(קִשָּׁת, kashshath', a bowman, Ge 21:20; בִּעִלאּחִצּים, baal- chitstsim', arrow-man, Ge 49:23; אנֵוֹשׁ בִּקֶּשֶׁת, enosh' bakke'sheth, bowman, 1Sa 31:3; מוֹרֶה בִּקֶּשֶׁת moreh' bakke'sheth, shooter with the bow, 1Ch 10:3; דּוֹרֵך קֶּשֶׁת, one bending the bow, Jer 51:3; comp. Isa 21:17; Isa 23:3; but simply קֶּשֶׁת, ke'sheth, a bow, in Isa 22:3; comp. Ps 78:57;
while in Job 16:13, the word is רִב, rab, great, prob. a host). From the frequent appearance of combatants armed with bows and arrows on the Egyptian monuments (see Wilkinson's Anc. Egypt. 1, 337, 354, 405) and Babylonish sculptures (see Layard's Nineveh, 2, 261), we may conclude that this art is of very high antiquity (see Jahn's Archaol. § 278). In Ge 21:20, Ishmael is spoken of as an archer, and again in Ge 27:3, but with reference to hunting rather than to war; and this appears to have been long the case with the Israelites, though the neighboring nations employed it for military purposes. SEE ARMOR.
Saul, we read (1Sa 31:3), was wounded by the Philistine archers, and it has been conjectured that it was the unskillfulness of the Israelites with this weapon which led David, while lamenting the death of the king and his sons, to give directions for "teaching the children of Judah the use of the bow" (2Sa 1:18). SEE BOW. If such were the case, his efforts were successful, for, after this period, from its frequent mention in the Holy Scriptures, archery would appear to have been considered as of great importance, so much so that "breaking the bow" is a phrase often employed by the sacred writers for taking away one's power (Ho 1:5; Jer 49:35), while "strengthening the bow" was a symbol of the increase of influence (Ge 49:24). The Persians were famous among the ancients for their archers (Isa 13:18; Jer 49:35; Jer 1; Jer 1-42). SEE BOWMAN.