There are several words thus rendered in the English Bible, namely properly חֵוֹ (chets, from its sharpness), of frequent occurrence (rendered "dart" in Pr 7:23; "wound," i.e. of an arrow, Job 34:6; "staff" by an error of transcription for עֵוֹ, the haft of a spear, 1Sa 17:7), with its derivatives חֵצִי (chetsi', 1Sa 20:42,37-38; 2Ki 9:24) and חָצִוֹ (chatats', Ps 77:17; elsewhere "gravel"); poetically רֶשֶׁŠ (re'sheph, Ps 76:12, lightning, as it is elsewhere rendered), and בֶּןאּקֶשֶׁה (ben-ke'sheth, i.e. son of a bow, Job 41:28). Among the Hebrews arrows were probably at first made of reed, as common among the Egyptians; subsequently they were made from some light sort of wood, and tipped with an iron point. Whether they were ever dipped in poison is not clear from Job 6:4; De 32:24. They were often composed, in part at least, of the shrub רֹתֶם, ro'them, "juniper," which, being discharged from the bow while on fire, kindled upon the baggage or armament of the enemy (Ps 120:4; Job 30:4). Hence arrows are sometimes put tropically for lightnings (De 32:23,42; Ps 7:13; Zec 9:14). Arrows were used in war as well as in hunting (Ge 27:3; Ge 47:22). SEE ARCHER. They were kept in a case called a quiver (q.v.), which was slung over the shoulder in such a position that the soldier could draw them out when needed (Ps 91:5; Ps 120:4). SEE BOW. They were also used in divination (Eze 21:21). SEE DIVINATION. The arrows of the ancient Egyptians varied from 22 to 34 inches in length; some were of wood, others of reed; frequently tipped with a metal head, and winged with three feathers, glued longitudinally, and at equal distances, upon the other end of the shaft, as on modern arrows. Sometimes, instead of the metal head, a piece of hard wood was inserted into the reed, which terminated in a long tapering point; but these were of too light and powerless a nature to be employed in war, and could only have been intended for the chase; in others, the place of the metal was supplied by a small piece of flint or other sharp stone, secured by a firm black paste; and although used occasionally-in battle, they appear from the sculptures to have belonged more particularly to the huntsman; while the arrows of archers are generally represented with bronze heads, some barbed, others triangular, and many with three or four projecting blades, placed at right angles and meeting in a common point (Wilkinson, Anc. Egypt. i, 356). The ancient Assyrians appear also to have used arrows made of reeds, which were kept in a quiver slung over the back. The barbs were of iron and copper, several of which have been discovered among the ruins (Layard, Nineveh, ii, 263). SEE ARMOR.
The word "arrow" is frequently used as the symbol of calamity or disease inflicted by God (Job 6:4; Job 34:6; Ps 38:2; De 32:23; comp. Eze 5:16; Zec 9:14). The metaphor thus applied was also in use among the heathen (Ovid, Ep. 16:275). It derived its propriety and force from the popular belief that all diseases were immediate and special inflictions from heaven. Lightnings are, by a very fine figure, described as the arrows of God (Ps 18:14; Ps 144:6; Hab 3:11; compare Wisd. v, 21; 2Sa 22:15). "Arrow" is occasionally used to denote some sudden or inevitable danger, as in Ps 91:5: "The arrow that flieth by day." It is also figurative of any thing injurious, as a deceitful tongue Ps 129:4; Jer 9:7), a bitter word (Ps 64:3), a false testimony (Pr 25:18). As symbolical of oral wrong the figure may perhaps have been de. rived from the darting " arrowy tongue" of serpents. The arrow, however, is not always symbolical of evil In Ps 127:4-5, well-conditioned children are com. pared to "arrows in the hands of a mighty man." i.e. instruments of power and action. The arrow is also used in a good sense to denote the efficient and irresistible energy of the word of God in the hands of the Messiah (Ps 45:6; Isa 44:2; comp. Lowth's note thereon). (See Wemyss, Claris Symbolica, s.v.)