What is a Banner?
BAN'NER, EN'SIGN or STAND'ARD
A standard pertained to each of the four grand divisions of the host of Israel, Num 1:52, distinguished from the others by colors and by an emblematic device. Thus, according to the rabbins, the device of Judah was a lion; that of Reuben was a man; that of Ephraim, an ox; of Dan, an eagle. Another standard for subdivisions, denoted by another word, was probably nothing more than a common spear richly burnished or ornamented. The Egyptian princes used a standard like this, surmounted with a ball of gold. There was another standard in use among the Jews, which is called a beacon. Isa 30:17. It was stationary, erected on lofty mountains, and used as a rallying token. Comp. Isa 18:3; Isa 62:10; Jer 4:6, 2 Chr 11:21; Gen 6:1; Jer 51:12, Jer 51:27. None of these standards were flags. Some writers have supposed that the ancient Jewish ensign was a long pole, on the top of which was a grate not unlike a chaffing-dish, made of iron bars and supplied with fire, the size, height, and shape of which denoted the party or company to whom it belonged. This seems rather to describe the night-torches of Eastern encampments. The shape, etc., of the Roman standards are seen under the article Abomination.