David’s Kingdom & Horses and Chariots in Ancient Warfare

Saul was a bad king.  Now that David is the full king of all of Israel, is he going to be good or bad?

Kassites
Ancient people of the Middle East, that is principally known for having established the dynasty that ruled Babylonia for about 450 years, starting around 1600 B.C.

Much is uncertain concerning the Kassites, we know little about their culture as well as where they came from.

One of the most likely suggestions is that their origin was in the Zagros Mountains in today’s Iran.

At the beginning of their Mesopotamian presence, the Kassites established Dar Kurigalzu as their capital, about 150 km north of Babylon.

It is assumed that the Kassite society was a feudal one.

The horse was a sacred animal among the Kassites, and they probably introduced this animal into Mesopotamia.

There is little in art and architecture that was specific Kassite.

Most of what the Kassites built was Babylonian in style — their only invention was to use molded bricks to create relief decorations in temple walls.

Among the modern peoples that seem to descend from the Kassites are the Lors of Iran.

18th century B.C.
The Kassites try to penetrate into Babylonia, but are driven out by the king.

Still they manage to establish themselves in Mesopotamia north of Babylonia’s borders.

Middle 18th century B.C.
Gandash becomes the first king among the Kassites, a dynasty that eventually would take over Babylonia.

Around 1600
The Kassites take control over Babylonia, and their king becomes king over Babylonia as well. From this followed a 400 year period of Kassite domination in Babylonia.

1158:
The Elamites conquer Babylonia, and loot the cities. This becomes the end of the Kassite dynasty.

“And it came to pass, when the king sat in his house, and the LORD had given him rest roundabout from all his enemies;

That the king said unto Nathan the prophet, See now, I dwell in an house of cedar, but the ark of God dwelleth within curtains.  

And Nathan said to the king, Go, do all that is in thine heart; for the LORD is with thee. 

And it came to pass that night, that the word of the LORD came unto Nathan, saying,

Go and tell my servant David, Thus saith the LORD, Shalt thou build me an house for me to dwell in? 

Whereas I have not dwelt in any house since the time that I brought up the children of Israel out of Egypt, even to this day, but have walked in a tent and in a tabernacle.

In all the places wherein I have walked with all the children of Israel spake I a word with any of the tribes of Israel, whom I commanded to feed my people Israel, saying, Why build ye not me an house of cedar?

Now therefore so shalt thou say unto my servant David, Thus saith the LORD of hosts, I took thee from the sheepcote, from following the sheep, to be ruler over my people, over Israel:

And I was with thee whithersoever thou wentest, and have cut off all thine enemies out of thy sight, and have made thee a great name, like unto the name of the great men that are in the earth. 

Moreover I will appoint a place for my people Israel, and will plant them, that they may dwell in a place of their own, and move no more; neither shall the children of wickedness afflict them anymore, as beforetime.

Gold Gilded Wooden Chariot
Introduced into Egypt by the Hyksos in the sixteenth century B.C., the chariot was throughout the New Kingdom closely associated with the king, who is constantly shown dominating the field of battle, the reins around his waist, firing his bow.

Chariots begin to appear in Egyptian wall reliefs and paintings from the early 18th dynasty, and are mentioned as diplomatic gifts in the correspondence from el-Amarna.

Until the discovery of Tutankhamun’s tomb only two complete vehicles were known – one now in Florence and another from the tomb of Yuya and Tjuyu – together with a miscellaneous array of chariot fittings and fragments from other tombs in the Valley of the Kings and elsewhere.

The burial of Tutankhamun yielded six complete but dismantled chariots of unparalleled richness and sophistication, four found at the southeast end of the Antechamber and two along the north wall of the Treasury.

Each had had its axle sawn through to enable it to be brought along the narrow corridor into the tomb, and each had been broken down into its component parts for compactness when stored.

Thrown about when the tomb was robbed, and roughly handled when the burial was tidied up, the confused and precarious heaps into which these parts had been thrown were a nightmare to untangle.

But, after much delicate preservative work, five of the six chariots could be reassembled for display in the Cairo Museum.

And as since the time that I commanded Judges to be over my people Israel, and have caused thee to rest from all thine enemies. Also the LORD telleth thee that he will make thee an house. 

And when thy days be fulfilled, and thou shalt sleep with thy fathers, I will set up thy seed after thee, which shall proceed out of thy bowels, and I will establish his kingdom.

He shall build an house for my name, and I will stablish the throne of his kingdom forever. 

I will be his father, and he shall be my son. If he commit iniquity, I will chasten him with the rod of men, and with the stripes of the children of men:

But my mercy shall not depart away from him, as I took it from Saul, whom I put away before thee. 

And thine house and thy kingdom shall be established for ever before thee: thy throne shall be established forever” (2 Sam 7:1-17).

After Nathan re-laid the message David talked to God,

“…Who am I, O Lord GOD?  And what is my house, that thou hast brought me hitherto? 

And this was yet a small thing in thy sight, O Lord GOD; but thou hast spoken also of thy servant’s house for a great while to come. And is this the manner of man, O Lord GOD? 

And what can David say more unto thee?  For thou, Lord GOD, knowest thy servant.

For thy word’s sake, and according to thine own heart, hast thou done all these great things, to make thy servant know them. 

Wherefore thou art great, O LORD God: for there is none like thee, neither is there any God beside thee, according to all that we have heard with our ears. 

And what one nation in the earth is like thy people, even like Israel, whom God went to redeem for a people to himself, and to make him a name, and to do for you great things and terrible, for thy land, before thy people, which thou redeemedst to thee from Egypt, from the nations and their gods?

For thou hast confirmed to thyself thy people Israel to be a people unto thee forever: and thou, LORD, art become their God.

And now, O LORD God, the word that thou hast spoken concerning thy servant, and concerning his house, establish it forever, and do as thou hast said.

And let thy name be magnified forever, saying, The LORD of hosts is the God over Israel: and let the house of thy servant David be established before thee. 

For thou, O LORD of hosts, God of Israel, hast revealed to thy servant, saying, I will build thee an house: therefore hath thy servant found in his heart to pray this prayer unto thee.

Horses were well suited to the warfare tactics of the nomadic cultures from the steppes of Central Asia.

Several East Asian cultures made extensive use of cavalry and chariots.

Muslim warriors relied upon light cavalry in their campaigns throughout North Africa, Asia, and Europe beginning in the 7th and 8th centuries A.D.

Europeans used several types of war horses in the Middle Ages, and the best-known heavy cavalry warrior of the period was the armored knight.

With the decline of the knight and rise of gunpowder in warfare, light cavalry again rose to prominence, used in both European warfare and in the conquest of the Americas.

Battle cavalry developed to take on a multitude of roles in the late 18th century and early 19th century and was often crucial for victory in the Napoleonic wars.

In the Americas, the use of horses and development of mounted warfare tactics were learned by several tribes of indigenous people and in turn, highly mobile horse regiments were critical in the American Civil War.

Horse cavalry began to be phased out after World War I in favor of tank warfare, though a few horse cavalry units were still used into World War II, especially as scouts.

By the end of World War II, horses were seldom seen in battle, but were still used extensively for the transport of troops and supplies.

Today, formal battle ready horse cavalry units have almost disappeared, although horses are still seen in use by organised armed fighters in Third World countries.

Many nations still maintain small units of mounted riders for patrol and reconnaissance, and military horse units are also used for ceremonial and educational purposes. Horses are also used for historical reenactment of battles, law enforcement, and in equestrian competitions derived from the riding and training skills once used by the military.

And now, O Lord GOD, thou art that God, and thy words be true, and thou hast promised this goodness unto thy servant:

Therefore now let it please thee to bless the house of thy servant, that it may continue forever before thee: for thou, O Lord GOD, hast spoken it: and with thy blessing let the house of thy servant be blessed forever” (2 Sam 7:1-29).

Horses and Chariots in Ancient Warefare

Ancient Chariot Fleet, Horses Unearthed in China
To protect it from drying out, a worker sprays water onto a millennia-old chariot recently unearthed in the city of Luoyang in central China.

Overall, 5 chariots and 12 horse skeletons were found in the tomb pit, according to China’s state-sponsored Xinhua news service.

Archaeologists believe the tomb was dug as part of the funeral rites of a minister or other nobleman during the Eastern Zhou dynasty period, about 2,500 years ago.

Chariots were important vehicles of war during the Zhou dynasty and were driven by nobleman-warriors wielding halberds or spears, said David Sena, a China historian at the University of Texas at Austin who was not involved in the discovery.

“During this period, there wasn’t a distinction between the military class and an educated aristocratic class,”

Sena said.

“People with aristocratic backgrounds were expected to do both, and riding a chariot was one of the skills that a nobleman was expected to have.”

The use of horses and chari­ots revolutionized warfare in the ancient Near East.

Scholars generally agree that the horse was introduced into the area during the late third mil­lennium 6 B.C. and had become prominent in Canaan by the early second millennium.

The development of the chariot soon followed, but scholars disagree about the History of its invention.

Horses and chariots are mentioned in the Mari tablets (18th century B.C.), and the Kassites and the people of Mitanni (17th century B.C.) were renowned for both horse breeding and chariot technol­ogy.

In fact, the Kassites devel­oped specialized and precise vocabulary for chariot com­ponents, and the Mitannian maryannu comprised a group of chariot experts.

In all likelihood foreigners introduced horses and chari­ots to the Egyptians during the Hyksos period (18th to 16th centuries B.C.) horse-drawn chariots were often used in warfare and religious processions — and sometimes even served as portable thrones.

Reliefs and paintings from Egypt portray both Seti I and Ramesses III standing in chariots, drawing their bows against enemies.

Chariots have also been found among relics in Eighteenth Dynasty tombs, such as those preserved with relation to King Tutank­hamen.

The early chariot’s design permitted two people stand­ing abreast – a driver and an archer — to occupy the small platform.

The axle was made of wood, and rawhide held the frame together. Wheels were fastened to the axle with linchpins of wood or bronze.

The draft pole extended to the rear of the chariot was se­cured with rawhide bindings and was attached to the horses’ yoke with straps.

Since horses were primarily used in ancient times to pull chariots, the term rider men­tioned in Ex 15:1 probably refers to the chariot driver.

The song’s boast that the God of Israel had hurled the horse and charioteer into the sea dramatically portrays the man­ner in which the power of God had bested the most technologically advanced tool of warfare available during that time.