The bow as a weapon in war and the chase was familiar to the Hebrews from patriarchal times (Gen. xxi. 20, xxvii. 3, xlviii. 22). Jonathan and Jehu were expert archers (II Sam. i. 22; II Kings ix. 24); the tribe of Benjamin was renowned for its sons' skill with the bow (I Chron. viii. 40, xii. 2); and David, after the battle of Gilboa, sought to encourage archery practise in Judah (II Sam. i. 18). The impulse thus given seems to have taken root, so that 250 years later the prophet Hosea speaks of the bow as representing Israel's military power (ch. i. 5).
From the figures extant in Assyrian monuments it appears that the usual tactics with the bow were to overwhelm the enemy with repeated showers of arrows, and then close in with sword and spear upon the harassed ranks. In Ps. cxx. 4 there is a reference to the practise of affixing burning material to the arrow-head, no doubt for setting fire to a besieged town. For further details and Hebrew terms in connection with Archery, see Army.