spear

spear

A close-range weapon composed of a long wooden shaft on which was mounted a shorter, pointed blade (i.e., spearhead). During the biblical period, the spearhead was usually made of bronze or iron, and it was attached to the shaft in various ways. The NRSV uses “spear” and “javelin” inconsistently to refer to two distinct weapons (cf. passages where both weapons are named, e.g., 1Sam 17:6-7, 1Sam 17:45). In more precise terms, the spear was used primarily for thrusting or stabbing (Num 25:7-8; 1Sam 26:8; 2Sam 23:8; 2Sam 23:18; 2Sam 23:21) and the lighter, shorter javelin was designed for throwing. Passages where the NRSV uses “spear” to translate the Hebrew word for “javelin” include (1Sam 18:11; 1Sam 19:10; 1Sam 20:33). Figurative references to the spear are rare but potent (Ps 35:3; Ps 46:9; Ps 57:4). The prophets speak about the future age of peace as a day in which spears will be converted into pruning hooks (Isa 2:4; Mic 4:3; Joel 3:10; where the opposite process was envisioned). In the NT the only reference to a spear is (John 19:34). The two hundred “spearmen” who escorted Paul to Antipatris (Acts 23:23) might have been javelin throwers.

1Sam 17:6-7

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1Sam 17:45

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Num 25:7-8

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1Sam 26:8

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2Sam 23:8

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2Sam 23:18

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2Sam 23:21

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1Sam 18:11

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1Sam 19:10

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1Sam 20:33

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Ps 35:3

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Ps 46:9

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Ps 57:4

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Isa 2:4

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Mic 4:3

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Joel 3:10

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John 19:34

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Acts 23:23

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