Meditations from the Classics

Ephesians 6:16
Homer, Iliad 4:100-125  (762 BC)

Archery played a prominent part in the battles of the Bible.  Archers struck Saul multiple times in his final battle (1 Sam 31:3) and King Josiah likewise was mortally wounded on a battlefield littered with arrows (2 Kings 23).  It was the knowledge of archery that enabled Jonathan to secretly communicate with David during Saul’s reign of terror:

In the morning Jonathan went out to the field for his meeting with David.  He had a small boy with him, and he said to the boy, “Run and find the arrows I shoot” (1 Sam. 20:35-36).

There is a valuable description of the art of archery in Homer’s Iliad.  Pandarus has just been convinced by the goddess Athene to shoot Menelaus:


“…then and there he unsheathed his polished bow.  It was made from the horns of an ibex that he himself had shot in the breast…The horns on its head, measuring sixteen hands across, were worked up by a craftsman in horn, who fitted them together, made all smooth, and put a golden tip on the end.  Pandarus strung the bow, slanting it against the ground, and laid carefully down, while his gallant followers held their shields in front to protect him from attack by the fierce Achaeans…Then he took off the lid of his quiver and picked out an arrow, feathered but as yet unused, and fraught with agony.  He deftly fitted the sharp arrow to the string and offered up a prayer to the Archery King Apollo…And now, gripping the notched end and the ox-gut string, he drew them back together till the string was near his breast and the iron point was by the bow.  When he had bent the great bow to a circle, it gave a twang, the string sang out, and the sharp arrow leapt into the air, eager to wing its way into the enemy ranks.”

Satan possesses a powerful bow as well, one with nefarious intentions.  Can’t you see him groaning under the string of his taut bow before he unleashed another arrow at a faltering saint?

Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith, ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked– τὰ  βέλη  τοῦ  πονηροῦ (Eph. 6:16).

So, keep your shields up and trust God for your daily protection.

David R. Denny  PhD.
1 Archery image:

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