Buckler stands in the authorized version as the representative of the following Heb. words:
1. מגֵן, magen' (protecting), a smaller and more portable shield (2Sa 22:31; 1Ch 5:18; Job 15:26; Ps 18:2,30; Pr 2:7; Song 4:4; Jer 46:3; elsewhere "shield").
2. סֹחֵרָה, socherah' (from its surrounding the person), occurs but once figuratively Ps 91:4).
3. צִנָּה, tsinnah' (a covering), a large shield protecting the whole body (" buckler," Ps 35:2; Eze 23:24; Eze 26:8; Eze 38:4; Eze 39:9; elsewhere "shield" or "target;" the ἀσπίς of Ecclesiasticus 27:5).
4. רֹמִח, ro'mach (from its piercing), a lance or spear (as it is often rendered, improperly "buckler" in 1Ch 12:8). SEE ARMOR.
The buckler or shield was a principal piece of protective armor with ancient warriors, being worn in connection both with the spear and the bow (2Ch 14:8; 2Ch 17:17; Jer 6:23). Of the above names for this implement, the socherah, according to Jahn, designates the targe or round form (see Gesenius, Thes. p. 947). Two others of these terms (combined in Eze 39:9; Jer 46:3) appear to denote respectively the small (nagen) and the large (tsinnah) kind, the latter screening the entire person (Virg. Es 2:23; Tyrtiei Carm. 2, 23 sq.), as is evident from 1Ki 10:16-17; 2Ch 9:16. The Mishna (Chelim, 24, 1) names three species of shield, the large (הכפוŠ תריס), the middle, used in discipline, and the small (דיצת הערביים). The larger kind probably protected even the head (Josephus, Ant. 6, 5, 1; comp. Diod. Sic. v. 30). In like manner, among the Greeks and Romans a small shield was called θυρεός (σάκος in Homer), scutum, and a large one ἀσπίς, clypeus (comp. Josephus, War, 3, 5, 5). It is uncertain, however, whether the Heb. shields were of the same form; we only know that the later Jews in the time of the Romans carried oval shields (see Jahn, Archaeol. II, 2, pl. 11, 6, 8; those of the Egyptians being rounded only at the top, Wilkinson, 1, 298 sq.). The word שֶׁלֶט, she'let, which the old translators give very variously, designates probably the shield, and indeed those used on state occasions (Jer 51:11; Eze 27:11; Song 4:4), rather than quiver. The (larger) shields were generally of wood (comp. Pliny, 16:77; Virg. En. 7, 632), and covered with thick leather (especially hippopotamus hide, Pliny, 8:39; but the skins of other pachydermatous animals are still employed in Africa; see Ruppell, Arab. p. 34; Pallme, Beschreib. von Kordofan, p. 42) or metal. Leather shields (Iliad, v. 452; 12:425) consisted either of simple undressed ox (or elephant) hide (Herod. 7:91; Strabo, 17, p. 820, 828), or of several thicknesses of leather, sometimes also embossed with metal (Iliad, 7, 219 sq.; 12:294 sq.); hence those captured from foes might be burnt (Eze 39:9). The leather of shields required oiling (2Sa 1:21; Isa 21:5; comp. "laeves clypei," Virg. AEn. 7, 626), so that they should not injure by moisture; hence they gleamed in the distance; sometimes they were even smeared with blood (Na 2:4 [?]), so as to present a frightful appearance. Copper ("brazen") shields were, as it appears (1Sa 17:6; 1Ki 14:27); also in use (comp. χαλκασπίδες for heavy-armed troops, in Polyb. 4:69, 4; v. 91, 7); as even gold ones in the equipment of the general (1 Maccabees 6:39), i.e. probably studded with gold; although those named in 1Ki 10:16 sq.; 14:26, as shields of parade (comp. the silver shields of Pliny, 8:82), borne before the king in festive processions (1Ki 14:28), may well have been of massive metal (comp. the golden shields of the Carthaginians, Pliny, 35:3; on the overlaying of shields [with gold, ivory, etc.], see Athen. 12:534; among the Romans every shield was inscribed with the soldier's name, Veget. Milit. 2, 18). The same custom appears also in the gold shields sent as gifts of honor to Rome (1 Maccabees 14:24; 15:18; comp. 1 Maccabees 6:2; Josephus, Ant. 14, 8, 5; Sueton. Calig. 16). During a march the soldiers carried their shields (covered with a leather case, σάγμα or ἔλυτρον, involuera, as a protection from dust, Isa 20:6; comp. the Schol. ad Aristoph. Acharn. 574; Plutarch, Lucull. 26; Caesar, Bell. Gall. 2, 21; Cicero, Nat. Deer. 2, 14) hanging on their shoulder (Iliad, 16, 803); but in the camp by a strap on the left arm (Iliad, 16, 802; Virg. AEn. 2:671 sq.; Pliny, 33:4; AElian, Var. Hist.; 11, 9; hence the phrase ἐπ᾿ ἀσπίδα, Xenoph. Cyrop. 7, 5, 6; Arrian, Alex. 1, 6,12, means on the shield side, or left, comp. Anab. 4, 3, 26). See generally Ortlob, De seutis et clypeis Hebr. (Lips. 1718); Caryophilus, De clypeis vett. (Lugd. Bat. 1751); Spanheim, ad Julian, p. 241; Jahn, Archaol. II, 2:401 sq.; on the Homeric shield, Kopke, Kriegswes. der Griech. p. 108 sq. The decoration of the Jewish palaces (1Ki 10:16; 1Ki 14:26; Song 4:4;
comp. Philo, Opp. 2, 591) and Temple (1 Maccabees 4:57; 6:2; comp. Strabo, 13:600; Arrian, Alex. 6, 9, 6; Pliny, 35:3) with golden shields was a peculiar practice. In the Temple at Jerusalem the shields of David were suspended as mementos (2Ki 10:10); see Rexrath, De clypeis in loco sacro suspensis (Lips. 1737). The suspension of the shields of Tyre in Eze 27:10-11, is a military allusion, by way of ostentation, to the ensigns of foreign nations displayed as allies (see Henderson, Comment. in loc.). SEE SHIELD.