Warfare

wor, wor’-far (milchamah, ’anshe m., "men of war," "soldiers"; polemos, polemein, strateuesthai, stratia):

1. Religious Significance

2. Preliminaries

3. Operations of War

4. Strategy

5. Important Requisites

6. Characteristics

7. Defeat and Victory

8. Spoils and Trophies

9. Treaties of Peace

10. War in the New Testament

LITERATURE

1. Religious Significance:


2. Preliminaries:

(1) Religious Preliminaries.


(2) Military Preliminaries.


3. Operations of War:


To the minor operations of war belong the raid, such as the Philistines made into the Valley of Rephaim (1Ch 14:9), the foray, the object of which was plunder (2Sa 3:22), the foraging to secure supplies (2Sa 23:11 margin), and the movements of bands who captured defenseless inhabitants and sold them as slaves (2Ki 5:2).

4. Strategy:

Of strategical movements in war there was the ambush with liers-in-wait resorted to by Joshua at Ai (Jos 8:3 ); the feint, resorted to by the Israelites against the tribe of Benjamin (Jud 20:20 ); the flank movement, adopted by David in the Valley of Rephaim to rout the Philistines (2Sa 5:22 f); and the surprise, inflicted successfully at the Waters of Merom upon the Canaanites under Jabin by Joshua (Jos 11:1 f). Of all these the story of Judas Maccabeus, the great military leader of the Jewish nation, furnishes illustrations (1 Macc 4:5 and elsewhere).

5. Important Requisites:


6. Characteristics:

Among the characteristic notes of war, the tumult and the shouting were often noticed by the sacred historians (1Sa 4:6; 14:19; 2Ki 7:6). In the figurative language of the prophets the terrors and horrors and devastation of war are set forth in lurid colors. "The snorting of his horses is heard from Dan," is Jeremiah’s description of an invading army, "at the sound of the neighing of his strong ones the whole land trembleth" (Jer 8:16). `The crack of the whip and the noise of the rumbling wheel and the galloping horse, and the jolting chariot and the rearing horsemen; and the flash of the sword and the glitter of the spear, and the multitude of slain; and a mass of dead bodies and no end to the carcasses’ (Na 3:2-4: J. M. P. Smith’s translation in ICC). Because of the devastation of territory and the slaughter of men which it entails, the sword is named with famine and "noisome beasts" (the American Standard Revised Version has "evil beasts") and "pestilence" as one of God’s "four sore judgments" (Eze 14:21, the King James Version). By a familiar figure "the sword" is often taken for all the operations of war, because it is characteristic of it to devour and to destroy (2Sa 2:26; Jer 2:30).

7. Defeat and Victory:


The spoils of war, spoken of as booty also--armor, clothing, jewelry, money, captives and animals--falling to the victors, were divided equally between those who had taken part in the battle and those who had been left behind in camp (Nu 31:27; Jos 22:8; 1Sa 30:24 f).

8. Spoils and Trophies:

A proportion of the spoils was reserved for the Levites, and "a tribute unto the Lord" was also levied before distribution was made of the collected booty (Nu 31:28,30). To the Lord, in the Israelite interpretation of war, the spoils truly belong, and we see this exemplified at the capture of Jericho when the silver and the gold and the vessels of brass were put into the treasury of the house of the Lord (Jos 6:24). Under the monarchy, part of the spoils fell to the king who might in turn dedicate it to the Lord or use it for the purposes of war (2Ki 14:14; 1Ch 18:7,11). The armor of the conquered was sometimes dedicated as a trophy of victory and placed in the temple of the heathen or preserved near the ark of God (1Sa 21:9; 31:9).

9. Treaties of Peace:


10. War in the New Testament:


LITERATURE.

Benzinger, article "Kriegswesen" in Herzog, Realencyklopadie fur protestantische Theologie und Kirche(3), XI; Nowack, Hebraische Archaeologie, 72; Browne, Hebrew Antiquities, 44-47.

T. Nicol

See also

  • War, Warfare