823
Rimmon-nirari III., his son 810
Shalmaneser III. 781
Assur-dan III. 771
Assur-nirari 753
Pulu, usurper, Tiglath-pileser II. or III. 745
Ulula (Elulnos) of Tinu, usurper, Shalmaneser IV. 727
Sargon, usurper, 722
Sennacherib of Khabigal, his son 705
Esar-haddon, his son 681
Assur-bani-pal (Sardanapalus) his son 668
Assur-etil-ili-yukinni, his son? 626
Esar-haddon II. (Sarakos) ?
Fall of Nineveh ? 606
The Assyrians were idolaters: from the inscriptions the names of hundreds of gods can be gathered.
The Assyrian language was a branch of the Semitic, and came from the Accadian. It was written in Cuneiform or wedge-shaped characters.
Assyria was used by God as His rod to punish His guilty people Israel, and then, as in other instances, the rod itself, for its pride and wickedness, had to bear God’s judgment. (See Isa. 10:5-195O Assyrian, the rod of mine anger, and the staff in their hand is mine indignation. 6I will send him against an hypocritical nation, and against the people of my wrath will I give him a charge, to take the spoil, and to take the prey, and to tread them down like the mire of the streets. 7Howbeit he meaneth not so, neither doth his heart think so; but it is in his heart to destroy and cut off nations not a few. 8For he saith, Are not my princes altogether kings? 9Is not Calno as Carchemish? is not Hamath as Arpad? is not Samaria as Damascus? 10As my hand hath found the kingdoms of the idols, and whose graven images did excel them of Jerusalem and of Samaria; 11Shall I not, as I have done unto Samaria and her idols, so do to Jerusalem and her idols? 12Wherefore it shall come to pass, that when the Lord hath performed his whole work upon mount Zion and on Jerusalem, I will punish the fruit of the stout heart of the king of Assyria, and the glory of his high looks. 13For he saith, By the strength of my hand I have done it, and by my wisdom; for I am prudent: and I have removed the bounds of the people, and have robbed their treasures, and I have put down the inhabitants like a valiant man: 14And my hand hath found as a nest the riches of the people: and as one gathereth eggs that are left, have I gathered all the earth; and there was none that moved the wing, or opened the mouth, or peeped. 15Shall the axe boast itself against him that heweth therewith? or shall the saw magnify itself against him that shaketh it? as if the rod should shake itself against them that lift it up, or as if the staff should lift up itself, as if it were no wood. 16Therefore shall the Lord, the Lord of hosts, send among his fat ones leanness; and under his glory he shall kindle a burning like the burning of a fire. 17And the light of Israel shall be for a fire, and his Holy One for a flame: and it shall burn and devour his thorns and his briers in one day; 18And shall consume the glory of his forest, and of his fruitful field, both soul and body: and they shall be as when a standardbearer fainteth. 19And the rest of the trees of his forest shall be few, that a child may write them. (Isaiah 10:5‑19); Isa. 14:2525That I will break the Assyrian in my land, and upon my mountains tread him under foot: then shall his yoke depart from off them, and his burden depart from off their shoulders. (Isaiah 14:25); Ezek. 31:3-173Behold, the Assyrian was a cedar in Lebanon with fair branches, and with a shadowing shroud, and of an high stature; and his top was among the thick boughs. 4The waters made him great, the deep set him up on high with her rivers running round about his plants, and sent out her little rivers unto all the trees of the field. 5Therefore his height was exalted above all the trees of the field, and his boughs were multiplied, and his branches became long because of the multitude of waters, when he shot forth. 6All the fowls of heaven made their nests in his boughs, and under his branches did all the beasts of the field bring forth their young, and under his shadow dwelt all great nations. 7Thus was he fair in his greatness, in the length of his branches: for his root was by great waters. 8The cedars in the garden of God could not hide him: the fir trees were not like his boughs, and the chesnut trees were not like his branches; nor any tree in the garden of God was like unto him in his beauty. 9I have made him fair by the multitude of his branches: so that all the trees of Eden, that were in the garden of God, envied him. 10Therefore thus saith the Lord God; Because thou hast lifted up thyself in height, and he hath shot up his top among the thick boughs, and his heart is lifted up in his height; 11I have therefore delivered him into the hand of the mighty one of the heathen; he shall surely deal with him: I have driven him out for his wickedness. 12And strangers, the terrible of the nations, have cut him off, and have left him: upon the mountains and in all the valleys his branches are fallen, and his boughs are broken by all the rivers of the land; and all the people of the earth are gone down from his shadow, and have left him. 13Upon his ruin shall all the fowls of the heaven remain, and all the beasts of the field shall be upon his branches: 14To the end that none of all the trees by the waters exalt themselves for their height, neither shoot up their top among the thick boughs, neither their trees stand up in their height, all that drink water: for they are all delivered unto death, to the nether parts of the earth, in the midst of the children of men, with them that go down to the pit. 15Thus saith the Lord God; In the day when he went down to the grave I caused a mourning: I covered the deep for him, and I restrained the floods thereof, and the great waters were stayed: and I caused Lebanon to mourn for him, and all the trees of the field fainted for him. 16I made the nations to shake at the sound of his fall, when I cast him down to hell with them that descend into the pit: and all the trees of Eden, the choice and best of Lebanon, all that drink water, shall be comforted in the nether parts of the earth. 17They also went down into hell with him unto them that be slain with the sword; and they that were his arm, that dwelt under his shadow in the midst of the heathen. (Ezekiel 31:3‑17); Nah. 3:18-1918Thy shepherds slumber, O king of Assyria: thy nobles shall dwell in the dust: thy people is scattered upon the mountains, and no man gathereth them. 19There is no healing of thy bruise; thy wound is grievous: all that hear the bruit of thee shall clap the hands over thee: for upon whom hath not thy wickedness passed continually? (Nahum 3:18‑19); Zeph. 2:1313And he will stretch out his hand against the north, and destroy Assyria; and will make Nineveh a desolation, and dry like a wilderness. (Zephaniah 2:13)). Some of the passages that speak of the kings of Assyria are prophetic, and refer to the still future, when as “kings of the north” they will again have to do with Israel and will be judged of God. The indignation against Israel ceases in the destruction of the Assyrian. (See Isa. 10:1212Wherefore it shall come to pass, that when the Lord hath performed his whole work upon mount Zion and on Jerusalem, I will punish the fruit of the stout heart of the king of Assyria, and the glory of his high looks. (Isaiah 10:12); Isa. 14:2525That I will break the Assyrian in my land, and upon my mountains tread him under foot: then shall his yoke depart from off them, and his burden depart from off their shoulders. (Isaiah 14:25); Isa. 30:27-3327Behold, the name of the Lord cometh from far, burning with his anger, and the burden thereof is heavy: his lips are full of indignation, and his tongue as a devouring fire: 28And his breath, as an overflowing stream, shall reach to the midst of the neck, to sift the nations with the sieve of vanity: and there shall be a bridle in the jaws of the people, causing them to err. 29Ye shall have a song, as in the night when a holy solemnity is kept; and gladness of heart, as when one goeth with a pipe to come into the mountain of the Lord, to the mighty One of Israel. 30And the Lord shall cause his glorious voice to be heard, and shall show the lighting down of his arm, with the indignation of his anger, and with the flame of a devouring fire, with scattering, and tempest, and hailstones. 31For through the voice of the Lord shall the Assyrian be beaten down, which smote with a rod. 32And in every place where the grounded staff shall pass, which the Lord shall lay upon him, it shall be with tabrets and harps: and in battles of shaking will he fight with it. 33For Tophet is ordained of old; yea, for the king it is prepared; he hath made it deep and large: the pile thereof is fire and much wood; the breath of the Lord, like a stream of brimstone, doth kindle it. (Isaiah 30:27‑33)). One remarkable passage speaks of Assyria with Egypt and Israel as being brought into blessing, Isaiah 19:23-2523In that day shall there be a highway out of Egypt to Assyria, and the Assyrian shall come into Egypt, and the Egyptian into Assyria, and the Egyptians shall serve with the Assyrians. 24In that day shall Israel be the third with Egypt and with Assyria, even a blessing in the midst of the land: 25Whom the Lord of hosts shall bless, saying, Blessed be Egypt my people, and Assyria the work of my hands, and Israel mine inheritance. (Isaiah 19:23‑25), “Whom the Lord of hosts shall bless, saying, Blessed be Egypt my people, and Assyria the work of my hands, and Israel mine inheritance.” We thus see that the Assyrians have a large place in scripture both in the past and in the future, doubtless because they have had, and will yet have, to do with Jehovah’s earthly people, “the Israel of God.” The Assyrian is the over-flowing scourge of God’s anger because of Israel’s connection with idolatry.

Jackson’s Dictionary of Scripture Proper Names:

a step

“579. Assyrian Garments” From Manners and Customs of the Bible:

Ezekiel 23:1212She doted upon the Assyrians her neighbors, captains and rulers clothed most gorgeously, horsemen riding upon horses, all of them desirable young men. (Ezekiel 23:12). She doted upon the Assyrians her neighbors, captains and rulers clothed most gorgeously, horsemen riding upon horses, all of them desirable young men.
The Assyrians were famous for their rich and costly apparel. The expression “Assyrian garments” became synonymous with elegant and expensive clothing. Bonomi says: “The robes of the Assyrians were generally ample and flowing, but differed in form from those of the Egyptians and the Persians. They consisted of tunics or robes varying in length, in mantles of diverse shapes, of long-fringed scarfs, and of embroidered girdles. Ornaments were scattered with profusion over these dresses, some of which) appear to have been emblematic of certain dignities or employments” (Nineveh and its Palaces, p. 431).
The figures sculptured on the Assyrian marbles attest to the truthfulness of the description given in the text. Bonomi gives an interesting extract from Mr. Smirk’s review of the Assyrian sculptures, which may serve to illustrate the subject: “The apparel of the Assyrians appears by these sculptures to have been almost always richly fringed, with wide borders ornamented with figures of men, animals, and foliage. The caparison of their horses is most gorgeous; every strap of their head and body-housings is enriched; to the chariot horses is usually seen attached, apparently either to the extremity of the pole or to the trappings of the neck, and to the front of the chariot itself, a long fish-shaped piece of drapery fringed and embroidered. Layard is at a loss to designate this object. Perhaps ‘the precious clothes for chariots,’ alluded to by Ezekiel (see Ezek. 27:2020Dedan was thy merchant in precious clothes for chariots. (Ezekiel 27:20)) as being obtained by the people of Tire from Dedan, may have reference to this singular piece of horse furniture” (Nineveh and its Palaces, p. 437).

“615. Assyrian Warriors” From Manners and Customs of the Bible:

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.