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ENGINE. A battering ram (Ezek 26:9); also a device used in connection with shooting arrows or other missiles (2 Chron 26:15).

A typical battering ram, the kind used by the Assyrians, was mounted inside of a mobile device about fifteen ft. long and half as high. It was suspended by a rope in the center so that it could be swung. The ram was used to strike at the cracks between the stones and when forced into the cracks it was then pushed back and forth to dislodge the stones. On the front of the unit was a turret adding another nine ft. to the height from which the assailants could shoot arrows or direct operations. The unit was mounted on four or six wheels for mobility.

2. According to 2 Chronicles 26:15 Uzziah “made engines...to be on the towers and the corners, to shoot arrows and great stones.” The word “engine” (חִשָּׁבוֹן, H3115, “device,” “invention,” LXX μηχανή, “machine,” “engine”) has been understood to mean a device for the purpose of firing arrows or stones.

The same Gr. word appears in 1 Maccabees 6:51, 52 and 2 Maccabees 12:15 in similar contexts. Concerning the passage in 2 Chronicles, Yadin feels that this does not refer to a specific catapult or firing device as there seems to be no evidence of this existing anywhere at this time but that these were wooden devices with shields in the fortification of the walls to protect those who were shooting arrows and throwing stones. They protected the defenders of the city so that they could stand upright and use their weapons with comparative safety and freedom of movement. These are pictured in Assyrian reliefs.


A History of Technology, II (1957), 698-703, 715-717; Y. Yadin, The Art of Warfare in Biblical Lands (1963), 16-18, 313-316, 326, 327.

International Standard Bible Encyclopedia (1915)

(2Ch 26:15; Eze 26:9; 1Macc 6:51; 13:43 f).

See Siege.