A weapon much used in ancient times, both for hunting and for war. It was made of wood, horn, or steel, Ge 27:3; Ps 18:34; and the foot was sometimes used in bending it. It was carried in a case, when not used, Hab 3:19. The Benjamites were celebrated for their skill in the use of this weapon, 1Ch 12:2; 2Ch 14:8; 17:17. See ARMS. The phrase, "a deceitful bow," to which the people of Israel are compared, Ps 78:57; Ho 7:16, means an ill-made or twisted bow, which does not shoot the arrow as it is aimed. In 2Sa 1:18, we read. "Also he bade them teach the children of Judah the use of the bow." Here the words, "the use of," are not in the Hebrew. The use of the bow in war had long been common among the Jews, Ge 48:22; and to "teach them the bow," is by some supposed to mean, teach them by some supposed to mean, teach them the song of THE BOW, the lamentation over Saul and Jonathan, which follows; so called from the mention of the weapon in Ge 48:22, as the first four books in the Bible take their title in Hebrew from the first word in each. See ARROW.
The bow was in use in early times both in war and in the chase (Ge 21:20; 27:3; 48:22). The tribe of Benjamin were famous for the use of the bow (1Ch 8:40; 12:2; 2Ch 14:8; 17:17); so also were the Elamites (Isa 22:6) and the Lydians (Jer 46:9). The Hebrew word commonly used for bow means properly to tread (1Ch 5:18; 8:40), and hence it is concluded that the foot was employed in bending the bow. Bows of steel (correctly "copper") are mentioned (2Sa 22:35; Ps 18:34).
The use of the bow in 2Sa 1:18 (A.V.) ought to be "the song of the bow," as in the Revised Version.
BOW or RAINBOW. God, after the flood, took the rainbow, previously but a natural object of sight shining beautifully in the sky, when the sun's rays are refracted through failing rain at different angles and so produce different prismatic colors, and elevated it to spiritual significance, to be to Noah and the world the sign of His love and pledge of His sparing mercy, that He would no more destroy the earth with waters. The language in Genesis gives no reason for supposing the writer ignorant of the natural cause of the rainbow, as if he made God then for the first time setting it in the sky. So naathan, "give," means appoint in Nu 14:4; 1Sa 12:13; 1Ki 2:35.
It is the pledge of "the world's covenant, not the church's, a charter of natural blessings." "Set" means simply, "I do appoint My bow in the cloud" (Ge 9:13-16). In Eze 1:28 and Re 4:3 the rainbow round about the throne of Jehovah is the symbol of mercy to God's children amidst coming judgments on the wicked. Though the divine righteousness requires a deluge of wrath on the faithless, God's faithfulness will only shine forth on the elect remnant the brighter for the tribulation that necessarily precedes (compare Isa 54:8-10). The complete circle typifies God's perfection and eternity, not broken into a half, as the earthly rainbow. As the various prismatic colors unite to form one pure ray, so God's varied providence combine in one harmonious whole.
As the rainbow was reflected on the waters of the world's ruin, and is seen only when a cloud is over the earth, so another deluge of fire shall precede the new heavens and earth" granted to redeemed man, as the earth after the flood was restored to Noah. The cloud was the token of God's presence in Israel's wilderness journey and in the holiest place of the temple; and on Mount Sinai at the giving of the law; and at the Lord's ascension (Ac 1:9), and at His coming again (Re 1:7). The bow represents calm sunshine after the world's shipwreck through sin. It is the emblem of God's loving faithfulness to His covenant with His people, and the pledge of sure hope to them.
The common weapon for discharging arrows. It is used symbolically for the hidden attacks of the wicked against the righteous. Ps 11:2; 37:14-15. A 'bow of steel' signifies great strength. Job 20:24. The wicked are like a 'deceitful bow,' one that breaks when it is depended upon. Ps 78:57; Ho 7:16. In 2Sa 1:18 David's elegy on Saul and Jonathan is called 'The Bow.' The children were taught 'the song of the Bow.' R.V.
The eastern mode of salutation, by kneeling upon one knee and bending the head forward till it touched the ground.
BOW. The expression, "to break the bow," so frequent in Scripture, signifies to destroy the power of a people, because the principal offensive weapon, of armies, was anciently the bow. "A deceitful bow" in one that, from some defect, either in bending or the string, carries the arrow wide of the mark, however well aimed. See ARMS.