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Bible Dictionaries

Morrish Bible Dictionary

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It must be remembered that Israel were the hosts of Jehovah, keeping His charge and fighting His battles. Exodus 12:41; Joshua 5:14 . It appears that all who reached the age of twenty years were contemplated as able to bear arms, Numbers 1:3; and they marched and encamped in 4 divisions of 3 tribes each, with a captain over every tribe. The subdivisions were into thousands and hundreds, Numbers 31:14 , and into families. Joshua 7:17 . There were also trumpet calls, Numbers 10:9 (cf. 1 Corinthians 14:8 ), and all the appearance of careful organisation. Until the time of the kings this natural or tribal organisation seems to have been usual, but in the time of Saul there was a body guard, 1 Samuel 13:2 , and a captain of the host, 1 Samuel 17:55 . In David's days those heroes who were with him in the cave of Adullam formed the nucleus of his 'mighty men.' 2 Samuel 23:8-39 . They were devoted to the service of God's king. David afterwards organised a monthly militia of 24,000 man under 12 captains. 1 Chronicles 27:1-15 .

The general gradation of ranks was into privates; 'men of war;' officers; Solomon's 'servants;' captains or 'princes;' and others variously described as head captains, or knights or staff officers; with rulers of his chariots and his horsemen. 1 Kings 9:22 . It may be noticed that horses having been forbidden, Deuteronomy 17:16 , it was not until Solomon's time that this was organised, though David had reserved horses for a hundred chariots from the spoil of the Syrians. 2 Samuel 8:4 . Solomon, trading with Egypt, 1 Kings 10:28,29 , enlarged their number until the force amounted to 1,400 chariots, and 12,000 horsemen, 1 Kings 10:26; 2 Chronicles 1:14 . Every able man being a soldier gave David the immense army of 1,570,000 men that 'drew sword.' 1 Chronicles 21:5 . After the division, Judah under Abijah had an army of 400,000 'valiant men,' and Israel at the same time of 800,000 'chosen men.' Afterwards Asa had 580,000 'mighty men of valour;' and Jehoshaphat, who had waxed great exceedingly, had as many as 1,160,000 men, besides those left in the fenced cities. 2 Chronicles 17:14-19 .

In the N.T. a few references are made to the Roman army. A 'Legion' was a body that contained within itself all the gradations of the army. It might be called under the empire, in round numbers, a force of not more than 6,000 men. Every legion at times contained 10 cohorts of 600 each; every cohort 3 maniples of 200; and every maniple 2 centuries of 100: hence the name of centurion or commander of 100 men, as found in Acts 10:1,22 , etc. Each legion was presided over by 6 chiefs, χιλίαρθος,each commanding 1,000 men, mostly translated 'chief captain,' as in Acts 21:31-37 , etc.: it is 'high captain' in Mark 6:21; and 'captain' in John 18:12; Revelation 19:18 . A cohort, σπεῖρα, is translated 'band' in Acts 10:1; Acts 21:31 , etc. A 'quaternion' embraced 4 soldiers. Acts 12:4 .

The head quarters of the Roman troops was at Caesarea, with a cohortat Jerusalem; but at the time of the feast, when, alas, the mutinous disposition of the Jews was sure to appear, additional troops were present in the city but without their standards of the eagle, etc., which were especially obnoxious to the Jews. Though the Romans were God's rod to punish them, their stiff necks could not bow, nor receive the punishment as from Jehovah.

Bibliography Information
Morrish, George. Entry for 'Army'. Morrish Bible Dictionary. https://www.studylight.org/​dictionaries/​eng/​mbd/​a/army.html. 1897.
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