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An archer was one who used a bow and arrow for hunting (as many still do), or warfare (as some still do; special forces of various nations sometimes use crossbows for near-silent attacks, such as taking out sentries one by one prior to a full-scale attack on a base or compound). During Bible History, archers were a powerful element of an army, particularly against swordsmen and spearmen who did not have the effective range of an archer. While ancient Israelites were familiar with the bow and arrow, their descendants during the Middle Ages (see Where Is "Israel" Today?) again discovered the power of bowmen; in 1415, during the Hundred Years War (1337-1453), a force of only 12,000 English under King Henry V defeated 60,000 French at Agincourt, France with the use of what was again regarded as a new weapon - the long bow.


Archer Archers have been known since very early times, beginning far back in Genesis:

"And God heard the voice of the lad [i.e. Ishmael]; and the angel of God called to Hagar from heaven, and said to her, "What troubles you, Hagar? Fear not; for God has heard the voice of the lad where he is. Arise, lift up the lad, and hold him fast with your hand; for I will make him a great nation." Then God opened her eyes, and she saw a well of water; and she went, and filled the skin with water, and gave the lad a drink. And God was with the lad, and he grew up; he lived in the wilderness, and became an expert with the bow." (Genesis 21:17-20 RSV)

Again related to Where Is "Israel" Today?, Joseph, whose blessings and territory were inherited by his sons Ephraim and Manasseh, would be attacked by "archers," but their own firepower would overcome their foes, exactly as was prophesied for them:

"Joseph is a fruitful bough, a fruitful bough by a spring; his branches run over the wall. The archers fiercely attacked him, shot at him, and harassed him sorely; yet his bow remained unmoved, his arms were made agile by the hands of the Mighty One of Jacob, by the name of the Shepherd, the Rock of Israel, by the God of your father who will help you, by God Almighty who will bless you with blessings of heaven above, blessings of the deep that couches beneath, blessings of the breasts and of the womb. The blessings of your father are mighty beyond the blessings of the eternal mountains, the bounties of the everlasting hills; may they be on the head of Joseph, and on the brow of him who was separate from his brothers." (Genesis 49:22-26 RSV)

Kings of Israel and Judah (see also Israelite Dynasties) were sometimes lost in battle to archers:

"The battle pressed hard upon Saul, and the archers found him; and he was badly wounded by the archers." (1 Samuel 31:3 RSV) [Saul was succeeded by King David]

"And the archers shot King Josiah [see Josiah's Reforms]; and the king said to his servants, "Take me away, for I am badly wounded." So his servants took him out of the chariot and carried him in his second chariot and brought him to Jerusalem. And he died, and was buried in the tombs of his fathers. All Judah and Jerusalem mourned for Josiah." (2 Chronicles 35:23-24 RSV)

Fact Finder: What is the "armor of God" that protects His people from the "flaming darts" of the evil one?
Ephesians 6:13-17

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