horse Summary and Overview
Bible Dictionaries at a Glance
horse in Easton's Bible Dictionary
always referred to in the Bible in connection with warlike
operations, except Isa. 28:28. The war-horse is described Job
39:19-25. For a long period after their settlement in Canaan the
Israelites made no use of horses, according to the prohibition,
Deut. 17:16. David was the first to form a force of cavalry (2
Sam. 8:4). But Solomon, from his connection with Egypt, greatly
multiplied their number (1 Kings 4:26; 10:26, 29). After this,
horses were freely used in Israel (1 Kings 22:4; 2 Kings 3:7;
9:21, 33; 11:16). The furniture of the horse consisted simply of
a bridle (Isa. 30:28) and a curb (Ps. 32:9).
horse in Smith's Bible Dictionary
The most striking feature in the biblical notices of the horse is the exclusive application of it to warlike operations; in no instance is that useful animal employed for the purposes of ordinary locomotion or agriculture, if we except #Isa 28:28| The animated description of the horse in #Job 39:19-25| applies solely to the war-horse. The Hebrews in the patriarchal age, as a pastoral race, did not stand in need of the services Of the horse, and for a long period after their settlement in Canaan they dispensed with it, partly in consequence of the hilly nature of the country, which only admitted of the use of chariots in certain localities, #Jud 1:19| and partly in consequence to the prohibition in #De 17:16| which would be held to apply at all periods. David first established a force of cavalry and chariots, #2Sa 8:4| but the great supply of horses was subsequently effected by Solomon through his connection with Egypt. #1Ki 4:26| Solomon also established a very active trade in horses, which were brought by dealers out of Egypt and resold, at a profit, to the Hittites. With regard to the trappings and management of the horse we have little information. The bridle was placed over the horse's nose, #Isa 30:28| and a bit or curb is also mentioned. #2Ki 19:28; Ps 32:9; Pr 26:3; Isa 37:29| In the Authorized Version it is incorrectly given "bridle," with the exception of #Ps 32:1| ... Saddles were not used until a late period. The horses were not shod, and therefore hoofs are hard "as flint," #Isa 5:28| were regarded as a great merit. The chariot-horses were covered with embroidered trappings #Eze 27:20| Horses and chariots were used also in idolatrous processions, as noticed in regard to the sun. #2Ki 23:11|
horse in Schaff's Bible Dictionary
HORSE , Gen 49:17, one of the noblest of animals, of which Job gives a most poetic description, ch. Job 39:19-25. In the early periods of the world the laboring-beasts were chiefly oxen and asses, while horses were used by kings and warriors, either mounted or harnessed to chariots. Ex 14:9, 1 Sam 14:23; Esth 6:8. The use of horses by the Israelites was discouraged. Deut 17:16; Josh 11:6. The reason is perhaps explained in Isa 31:1, Isa 31:3. In Solomon's time, however, horses were common among them, and he probably imported them from Syria and Egypt. 1 Kgs 4:26; 1 Kgs 10:26, 1 Kgs 10:29; 2 Chr 1:14-17; 2 Chr 9:25. At the present day the horse is the usual conveyer of travellers through Palestine and Syria, as the camel is in the desert and the donkey in Egypt. Horses were consecrated to idol-gods, 2 Kgs 23:11, and are often employed by the prophets, under different colors, to denote the character of future dispensations, Zech 1:8; Zech 6:2-6; and so also are angels represented under the figure of horses, 2 Kgs 2:11; 2 Kgs 6:15-17, because of the characteristic strength, fleetness, and courage of that animal.
horse in Fausset's Bible Dictionary
In Scripture used for war-like purposes, not agriculture (except in treading out grain for threshing, Isaiah 28:28, where for "horsemen" translated "horses".) Job's magnificent description refers to the war horse (Isaiah 39:19-25), "hast thou clothed his neck with thunder?" i.e. with the power of inspiring terror. Rather "with majesty" (Umbreit), "with quivering mane" (Maurer). The Greek connection between mane (fobee) and terror (fobos) favors A.V. which is more poetic. "Canst thou make him afraid (rather 'make him spring') as a grasshopper?" So in Joel 2:4 war horses are compared to locusts. Their heads are so like that the Italian for "locust" is cavaletta, "little horse." "The glory of his nostrils is terrible: he paweth in the valley and rejoiceth in strength, he goeth on," etc.; "he swalloweth the ground with fierceness," i.e. draws it in fierce impatience toward him with his hoof, as if he would "swallow" it.
"Neither believeth he (for joy) that it is the sound of the trumpet," rather "he will not stand still at the sound." "He saith among the trumpets, Ha, ha!" his mettlesome neighing expressing his eagerness for battle, which "he smelleth," snuffeth, i.e. discerneth, "the thunder (i.e. thundering voice) of the captains." (See CHARIOT.) The donkey is the emblem of peace. The bride is compared to "a company of horses in Pharaoh's chariots" (Song of Solomon 1:9), namely, in ardor and beauty (Song of Solomon 1:4, "run"; Song of Solomon 1:5, "comely"), and in forming "a company" militant, orderly, and numerous (Revelation 19:7; Revelation 19:14). The qualities which seemed preeminent in the enemy Pharaoh's hosts at the Red Sea really belonged to Israel. Maurer translated "I compare thee to my mare in chariots of (i.e. received from) Pharaoh," but the plural "chariots" requires the collective sense "a company of horses."
The "cutting off of the horse from Jerusalem" prophetically symbolizes the cessation of war (Zechariah 9:10). Not the horse's speed or utility but his "strength" is his characteristic in Scripture (Psalm 33:17). Two names are used in Hebrew, both Persian in origin: sus from Susa, and parash from Pares. The sus was of stronger make, used for the war chariot; the parash more for riding. Perhaps in Exodus 14:9 "horsemen" mean "chariot riders." Certainly no Egyptian monument represents horsemen. Translated in 1 Kings 4:26, "forty (rather 'four,' a copyist's error, as 2 Chronicles 9:25 proves. Also 1400 chariots suit 4000 horses, two horses for each chariot and a reserve horse: 2 Chronicles 1:14; 1 Kings 10:26) thousand chariot horses and twelve thousand riding (i.e. cavalry) horses"; Ezekiel 27:14, "with (chariot) horses and riding horses" (KJV "horsemen".)
Isaiah 21:7, "a chariot with a couple of horsemen"; rather "a cavalcade of horsemen riding in pairs." In 1 Kings 4:28; Esther 8:14; Micah 1:13, rekesh "dromedary"; rather "a courser," a "racehorse," for such purposes as the royal post. In 1 Kings 10:28-29, the sense seems that the Egyptians regularly brought horses to a mart in S. Israel (Septuagint and Vulgate name the mart in their translation), of the Hebrew Koa. In A. V. Mi-Kveh is translated "linen yarn") and handed them to the king's dealers at a fixed price, 150 shekels for one horse, 600 for a chariot, including its two draught horses and one reserve horse. In Genesis 12:15 horses are not mentioned among the possessions which Abram acquired during his sojourn in Egypt. But in Genesis 47:17 they stand foremost among the Egyptians' possessions. In later times, the greater contact of Egypt with Canaanite and Arab nomads' accounts for the introduction of horses.
The camel, one of Abram's possessions in Egypt, is not mentioned in Joseph's time nor on the Egyptian monuments. Their early possession of the desert of Sinai makes it certain they knew and must have used the camel there, "the ship of the desert," but they avoid mentioning it as being unclean. Saddles were not used until a late period. Horses' hoofs hard "as flint" were a good point in days when shoeing was unknown (Isaiah 5:28). White horses were emblematic of victory (Revelation 6:2; Revelation 19:11; Revelation 19:14). Horses were consecrated to the sun, since that luminary was supposed to drive a fiery chariot through the sky (2 Kings 23:11). They were driven in procession to meet the rising sun.