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Holman Bible Dictionary

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Additional Resources
• Nave's Topical Bible
Pale horse
• Treasury of Scripture Knowledge
• Torrey's Topical Textbook
Horse, The
• Easton's Bible Dictionary
• Fausset's Bible Dictionary
• Smith's Bible Dictionary
• International Standard Bible Encyclopedia
Gate, Corner, Fountain, Horse, Sur
Horse Gate
Horse, Black
Horse, Red
Horse, White
Red Horse
White Horse
Greek - horse, horses, horses'
Hebrew - horse
Hebrew - horse, horseback, horsehoofs, horse's, horseman, horses, horses'

Four-legged animal used for transportation and in war. The horse was probably first domesticated by nomads of Central Asia as long ago as 4,000 years. Babylonians began using horses in battle. Military victories such as those of Genghis Khan or Alexander the Great would have been impossible without horses. When the Exodus occurred, Pharaoh's army was outfitted with horses and chariots (Exodus 14-15). Herodutus reported the use of horses by the Persians in their postal system 3,000 years ago.

David captured chariots from the Syrians and destroyed most of them, but reserved one hundred (2 Samuel 8:3-4). In so doing, he disobeyed God and introduced their use to Israel. David's son, Solomon, multiplied their numbers to strengthen the defense of his country, building chariot cities (1 Kings 9:19). In Megiddo what appears to be stalls and feeding troughs from King Ahab's time have been discovered. These were sufficient for about 450 horses.

The horse was used for war by Syrians (1 Kings 20:20), the Philistines (2 Samuel 1:6), the Medes and Persians (Jeremiah 50:42), and the Romans (Acts 23:23,Acts 23:32). By contrast, and as a sign of the peacefulness of the Messiah's kingdom, Jesus rode into Jerusalem upon an ass, not a horse (John 12:12-15).

Considerable opposition to the horse arose in Israel, seeing horses as symbols of pagan luxury and dependence on physical power for defense. Prophets condemned trusting in horses rather than the Lord for victory (Isaiah 31:1; Ezekiel 17:15). Yet, horses became so common in Jerusalem that a royal palace near the city had a special horse gate (2 Chronicles 23:15) and a gate of the city was also called the Horse Gate (Jeremiah 31:40; Nehemiah 3:28).

Horses are often used as symbols of swiftness (Jeremiah 4:13), strength (Job 39:19), and sure-footedness (Isaiah 63:13). The most detailed description of a horse is found in Job 39:19-25. In prophecy horses also play an important role as in Joel 2:4-5 and Revelation 6:1-8 where four horses of different colors are associated with different tragedies. See Animals; Megiddo.

C. Dale Hill

Copyright Statement
These dictionary topics are from the Holman Bible Dictionary, published by Broadman & Holman, 1991. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Broadman & Holman.

Bibliography Information
Butler, Trent C. Editor.. "Entry for 'HORSE'". "Holman Bible Dictionary".
<>. 1991.


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