Two-wheeled land vehicles, made of wood and strips of leather, and usually drawn by horses. They were used widely in Mesopotamia before 3000 B.C. and were introduced into Canaan and Egypt by the Hyksos about 1800-1600 B.C. Their primary function was as mobile firing platforms in battles. They were also used for hunting, for transportation of dignitaries, and in state and religious ceremonies.
Old Testament Egyptian chariots were the first to be mentioned in the Bible (Genesis 41:43;
Genesis 50:9). The iron chariots of the Philistines were fortified with plates of metal which made them militarily stronger than those of the Israelites (Judges 1:19;
1 Samuel 13:5-7).
Chariots became an important part of Solomon's army and his commercial affairs (1 Kings 4:26;
1 Kings 9:15-19;
1 Kings 10:28-29). The military strength of Israel under Ahab was noteworthy because of the number of chariots available for use. According to Assyrian records, Ahab brought 2,000 chariots into the Battle of Qarqar in 853 B.C. Chariots were also seen in prophetic visions (Zechariah 6:1-8) and applied figuratively to Elijah's and Elisha's power (2 Kings 2:12;
2 Kings 13:14).
New Testament Chariots were used in prophetic imagery (Revelation 9:9;
Revelation 18:13) and for transportation of the Ethiopian eunuch (Acts 8:26-38). See Arms and Armor.
Lai Ling Elizabeth Ngan