Footman a word employed in the A.V. in two senses. SEE RUNNER.
1. Generally, to distinguish those of the people or of the fighting-men who went on foot from those who were on animals or in chariots. The Hebrew word for this is רִגלַי, ragli', from regel, a foot. The Sept. commonly expresses it by πεζοί, or occasionally τάγματα. It is a military term, designating the infantry of an army (1Sa 4:10; 1Sa 15:4; 2Sa 10:6; Jer 12:5), or those simply who journeyed on foot, whether soldiers or not (Ex 12:37; Nu 11:21). In the latter case the word perhaps indicates the male portion of the company, those who walked while the females rode, like the Arabic rajal, a man. Sometimes it is joined with אַישׁ, a man (Jg 20:2). SEE ARMY; SEE RIDER.
2. The word occurs in a more special sense (in 1Sa 22:17) as the translation of a different term, rats, part of רוּוֹ, to run. This passage affords the first mention of the existence of a body of swift runners in attendance on the king, though such a thing had been foretold by Samuel (1Sa 8:11). This body appears to have been afterwards kept up, and to have been distinct from the body-guard — the six hundred and the thirty-who were originated by David (see 1Ki 14:27-28; 2Ch 12:10-11; 2Ki 11:4,6,11,13,19). In each of these cases the word is rendered "guard:" but the translators were evidently aware of its signification, for they have put the word "runners" in the margin in two instances (1Ki 14:27; 2Ki 11:13). This, indeed, was the force of the term "footman" at the time the A.V. was made, as is plain not only from the references just quoted, but, among others, from the title of a well known tract of Bunyan's, The heavenly Footman, or a Description of the Man that gets to Heaven, on 1Co 9:24 (the apostle Paul's figure of the race). The same Heb. word is also used elsewhere to denote the royal or praetorian guard (2Sa 15:1; 1Ki 1:5; 2Ki 10:25). Whether they were the same as the Pelethites is doubtful. The word likewise occurs (Job 9:25) of any swift messenger, hence a weaver's shuttle (Job 7:6), and also of the couriers of the Persian king (Es 3:13,15; Es 8:14). Swift running was evidently a valued accomplishment of a perfect warrior — a gibbor, as the Hebrew word is among the Israelites. There are constant allusions to this in the Bible, though obscured in the A.V. from the translators not recognising the technical sense of the word gibbor. Among others, see Ps 19:5; Job 16:14; Joe 2:7, where "strong man," "giant," and "mighty man" are all gibbor. David was famed for his powers of running; they are so mentioned as to seem characteristic of him (1Sa 17:22,48,51; 1Sa 20:6), and he makes them a special subject of thanksgiving to God (2Sa 22:30; Ps 18:29). The cases of Cushi and Ahimaaz (2 Samuel 18) will occur to every one. It is not impossible that the former "the Ethiopian," as his name most likely is — had some peculiar mode of running. SEE CUSHI. Asahel also was "swift on his feet," and the Gadite heroes who came across to David in his difficulties were " swift as the roes upon the mountains ;" but in neither of these last cases is the word rats employed. The word probably derives its modern sense from the custom of domestic servants running by the side of the carriage of their master. SEE GUARD.
Footsteps (generally פִּעִם, pa'am, a tread; but spec. עָקֵכ, akeb', Ps 56:6; Ps 77:19; Ps 89:51; Song 1:8, the heel, as elsewhere rendered). On the meaning of this term in Ps 17:5,11, Mr. Roberts says; among the Hindus, " a man who has the people watching him, to find out a cause for accusation against him to the king, or to great men, says, Yes, they are around my legs and my feet; their eyes are always open; they are ever watching my suvadu, 'steps;' that is, they are looking for the impress or, footsteps in the earth." For this purpose, the eyes of the enemies of David were "bowing down to the earth."