Shields were usually "anointed" (Isa 21:5), in order to preserve them, and at the same time make the missiles of the enemy glide off them more easily.
(See ARMS.) Being of wood covered with leather, it might be burned (Eze 39:9). In Na 2:3, "the shield ... is made red," the reference is to bull's hide shields dyed red to strike terror into the foe, or rather to the red reflection of the sun's rays from shields of bronze or copper, such as are found among the Assyrian remains. The surface was kept bright with oil, which preserved both the leather and the metal, Isa 21:5, "anoint the shield": Isaiah warns the Babylonian revelers to prepare for instant self defense; offensive arms are not mentioned, as Cyrus would take them by surprise in the midst of a feast (2Sa 1:21).
The shield was covered when not in use; Isa 22:6, "Kir uncovered the shield," i.e. took off for battle the leather cover which protected the embossed figures from dust or injury. In Ps 47:9, "the shields of the earth belong unto God," the shields are the princes as protectors of their people (Ho 4:18). Faith is our shield "above all" (Eph 6:16), i.e. to cover all that was put on before; but Sinaiticus and Vaticanus manuscripts read "IN all things." Faith will certainly intercept (not only "ye may," but "ye shall be able") and so "quench all the fire-tipped darts of the evil one" (1Pe 5:9; 1Jo 5:4,18). Fire darts were canes with tow and combustibles ignited on the head. to set fire to wood and tents.
As a protection for the body, see ARMOUR.
The ordinary shield consisted of a framework of wood covered with leather; it thus admitted of being burnt.
It was frequently cased with metal, either brass or copper; its appearance in this case resembled gold when the sun shone on it, 1 Macc. 6:39 and to this, rather than to the practice of smearing blood on the shield we may refer the redness noticed by. Nahum.
The surface of the shield was kept bright by the application of oil as implied in
The shield was worn on the left arm, to which it was attached by a strap. Shields of state were covered with beaten gold. Shields were suspended about public buildings for ornamental purposes.
In the metaphorical language of the Bible the shield generally represents the protection of God: e.g.
it is applied to earthly rulers and in
to faith. [ARMS]
See Arms, Armor
SHIELD. See ARMS.