Getting ready for a war battle (Jer 46:3-46:4)

“Prepare the buckler!

Prepare the shield!

Advance for battle!

Harness the horses!

Mount the steeds!

Take your stations!

Put on your helmets!

Polish your spears!

Put on your coats of mail!”

Jeremiah has a very vivid description of how these ancient warriors prepared to do battle. They had their small forearm buckler shields with their larger shield, as they advanced on foot to do battle. The cavalry horsemen had to harness their horses and then mount them. They all would take their appointed stations. They had their helmets and spears with their protective armor coats. They were now ready to do battle.

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The king’s army prepares to do battle (1 Macc 6:33-6:39)

“Early in the morning the king set out. He took his army by a forced march along the road to Beth-zechariah. His troops made ready for battle and sounded their trumpets. They offered their elephants the juice of grapes and mulberries to arouse them for battle. They distributed the beasts among the phalanxes. With each elephant they stationed a thousand men armed with coats of mail and with brass helmets on their heads. Five hundred picked cavalry were assigned to each beast. These took their position beforehand wherever the beast was. Wherever it went, they went with it. They never left it. On the elephants were wooden towers, strong and covered. They were fastened on each beast by a special harness. On each were four armed men who fought from there. They also had an Indian driver. The rest of the cavalry were stationed on either side, on the two flanks of the army, to harass the enemy while being themselves protected by the phalanxes. When the sun shone upon the shields of gold and brass, the hills were ablaze with them. They gleamed like flaming torches.”

King Antiochus V, the 10 year old king, or Lysias, his general got ready for the battle with Judas Maccabeus. They had elephants all juiced up and roaring to go. Each elephant had 1,000 men and 500 cavalry with them. On top of the elephants they had wooden towers fastened by a harness with 4 armed men in each tower. Beside these men there was an Indian driver of the elephant. They were an extraordinary sight so that when the sun shone on them, their shields looks like flaming torches.