What is…

also known as: armour

The word armor is used many times in English Bibles. In the King James Bible it is used to indicate military equipment, both offensive and defensive. In other translations, the word is generally used to refer to protective body coverings.


The shield or buckler were major elements of defensive armor. There was the great shield or target, for the protection of the whole person (Genesis 15:1; Psalm 47:9; 1 Samuel 17:7; Proverbs 30:5), and the buckler or small shield (1 Kings 10:17; Ezek. 26:8). In Psalm 91:4 “buckler” is actually a roundel used by archers or slingers.

In describing the “whole armor of God” (Ephesians 6:14-17), Paul was referring to the Roman soldier’s panoply—a complete set of arms or suit of armor. The “shield of faith” would be like the soldier’s scutum, a door-like oblong shield above all, i.e., covering the whole person, not just a small round shield. There was no armor for the back, but only for the front.

Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of GodEphesians 6:14-17 NKJV

Elements of Biblical defensive armor included:


The offensive weapons were different at different periods of history.

The “rod of iron” (Psalm 2:9) is supposed to mean a mace or crowbar, an weapon of great power when used by a strong arm.

The “maul” (Proverbs 25:18; cognate Hebrew word translated “battle-axe” in Jeremiah 51:20, and “slaughter weapon” in Ezek. 9:2) was a war-hammer or martel.

The “sword” is the usual translation of “hereb,” which properly means “poniard” [a slender bladed dagger]. The real sword, as well as the dirk-sword (which was always double-edged), was also used (1 Samuel 17:39; 2 Samuel 20:8; 1 Kings 20:11).

The spear was another offensive weapon (Joshua 8:18; 1 Samuel 17:7). The javelin was used by light troops (Numbers 25:7-8; 1 Samuel 13:22). Saul threw a javelin at David (1 Samuel 19:9-10).

The bow was the main offensive weapon. The arrows were carried in a quiver, the bow always unbent till the moment of action (Genesis 27:3; 48:22; Psalm 18:34). The sling was a favorite weapon of the Benjamites (1 Samuel 17:40; 1 Chronicles 12:2. Compare 1 Samuel 25:29).

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