Spearman is the rendering in the A.V. of one Heb. and one Greek word.
1. קָנֶה, kaneh, a reed (as often rendered) in the phrase חִיִּת קָנֶה, chayath kaneh, reed-beast (A.V. improperly "company of the spearmen"), i.e. the crocodile (q.v.), as a symbol of Egypt.
2. Δεξιολάβος, dexiolabos. This is the Greek word which, in the plural, is rendered "spearmen" in the A.V. of Ac 23:23. As it does not occur in the classical writers, and only this once in the Scriptures, it is uncertain what kind of soldiers is denoted by it. It strictly signifies one who covers or guards the right side of any one. Hence it has been conjectured that, in the above passage, it denotes officers who performed the same functions in the camp as lictors did in the city — being appointed to apprehend malefactors, and to guard criminals when led to execution, and called δεξιολάβοι from taking the right hand of the prisoner, who was bound to the left hand of the guard. This explanation is, however, deduced entirely from the etymology of the word, and is open to the objection arising from the improbability that such a number of military lictors would be on duty with the forces of the tribune, as that two hundred of them at a time could be ready to depart with one prisoner. It seems preferable, therefore, to understand the word as denoting the guard of the tribune. Nor is this contrary to the etymology, since guarding the right side may be taken figuratively to mean guarding the whole person. Nor is it strange that these choice troops should be employed on this duty, since the service was important and delicate. The guarding of prisoners to be tried before Caesar was often, at Rome, committed to the praetorians. Our translators followed the lancearii of the Vulg., and it seems probable that their rendering approximates most nearly to the true meaning. The reading of the Cod. Alex. is δεξιοβόλους, which is literally followed by the Peshito-Syriac where the word is translated "darters with the right hand." Lachmarin adopts this reading, which appears also to have been that of the Arabic in Walton's Polyglot. Two hundred of these soldiers formed part of the escort which accompanied Paul in the night march from Jerusalem to Caesarea. They are clearly distinguished both from the στρατιῶται, or heavy armed legionaries, who only went as far as Antipatris, and from the ἱμμεῖς, or cavalry, who continued the journey to Caesarea. As nothing is said of the return of these troops to Jerusalem after their arrival at Antipatris, we may infer that they accompanied the cavalry to Caesarea, and this strengthens the supposition that they were irregular light armed troops; so lightly armed, indeed, as to be able to keep pace on the march with mounted soldiers. Meyer (Kommentar, 2d ed. 2, 3, 404) conjectures that they were a particular kind of light armed troops (called by the Romans Velites or Rorarii), probably either javelin men or slingers. In a passage quoted by the emperor Constantine Porphyrogenitus (Them. 1, 1) from John of Philadelphia they are distinguished both from the archers and from the peltasts, or targeteers, and with these are described as forming a body of light armed troops, which, in the 10th century, were under the command of an officer called a turmarch. Grotius, however, was of opinion that at. this late period the term had merely been adopted from the narrative in the Acts, and that the usage in the 10th century is no safe guide to its true meaning. Others regard them as bodyguards of the governor. In Suidas and the Etymologicum Magnum, παραφύλαξ is given as the equivalent of δεξιολάβος. The word occurs again in one of the Byzantine historians, Theophylactus Simocatta (4, 1), and is used by him of soldiers who were employed on skirmishing duty. Inasmuch, however, as they were evidently a kind of light armed Roman troops, and hence, of course, bore the spear (hasta, ἔγχος), it is proper here to give, by way of supplement to the preceding article, some account of this weapon among classical nations of the time.
The spear is defined by Homer, δόρυ χάλκηρες, "a pole fitted with bronze." The bronze, for which iron was afterwards substituted, was indispensable to form the point (ἀιχμή, ἀκωκή, Homer; λόγχη, Xenophon; acies, cuspis, spiculum) of the spear. Each of these two essential parts is often put for the whole, so that a spear is called δόρυ and δοράτιον, αἰχμή, and λόγχη. Ever the more especial term μελία, meaning an ash tree, is used in the same manner, because the pole of the spear was often the stem of a young ash, stripped of its bark and polished. The bottom of the spear was often enclosed in a pointed cap of bronze, called by the Ionic writers σαυρωτήρ, and οὐρίαχος, and in Attic or common Greek στὐραξ. By forcing this into the ground the spear was fixed erect. Under the general term hasta and ἔγχος were included various kinds of missiles of which the principal were as follows: Lancea (λόγχη) the lance, a comparatively slender spear commonly used by the Greeks. Pilum (ὑσσός), the javelin, much thick er and stronger than the Grecian lance. Its shaft was partly square, and five and a half feet long. The head nine inches long, was of iron. It was used either to throw or to thrust with; it was peculiar to the Romans, and gave the name of pilani to the division of the army by which it was adopted. Veru or verutum, a spit, used by the light infantry of the Roman army. It was adopted by then from the Samnites and the Volsci. Its shaft was three and a half feet long, its point five inches. Besides the terms jaculum and spiculum (ἄκων, ἀκόντιον), which probably denoted darts, we find the names of various other spears which were characteristic of particular nations. Thus, the goesum was the spear peculiar to the Gauls, and the sarissa the spear peculiar to the Macedonians. This was used both to throw and as a pike. It exceeded in length all other missiles. The Thracian romphea, which had a very long point, like the blade of a sword, was probably not unlike the sarissa. The iron head of the German spear, called framea, was short and narrow, but very sharp. The Germans used it with great effect, either as a lance or a pike. They gave to each youth a framea and a shield on coming of age. The falarica or phalarica was the spear of the Saguntines, and was impelled by the aid of twisted ropes. It was large and ponderous, having a head of iron a cubit in length, and a ball of lead at its other end. It sometimes carried flaming pitch and tow. The matara and tragula were chiefly used in Gaul and Spain. The tragula was probably barbed, as it required to be cut out of the wound. The aclis and cateia were much smaller missiles. A spear was erected at auctions, and when tenders were received for public offices (locationes). It served both to announce, by a conventional sign conspicuous at a distance, that a sale was going on, and to show that it was conducted under the authority of the public functionaries. Hence an auction was called hasta, and an auction room hastarium. It was also the practice to set up a spear in the court of the Centumviri (see Smith's Dict. of Class. Antiq. s.v. "Hasta").