Israel seems not to have been equal to the surrounding peoples in the use of the bow. The battle of Gilboa was clearly lost through the superior skill of the Philistine bowmen. This seems to have moved David to encourage archery practice in Judah (2 Samuel 1:18; compare Driver in the place cited.). It is thought probable that the revival of Israel's military power under Jeroboam, son of Joash, was due to improvement in archery. Hosea, a contemporary, speaks of the bow as the national weapon of Israel (2 Samuel 1:5,7) . The most skilled bowmen of antiquity were the Assyrians (compare Isaiah 5:28; 37:33). From Assyrian reliefs it seems that it was their practice to overwhelm their enemies with the bow, and to use sword and spear only when the foe had been demoralized and put to flight.
George B. Eager
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