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Siege (63 Occurrences)

Deuteronomy 20:12 If it will make no peace with you, but will make war against you, then you shall besiege it: (Root in WEB KJV JPS ASV DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)

Deuteronomy 20:19 When you shall besiege a city a long time, in making war against it to take it, you shall not destroy its trees by wielding an axe against them; for you may eat of them, and you shall not cut them down; for is the tree of the field man, that it should be besieged of you? (Root in WEB KJV JPS ASV DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)

Deuteronomy 20:20 Only the trees of which you know that they are not trees for food, you shall destroy and cut them down; and you shall build bulwarks against the city that makes war with you, until it fall. (See NAS RSV NIV)

Deuteronomy 28:52 They shall besiege you in all your gates, until your high and fortified walls come down, in which you trusted, throughout all your land; and they shall besiege you in all your gates throughout all your land, which Yahweh your God has given you. (Root in WEB KJV JPS ASV DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)

Deuteronomy 28:53 You shall eat the fruit of your own body, the flesh of your sons and of your daughters, whom Yahweh your God has given you, in the siege and in the distress with which your enemies shall distress you. (WEB KJV JPS ASV DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)

Deuteronomy 28:55 so that he will not give to any of them of the flesh of his children whom he shall eat, because he has nothing left him, in the siege and in the distress with which your enemy shall distress you in all your gates. (WEB KJV JPS ASV DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)

Deuteronomy 28:57 and toward her young one who comes out from between her feet, and toward her children whom she shall bear; for she shall eat them for want of all things secretly, in the siege and in the distress with which your enemy shall distress you in your gates. (WEB KJV JPS ASV DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)

Joshua 10:31 Joshua passed from Libnah, and all Israel with him, to Lachish, and encamped against it, and fought against it. (See RSV)

Joshua 10:34 Joshua passed from Lachish, and all Israel with him, to Eglon; and they encamped against it fought against it. (See RSV)

1 Samuel 23:8 Saul summoned all the people to war, to go down to Keilah, to besiege David and his men. (Root in WEB KJV JPS ASV DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)

2 Samuel 11:1 It happened, at the return of the year, at the time when kings go out to battle, that David sent Joab, and his servants with him, and all Israel; and they destroyed the children of Ammon, and besieged Rabbah. But David stayed at Jerusalem. (Root in WEB KJV JPS ASV DBY YLT NAS RSV NIV)

2 Samuel 11:16 It happened, when Joab kept watch on the city, that he assigned Uriah to the place where he knew that valiant men were. (See NIV)

2 Samuel 20:15 They came and besieged him in Abel of Beth Maacah, and they cast up a mound against the city, and it stood against the rampart; and all the people who were with Joab battered the wall, to throw it down. (Root in WEB KJV JPS ASV DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)

1 Kings 15:27 Baasha the son of Ahijah, of the house of Issachar, conspired against him; and Baasha struck him at Gibbethon, which belonged to the Philistines; for Nadab and all Israel were laying siege to Gibbethon. (WEB KJV JPS ASV WBS YLT NAS RSV)

1 Kings 16:17 Omri went up from Gibbethon, and all Israel with him, and they besieged Tirzah. (Root in WEB KJV JPS ASV DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)

1 Kings 20:1 Ben Hadad the king of Syria gathered all his army together; and there were thirty-two kings with him, and horses and chariots: and he went up and besieged Samaria, and fought against it. (Root in WEB KJV JPS ASV DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)

2 Kings 6:24 It happened after this, that Benhadad king of Syria gathered all his army, and went up and besieged Samaria. (Root in WEB KJV JPS ASV DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)

2 Kings 6:25 There was a great famine in Samaria. Behold, they besieged it, until a donkey's head was sold for eighty pieces of silver, and the fourth part of a kab of dove's dung for five pieces of silver. (Root in WEB KJV JPS ASV DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)

2 Kings 16:5 Then Rezin king of Syria and Pekah son of Remaliah king of Israel came up to Jerusalem to war: and they besieged Ahaz, but could not overcome him. (Root in WEB KJV JPS ASV DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)

2 Kings 17:5 Then the king of Assyria came up throughout all the land, and went up to Samaria, and besieged it three years. (Root in WEB KJV JPS ASV DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)

2 Kings 18:9 It happened in the fourth year of king Hezekiah, which was the seventh year of Hoshea son of Elah king of Israel, that Shalmaneser king of Assyria came up against Samaria, and besieged it. (Root in WEB KJV JPS ASV DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)

2 Kings 19:32 "Therefore thus says Yahweh concerning the king of Assyria,'He shall not come to this city, nor shoot an arrow there, neither shall he come before it with shield, nor cast up a mound against it. (See NAS RSV NIV)

2 Kings 24:10 At that time the servants of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came up to Jerusalem, and the city was besieged. (Root in WEB KJV JPS ASV DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)

2 Kings 24:11 And Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came against the city, and his servants did besiege it. (Root in KJV WBS YLT)

2 Kings 25:1 It happened in the ninth year of his reign, in the tenth month, in the tenth day of the month, that Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came, he and all his army, against Jerusalem, and encamped against it; and they built forts against it around it. (See NAS RSV NIV)

2 Kings 25:2 So the city was besieged to the eleventh year of king Zedekiah. (Root in WEB KJV JPS ASV DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)

2 Chronicles 32:1 After these things, and this faithfulness, Sennacherib king of Assyria came, and entered into Judah, and encamped against the fortified cities, and thought to win them for himself. (See NAS NIV)

2 Chronicles 32:9 After this did Sennacherib king of Assyria send his servants to Jerusalem, (but he himself laid siege against Lachish, and all his power with him,) unto Hezekiah king of Judah, and unto all Judah that were at Jerusalem, saying, (KJV WBS NIV)

2 Chronicles 32:10 Thus says Sennacherib king of Assyria, In whom do you trust, that you abide the siege in Jerusalem? (WEB KJV JPS ASV DBY WBS NAS RSV NIV)

Job 19:12 His troops come on together, build a siege ramp against me, and encamp around my tent. (WEB RSV NIV)

Job 30:12 On my right hand rise the rabble. They thrust aside my feet, They cast up against me their ways of destruction. (See NIV)

Isaiah 1:8 The daughter of Zion is left like a shelter in a vineyard, like a hut in a field of melons, like a besieged city. (Root in WEB KJV JPS ASV DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)

Isaiah 21:2 A grievous vision is declared unto me; the treacherous dealer dealeth treacherously, and the spoiler spoileth. Go up, O Elam: besiege, O Media; all the sighing thereof have I made to cease. (Root in KJV JPS ASV DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)

Isaiah 23:13 ... (See NAS RSV NIV)

Isaiah 29:3 I will encamp against you all around you, and will lay siege against you with posted troops. I will raise siege works against you. (WEB KJV JPS ASV DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)

Isaiah 37:33 For this cause the Lord says about the king of Assyria, He will not come into this town, or send an arrow against it; he will not come before it with arms, or put up an earthwork against it. (See NAS RSV NIV)

Jeremiah 6:6 For this is what the Lord of armies has said: Let trees be cut down and an earthwork be placed against Jerusalem: sorrow on the false town! inside her there is nothing but cruel ways. (See NAS RSV NIV)

Jeremiah 10:17 Gather up your wares out of the land, you who abide in the siege. (WEB JPS ASV NAS RSV NIV)

Jeremiah 19:9 I will cause them to eat the flesh of their sons and the flesh of their daughters; and they shall eat everyone the flesh of his friend, in the siege and in the distress, with which their enemies, and those who seek their life, shall distress them. (WEB KJV JPS ASV DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)

Jeremiah 21:4 Thus says Yahweh, the God of Israel, Behold, I will turn back the weapons of war that are in your hands, with which you fight against the king of Babylon, and against the Chaldeans who besiege you, without the walls; and I will gather them into the midst of this city. (Root in WEB KJV JPS ASV DBY WBS YLT)

Jeremiah 21:9 He who remains in this city shall die by the sword, and by the famine, and by the pestilence; but he who goes out, and passes over to the Chaldeans who besiege you, he shall live, and his life shall be to him for a prey. (Root in WEB KJV JPS ASV DBY WBS YLT)

Jeremiah 32:2 For then the king of Babylon's army besieged Jerusalem: and Jeremiah the prophet was shut up in the court of the prison, which was in the king of Judah's house. (Root in KJV WBS YLT)

Jeremiah 32:24 Behold, the mounds, they are come to the city to take it; and the city is given into the hand of the Chaldeans who fight against it, because of the sword, and of the famine, and of the pestilence; and what you have spoken has happened; and behold, you see it. (See NAS RSV NIV)

Jeremiah 33:4 For thus says Yahweh, the God of Israel, concerning the houses of this city, and concerning the houses of the kings of Judah, which are broken down to make a defense against the mounds and against the sword; (See NAS RSV NIV)

Jeremiah 37:5 Then Pharaoh's army was come forth out of Egypt: and when the Chaldeans that besieged Jerusalem heard tidings of them, they departed from Jerusalem. (Root in KJV JPS DBY WBS YLT NAS)

Jeremiah 37:11 It happened that, when the army of the Chaldeans was broken up from Jerusalem for fear of Pharaoh's army, (See NAS)

Jeremiah 39:1 It happened when Jerusalem was taken, (in the ninth year of Zedekiah king of Judah, in the tenth month, came Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon and all his army against Jerusalem, and besieged it; (Root in WEB KJV JPS ASV DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)

Jeremiah 52:4 It happened in the ninth year of his reign, in the tenth month, in the tenth day of the month, that Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came, he and all his army, against Jerusalem, and encamped against it; and they built forts against it round about. (See NAS RSV NIV)

Jeremiah 52:5 So the city was besieged to the eleventh year of king Zedekiah. (Root in WEB KJV JPS ASV DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)

Ezekiel 4:2 and lay siege against it, and build forts against it, and cast up a mound against it; set camps also against it, and plant battering rams against it all around. (WEB KJV JPS ASV DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)

Ezekiel 4:3 Take for yourself an iron pan, and set it for a wall of iron between you and the city: and set your face toward it, and it shall be besieged, and you shall lay siege against it. This shall be a sign to the house of Israel. (Root in WEB KJV JPS ASV DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)

Ezekiel 4:7 You shall set your face toward the siege of Jerusalem, with your arm uncovered; and you shall prophesy against it. (WEB KJV JPS ASV DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)

Ezekiel 4:8 Behold, I lay bands on you, and you shall not turn you from one side to the other, until you have accomplished the days of your siege. (WEB KJV JPS ASV DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)

Ezekiel 5:2 A third part you shall burn in the fire in the midst of the city, when the days of the siege are fulfilled; and you shall take a third part, and strike with the sword around it; and a third part you shall scatter to the wind, and I will draw out a sword after them. (WEB KJV JPS ASV DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)

Ezekiel 17:17 Neither shall Pharaoh with his mighty army and great company help him in the war, when they cast up mounds and build forts, to cut off many persons. (See NAS RSV NIV)

Ezekiel 21:22 In his right hand is the lot of Jerusalem to appoint battering-rams, to open the mouth for bloodshed, to lift up the voice with shouting, to appoint battering-rams against the gates, to cast mounds, to build siege-towers. (DBY NAS RSV NIV)

Ezekiel 24:2 Son of man, write the name of the day, even of this same day: the king of Babylon drew close to Jerusalem this same day. (See NAS RSV NIV)

Ezekiel 26:8 He shall kill your daughters in the field with the sword; and he shall make forts against you, and cast up a mound against you, and raise up the buckler against you. (See NAS RSV NIV)

Daniel 1:1 In the third year of the reign of Jehoiakim king of Judah came Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon to Jerusalem, and besieged it. (Root in WEB KJV JPS ASV DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)

Daniel 11:15 So the king of the north shall come, and cast up a mound, and take a well-fortified city: and the forces of the south shall not stand, neither his chosen people, neither shall there be any strength to stand. (See NAS RSV NIV)

Micah 5:1 Now you shall gather yourself in troops, daughter of troops. He has laid siege against us. They will strike the judge of Israel with a rod on the cheek. (WEB KJV JPS ASV DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)

Nahum 3:14 Draw water for the siege. Strengthen your fortresses. Go into the clay, and tread the mortar. Make the brick kiln strong. (WEB KJV JPS ASV DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)

Zechariah 12:2 "Behold, I will make Jerusalem a cup of reeling to all the surrounding peoples, and on Judah also will it be in the siege against Jerusalem. (WEB KJV JPS ASV DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)

Siege (63 Occurrences)
... 7. (n.) The floor of a glass-furnace. 8. (n.) A workman's bench. 9. (vt) To
besiege; to beset. Int. Standard Bible Encyclopedia. SIEGE. ...
/s/siege.htm - 51k

Siege-towers (1 Occurrence)
Siege-towers. << Siegetowers, Siege-towers. Siegeworks >>. Multi-Version
Concordance Siege-towers (1 Occurrence). Ezekiel ...
/s/siege-towers.htm - 6k

Siegeworks (8 Occurrences)
... it. (See RSV). Job 19:12 His troops come on together, build a siege ramp against
me, and encamp around my tent. (See RSV). Ecclesiastes ...
/s/siegeworks.htm - 8k

Rabbah (14 Occurrences)
... It was while his army was engaged in this protracted siege that David was guilty
of that deed of shame which left a blot on his character and cast a gloom over ...
/r/rabbah.htm - 19k

Straiten (4 Occurrences)
... 28:53 And thou shalt eat the fruit of thine own body, the flesh of thy sons and
of thy daughters, whom Jehovah thy God hath given thee, in the siege and in the ...
/s/straiten.htm - 10k

Straitness (6 Occurrences)
... 28:53 And thou shalt eat the fruit of thine own body, the flesh of thy sons and
of thy daughters, which the LORD thy God hath given thee, in the siege, and in ...
/s/straitness.htm - 8k

Esarhaddon (3 Occurrences)
... Sidon having revolted against Assyria, Esarhaddon laid siege to the city,
which after three years was finally captured and destroyed. ...
/e/esarhaddon.htm - 13k

Mound (17 Occurrences)
... 3. (vt) To fortify or enclose with a mound. Int. Standard Bible Encyclopedia. MOUND.
mound. See SIEGE, 4, (c). Multi-Version Concordance Mound (17 Occurrences). ...
/m/mound.htm - 12k

Zedekiah (63 Occurrences)
... During this siege, which lasted about eighteen months, "every worst woe befell the
devoted city, which drank the cup of God's fury to the dregs" (2 Kings 25:3 ...
/z/zedekiah.htm - 49k

Oppress (57 Occurrences)
... 28:53 You shall eat the fruit of your own body, the flesh of your sons and of your
daughters, whom Yahweh your God has given you, in the siege and in the ...
/o/oppress.htm - 24k

4912. sunecho -- to hold together, to hold fast, pass. to be ...
... From sun and echo; to hold together, ie To compress (the ears, with a crowd or siege)
or arrest (a prisoner); figuratively, to compel, perplex, afflict ...
/greek/4912.htm - 7k

5482. charax -- a pointed stake, a rampart
... akin to grapho through the idea of scratching); a stake, ie (by implication) a palisade
or rampart (military mound for circumvallation in a siege) -- trench. ...
/greek/5482.htm - 6k

International Standard Bible Encyclopedia

sej (matsor (Deuteronomy 28:52, 53 1 Kings 15:27 2 Kings 25:2 Isaiah 29:3 Ezekiel 4:2); "to be besieged," "to suffer siege," ba-matsor bo' (Deuteronomy 20:19 2 Kings 24:10; 2 Kings 25:2)):

1. In Early Hebrew History

2. In the Monarchy

3. Preliminaries to Siege

4. Siege Operations: Attack

(1) Investment of City

(2) Line of Circumvallation

(3) Mound, or Earthworks

(4) Battering-Rams

(5) Storming of Walls and Rushing of Breach

5. Siege Operations: Defense

6. Raising of Siege

7. Horrors of Siege and Capture

8. Siege in the New Testament


1. In Early Hebrew History:

In early Hebrew history, siege operations are not described and can have been little known. Although the Israelites had acquired a certain degree of military discipline in the wilderness, when they entered Canaan they had no experience of the operations of a siege and were without the engines of war necessary for the purpose. Jericho, with its strongly fortified wall, was indeed formally invested-it "was straitly shut up because of the children of Israel: none went out, and none came in" (Joshua 6:1)-but it fell into their hands without a siege. Other cities seem to have yielded after pitched battles, or to have been taken by assault. Many of the Canaanite fortresses, like Gezer (2 Samuel 5:25 Joshua 16:10), Taanach and Megiddo (Judges 1:27), remained unreduced. Jerusalem was captured by the men of Judah (Judges 1:8), but the fort of Jebus remained unconquered till the time of David (2 Samuel 5:6).

2. In the Monarchy:

In the days of the monarchy more is heard of siege operations. At the siege of Rabbath-Ammon Joab seems to have deprived the city of its water-supply and rendered it untenable (2 Samuel 11:1; 2 Samuel 12:27). At Abel of Beth-maacah siege operations are described in which Joab distinguished himself (2 Samuel 20:15). David and Solomon, and, after the disruption of the kingdom, Rehoboam and Jeroboam built fortresses which ere long became the scene of siege operations. The war between Judah and Israel in the days of Nadab, Baasha, and Elah was, for the most part, a war of sieges. It was while besieging Gibbethon that Nadab, the son of Jeroboam, was slain by Baasha (1 Kings 15:27), and, 27 years after, while the army of Israel was still investing the same place, the soldiery chose their commander Omri to be king over Israel (1 Kings 16:16). From the Egyptians, the Syrians, the Assyrians, and the Chaldeans, with whom they came into relations in later times as allies or as enemies, the people of the Southern and of the Northern Kingdoms learned much regarding the art, both of attack and of defense of fortified places.

3. Preliminaries to Siege:

It was an instruction of the Deuteronomic Law that before a city was invested for a long siege, it should be summoned to capitulate (Deuteronomy 20:10; compare 2 Samuel 20:18 2 Kings 18:17). If the offer of peace be declined, then the siege is to be proceeded with, and if the city be captured, all the male population is to be put to death, and the women and children reserved as a prey for the captors. To this humane reservation the cities of the Canaanites were to be an exception: their inhabitants were to be wholly exterminated (Deuteronomy 20:16-18).

The same law prescribed that there should be no unnecessary destruction of fruit trees in the prosecution of a long siege. Trees not yielding fruit for human sustenance might be cut down: "And thou shalt build bulwarks (matsor, "siegeworks") against the city that maketh war with thee, until it fall" (Deuteronomy 20:19, 20). This instruction to have regard to the fruit trees around a hostile city seems to have been more honored in the breach than in the observance, even in Israel. When the allied kings of Israel, Judah, and Edom were invading Moab and had instruction to "smite every fortified city," the prophet Elisha bade them also "fell every good tree, and stop all fountains of water, and mar every good piece of land with stones" (2 Kings 3:19, 25). When the assault of Jerusalem by the Chaldeans was imminent, Yahweh commanded the cutting down of the trees (Jeremiah 6:6). In Arabian warfare, we are told, the destruction of the enemy's palm groves was a favorite exploit (Robertson Smith, OTJC2, 369), and the Assyrians when they captured a city had no compunction in destroying its plantations (Inscription of Shalmaneser II on Black Obelisk).

4. Siege Operations: Attack:

From passages in the Prophets, upon which much light has been thrown by the ancient monuments of Assyria and Chaldea, we gain a very clear idea of the siege works directed against a city by Assyrian or Chaldean invaders. The siege of Lachish (2 Kings 18:13, 14 Isaiah 36:1, 2) by Sennacherib is the subject of a series of magnificent reliefs from the mound of Koyunjik (Layard, Monuments of Nineveh, lI, plates 20, 21, 22). The downfall of Nineveh as predicted in Nahum s prophecy lets us see the siege operations proceeding with striking realism (see Der Untergang Ninivehs by A. Jeremias and Colonel Billerbeck). Nowhere, however, are the incidents of a siege-the gathering of hostile forces, the slaughter of peaceful inhabitants in the country around, the raising of siegeworks, the setting of engines of war against the walls, the demolition of the towers, the breach in the principal wall, the rush of men and the clatter of horses' hoofs through the streets, the slaughter, the pillage, the destruction of walls and houses-more fully and faithfully recorded than by Ezekiel when predicting the capture of Tyre by Nebuchadrezzar (Ezekiel 26:7-12). The siege of Tyre lasted 13 years, and Ezekiel tells how every head was made bald and every shoulder worn by the hard service of the besiegers (Ezekiel 29:18). There were various ways in which an invading army might deal with a fortified city so as to secure its possession. Terms might be offered to secure a capitulation (1 Kings 20:1 2 Kings 18:14). An attempt might be made to reduce the city by starvation (2 Kings 6:24 2 Kings 17:5). The city might be invested and captured by assault and storm, as Lachish was by Sennacherib (2 Kings 18:13; 2 Kings 19:8; see Layard, op cit., II, plates 20-24). The chief operations of the besiegers were as follows:

(1) Investment of City:

There was the investment of the city by the besieging army. It was sometimes necessary to establish a fortified camp, like that of Sennacherib at Lachish to guard against sorties by the defenders. Of the siege of Jerusalem we read that Nebuchadrezzar came, "he and all his army, against Jerusalem, and encamped against it" (Jeremiah 52:4; compare 2 Kings 25:1). From the commencement of the siege, slingers and archers were posted where they could keep the defenders engaged; and it is to this that reference is made when Jeremiah says: "Call together the archers against Babylon, all them that bend the bow; encamp against her round about; let none thereof escape" (Jeremiah 50:29).

(2) Line of Circumvallation:

There was next the drawing of a line of circumvallation (day'eq) with detached forts round about the walls. These forts were towers manned by archers, or they were used as stations from which to discharge missiles (Jeremiah 52:4 Ezekiel 17:17). In this connection the word "munition" in the King James Version and the English Revised Version (matsor) in Nahum 1:1 disappears in the American Standard Revised Version and is replaced by "fortress."

(3) Mound or Earthworks:

Following upon this was the mound (colelah), or earthworks, built up to the height of the walls, so as to command the streets of the city, and strike terror into the besieged. From the mound thus erected the besiegers were able to batter the upper and weaker part of the city wall (2 Samuel 20:15 Isaiah 37:33 Jeremiah 6:6 Ezekiel 4:2 Daniel 11:15 Lamentations 4:18). If, however, the town, or fortress, was built upon an eminence, an inclined plane reaching to the height of the eminence might be formed of earth or stones, or trees, and the besiegers would be able to bring their engines to the foot of the walls. This road was even covered with bricks, forming a kind of paved way, up which the ponderous machines could be drawn without difficulty. To such roads there are references in Scripture (Job 19:12 Isaiah 29:3, "siege works"; compare Layard, Nineveh and Its Remains, II, 366). In the case of Tyre this mound, or way of approach, was a dam thrown across the narrow strait to obtain access to the walls (Ezekiel 26:8). Very often, too, there was a trench, sometimes filled with water, at the foot of the wall, which had to be dealt with previous to an assault.

(4) Battering-Rams:

The earthworks having been thrown up, and approaches to the walls secured, it was possible to set and to work the battering-rams (karim) which were to be employed in breaching the walls (Ezekiel 4:2), or in bursting open the gates (Ezekiel 21:22). The battering-rams were of different kinds. On Assyrian monuments they are found joined to movable towers holding warriors and armed men, or, in other cases, joined to a stationary tower constructed on the spot. When the men who are detailed to work the ram get it into play, with its heavy beams of planks fastened together and the great mass of metal forming its head, they can hardly fail to make an impression, and gradually, by the constantly repeated shocks, a breach is opened and the besiegers are able to rush in and bear down the defenders. It is to the shelter furnished by these towers that the prophet Nahum refers (2:5) when he says,"The mantelet is prepared," and that Isaiah points when he declares that the king of Assyria "shall not come unto this city, nor shoot an arrow there, neither shall he come before it with shield (maghen), nor cast up a mound against it" (Isaiah 37:33). Ezekiel has the same figure when, describing the siege of Tyre by Nebuchadrezzar, he declares that he shall "cast up a mound" against her, and "raise up the buckler," the buckler (qinnah) being like the Roman testudo, or roof of shields, under cover of which the besiegers carried on operations (Ezekiel 26:8; Colonel Billerbeck (op. cit., 178) is doubtful whether this device was known to the Assyrians). Under the shelter of their movable towers the besiegers could push forward mines, an operation known as part of siegecraft from a high antiquity (see 2 Samuel 20:15, where the American Revised Version margin and the English Revised Version margin give "undermined" as an alternative to "battered"; tunneling was well known in antiquity, as the Siloam tunnel shows).

(5) Storming of Walls and Rushing of Breach:

The culminating operation would be the storming of the walls, the rushing of the breach. Scaling-ladders were employed to cross the encircling trench or ditch (Proverbs 21:22); and Joel in his powerful description of the army of locusts which had devastated the land says that they "climb the wall like men of war" (Joel 2:7). Attempts were made to set fire to the gates and to break them open with axes (Judges 9:52; compare Nehemiah 1:3; Nehemiah 2:3 Ezekiel 26:9). Jeremiah tells of the breach that was made in the city when Jerusalem was captured (Jeremiah 39:2). The breaches in the wall of Samaria are referred to by Amos (4:3), who pictures the women rushing forth headlong like a herd of kine with hooks and fishhooks in their nostrils.

5. Siege Operations: Defense: While the besiegers employed this variety of means of attack, the besieged were equally ingenious and active in maintaining the defense. All sorts of obstructions were placed in the way of the besieging army. Springs and cisterns likely to afford supplies of water to the invaders were carefully covered up, or drained off into the city. Where possible, trenches were filled with water to make them impassable. As the siege-works of the enemy approached the main wall, it was usual to build inner fortifications, and for this purpose houses were pulled down to provide the needful space and also to supply building materials (Isaiah 22:10). Slingers placed upon the walls hurled stones upon the advancing enemy, and archers from loopholes and protected battlements discharged arrows against the warriors in their movable towers. Sorties were made to damage the siege-works of the enemy and to prevent the battering-rams from being placed in position. To counteract the assaults of the battering-rams, sacks of chaff were let down like a ship's fender in front of the place where the engine operated-a contrivance countered again by poles with scythes upon them which cut off the sacks (Josephus, BJ, III, vii, 20). So, too, the defenders, by dropping a doubled chain or rope from the battlements, caught the ram and broke the force of its blows. Attempts were made to destroy the ram also by fire. In the great bas-relief of the siege of Lachish an inhabitant is seen hurling a lighted torch from the wall; and it was a common device to pour boiling water or oil from the wall upon the assailants. Missiles, too, were thrown with deadly effect from the battlements by the defenders, and it was by a piece of a millstone thrown by a woman that Abimelech met his death at Thebez (Judges 9:53). While Uzziah of Judah furnished his soldiers with shields and spears and helmets and coats of mail and bows and slingstones, he also "made in Jerusalem engines, invented by skillful men, to be on the towers and upon the battlements, wherewith to shoot arrows and great stones" (2 Chronicles 26:15). The Jews had, for the defense of Jerusalem against the army of Titus, engines which they had taken from the Twelfth Legion at Beth-horon which seem to have had a range of 1,200 ft. Many ingenious devices are described by Josephus as employed by himself when conducting the defense of Jotapata in Galilee against Vespasian and the forces of Rome (BJ, III, vii).

6. Raising of Siege:

When Nahash king of the Ammonites laid siege to Jabesh-gilead in the opening days of the reign of Saul, the terms of peace offered to the inhabitants were so humiliating and cruel that they sought a respite of seven days and appealed to Saul in their distress. When the newly chosen king heard of their desperate condition he assembled a great army, scattered the Ammonites, and raised the siege of Jabesh-gilead, thus earning the lasting gratitude of the inhabitants (1 Samuel 11; compare 1 Samuel 31:12, 13). When Zedekiah of Judah found himself besieged in Jerusalem by the Chaldean army under Nebuzaradan, he sent intelligence to Pharaoh Hophra who crossed the frontier with his army to attack the Chaldeans and obliged them to desist from the siege. The Chaldeans withdrew for the moment from the walls of Jerusalem and offered battle to Pharaoh Hophra and his host, but the courage of the Egyptian king failed him and he retired in haste without encountering the Chaldeans in a pitched battle. The siege was prosecuted to the bitter end, and Jerusalem was captured and completely overthrown (2 Kings 25:1 Jeremiah 37:3-10 Ezekiel 17:17).

7. Horrors of Siege and Capture:

In the ancient law of Israel "siege" is classed with drought and pestilence and exile as punishments with which Yahweh would visit His people for their disobedience (Deuteronomy 28:49-57). Of the horrors there described they had again and again bitter experience. At the siege of Samaria by Ben-hadad II, so terrible were the straits to which the besieged were reduced that they cooked and ate their own children (2 Kings 6:28). In the siege of Jerusalem by the Chaldeans, which ended in the overthrow of the city and the destruction of the Temple, the sufferings of the inhabitants from hunger and disease were incredible (2 Kings 25:3 Jeremiah 32:24 Lamentations 2:20; Lamentations 4:8-10). The horrors of siege have, perhaps, reached their climax in the account given by Josephus of the tragedy of Masada. To escape capture by the Romans, ten men were chosen by lot from among the occupants of the fortress, 960 in number, including combatants and non-combatants, men, women and children, to slay the rest. From these ten one was similarly chosen to slay the survivors, and he, having accomplished his awful task, ran his sword into his own body (Josephus, BJ, VII, ix, 1). While all the inhabitants of a city under siege suffered the famine of bread and the thirst for water, the combatants ran the risk of impalement and other forms of torture to which prisoners in Assyrian and Chaldean and Roman warfare were subjected.

The horrors attending the siege of a city were only surpassed by the barbarities perpetrated at its capture. The emptying of a city by its capture is likened to the hurling of a stone from a sling (Jeremiah 10:17, 18). Deportation of the whole of the inhabitants often followed (2 Kings 17:6; 2 Kings 24:14). Not only were the inhabitants of the captured city deported, but their gods were carried off with them and the idols broken in pieces. This is predicted or recorded of Babylon (Isaiah 21:9; Isaiah 46:1 Jeremiah 50:2), of Egypt (Jeremiah 43:12), of Samaria (Hosea 10:6). Indiscriminate slaughter followed the entrance of the assailants, and the city was usually given over to the flames (Jeremiah 39:8, 9 Lamentations 4:18). "Cities without number," says Shalmaneser II in one of his inscriptions, "I wrecked, razed, burned with fire." Houses were destroyed and women dishonored (Zechariah 14:2). When Darius took Babylon, he impaled three thousand prisoners (Herodotus iii.159). The Scythians scalped and flayed their enemies and used their skins for horse trappings (ibid., iv.64). The Assyrian sculptures show prisoners subjected to horrible tortures, or carried away into slavery. The captured Zedekiah had his eyes put out after he had seen his own sons cruelly put to death (2 Kings 25:7). It is only employing the imagery familiar to Assyrian warfare when Isaiah represents Yahweh as saying to Sennacherib: "Therefore will I put my hook in thy nose, and my bridle in thy lips, and I will turn thee back by the way by which thou camest" (Isaiah 37:29). Anticipating the savage barbarities that would follow the capture of Samaria by the Assyrians, Hosea foresees the infants being dashed to pieces and the women with child being ripped up (Hosea 10:14; Hosea 13:16; compare Amos 1:13). The prophet Nahum predicting the overthrow of Nineveh recalls how at the capture of No-amon (Egyptian Thebes) by the Assyrian conqueror, Ashurbanipal, "her young children also were dashed in pieces at the head of all the streets; and they cast lots for her honorable men, and all her great men were bound in chains" (Nahum 3:10).

8. Siege in the New Testament:

The only. explicit reference to siege operations in the New Testament is our Lord's prediction of the complete destruction of Jerusalem when He wept over its coming doom: "For the days shall come upon thee, when thine enemies shall cast up a bank (charax, the King James Version, quite incorrectly, "trench") about thee, and compass thee round, and keep thee in on every side, and shall dash thee to the ground, and thy children within thee; and they shall not leave in thee one stone upon another" (Luke 19:43, 44). The order and particulars of the siege are in accordance with the accounts of siege operations in the Old Testament. How completely the prediction was fulfilled we see from Josephus (BJ, V, vi, 10).


In Paul's Epistles there are figures taken from siege operations. In 2 Corinthians 10:4 we have "the casting down of strongholds," where the Greek word kathairesis, from kathairein, is the regular word used in Septuagint for the reduction of a fortress (Proverbs 21:22 Lamentations 2:2; 1Ma 5:65). In Ephesians 6:16 there is allusion to siege-works, for the subtle temptations of Satan are set forth as the flaming darts hurled by the besiegers of a fortress which the Christian soldier is to quench with the shield of faith.


Nowack, Hebraische Archaeologie, 71; Benzinger, "Kriegswesen" in Herzog3; Billerbeck and A. Jeremias, Der Untergang Ninivehs; Billerbeck, Der Festungsbau im alten Orient.

T. Nicol

Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
1. (n.) The sitting of an army around a fortified place to force a surrender; the surrounding or investing of a place by an army, and approaching it by passages and advanced works, which cover the besiegers from the enemy's fire. See Blockade.

2. (n.) A seat; especially, a royal seat; a throne.

3. (n.) Hence, place or situation; seat.

4. (n.) Rank; grade; station; estimation.

5. (n.) Passage of excrements; stool; fecal matter.

6. (n.) Hence, a continued attempt to gain possession.

7. (n.) The floor of a glass-furnace.

8. (n.) A workman's bench.

9. (v. t.) To besiege; to beset.

Strong's Hebrew
4692. matsor -- siege enclosure, siege, entrenchment
... matsor or matsur. 4693 >>. siege enclosure, siege, entrenchment. Transliteration:
matsor or matsur Phonetic Spelling: (maw-tsore') Short Definition: siege. ...
/hebrew/4692.htm - 6k

1785. dayeq -- bulwark, siege wall
... << 1784b, 1785. dayeq. 1786 >>. bulwark, siege wall. Transliteration: dayeq
Phonetic Spelling: (daw-yake') Short Definition: wall. Word ...
/hebrew/1785.htm - 6k

6904. qebol -- something in front, a military siege engine
... << 6903, 6904. qebol. 6905 >>. something in front, a military siege engine.
Transliteration: qebol Phonetic Spelling: (ko'-bel) Short Definition: rams. ...
/hebrew/6904.htm - 6k

6696a. tsur -- to confine, bind, besiege
... NASB Word Usage barricade (1), besiege (3), besiege* (1), besieged (1), besieged*
(10), besieging* (5), bind (2), bound (1), enclosed (1), laid siege (1), lay ...
/hebrew/6696a.htm - 5k

5550. solelah -- a mound
... ramp. Word Origin from salal Definition a mound NASB Word Usage ramp (2),
ramps (2), siege ramp (4), siege ramps (2). bank, mount. ...
/hebrew/5550.htm - 6k

8210. shaphak -- to pour out, pour
... root Definition to pour out, pour NASB Word Usage cast (5), cast up a siege (1),
dump (1), gushed (1), pour (34), poured (26), pouring (1), pours (5), raise (1 ...
/hebrew/8210.htm - 6k

4694. metsurah -- siegeworks, rampart
... Or mtsurah {mets-oo-raw'}; feminine of matsowr; a hemming in, ie (objectively) a
mound (of siege), or (subjectively) a rampart (of protection), (abstractly ...
/hebrew/4694.htm - 6k

2314. chadar -- to surround, enclose
... enter a privy chamber. A primitive root; properly, to inclose (as a room), ie (by
analogy,) to beset (as in a siege) -- enter a privy chamber. << 2313, 2314. ...
/hebrew/2314.htm - 6k

2583. chanah -- to decline, bend down, encamp
... To encamp (for abode or siege) -- abide (in tents), camp, dwell, encamp, grow to
an end, lie, pitch (tent), rest in tent. see HEBREW chanan. << 2582, 2583. ...
/hebrew/2583.htm - 6k

5564. samak -- to lean, lay, rest, support
... root Definition to lean, lay, rest, support NASB Word Usage braced (1), holds (1),
laid (6), laid siege (1), lay (17), lean (1), leans (3), relied (1), rested ...
/hebrew/5564.htm - 6k



Siege by David

Siege by Nebuchadnezzar

Siege by Rezin, King of Syria, and Pekah, Son of Remaliah, King of Israel

Siege by Sennacherib

Siege by the Sons of Judah

Siege: Abel

Siege: An offer of Peace Must be Made to the City Before Beginning A

Siege: Cannibalism During A

Siege: Conducted by Erecting Embankments Parallel to the Walls of the Besieged City

Siege: Distress of the Inhabitants During A

Siege: Gibbethon

Siege: Jericho

Siege: Rabbah

Siege: Samaria

Siege: Tirzah

Sieges: Ai

Sieges: Being Against Round About

Sieges: Cities Invested by Frequently Helped by Allies

Sieges: Cities Invested by Frequently Taken by Ambush

Sieges: Cities Invested by Frequently Taken by Assault

Sieges: Cities Invested by Inhabitants of, Exhorted to be Courageous

Sieges: Cities Invested by Often Demanded Terms of Peace

Sieges: Cities Invested by Often Suffered from Famine

Sieges: Cities Invested by Often Suffered from Pestilence

Sieges: Cities Invested by Repaired and Newly Fortified Beforehand

Sieges: Cities Invested by Sometimes Used Ambushes or Sorties

Sieges: Cities Invested by Supplied With Water Beforehand

Sieges: Cities Invested by The Inhabitants of, Cut off Beforehand Supplies of Water

Sieges: Cities Invested by Walls of, Defended by the Inhabitants

Sieges: Cities Invested by Were Strictly Shut Up

Sieges: Cities of Israel in Galilee

Sieges: Cities of Judah

Sieges: Cities Taken by Frequently Broken Down

Sieges: Cities Taken by Frequently Destroyed by Fire

Sieges: Cities Taken by Given up to Pillage

Sieges: Cities Taken by Inhabitants of, often Put to the Sword

Sieges: Cities Taken by Sometimes Called After the Name of the Captor

Sieges: Cities Taken by Sometimes Sown With Salt

Sieges: Compassing About With Armies

Sieges: Debir

Sieges: Eglon

Sieges: Encamping Against

Sieges: Extreme Difficulty of Taking Cities By, Alluded To

Sieges: Fenced Cities Invested By

Sieges: Gibbethon

Sieges: Great Noise and Tumult of, Alluded To

Sieges: Hebron

Sieges: Jabesh-Gilead

Sieges: Jericho

Sieges: Jerusalem

Sieges: Keilah

Sieges: Lachish

Sieges: Libnah

Sieges: Makkedah

Sieges: Often Lasted for a Long Time

Sieges: Pitching Against

Sieges: Rabbah

Sieges: Ramoth-Gilead

Sieges: Samaria

Sieges: Setting in Array Against

Sieges: Shechem

Sieges: The Jews Forbidden to Cut Down Fruit Trees for the Purpose of

Sieges: The Judgments of God

Sieges: The Omnipresence of God

Sieges: Thebez

Sieges: Those Engaged in Built Forts and Mounts

Sieges: Those Engaged in Called Upon the City to Surrender

Sieges: Those Engaged in Cast Arrows and Other Missiles Into the City

Sieges: Those Engaged in Cut off all Supplies

Sieges: Those Engaged in Dug a Trench Round the City

Sieges: Those Engaged in Employed Battering Rams Against the Walls

Sieges: Those Engaged in Frequently Laid Ambushes

Sieges: Those Engaged in Invested the City on Every Side

Sieges: Those Engaged in Often Suffered Much During

Sieges: Threatened As a Punishment

Sieges: Tirzah

Sieges: Ziklag

Sieges: Zion in Her Affliction

Related Terms

Siege-towers (1 Occurrence)

Siegeworks (8 Occurrences)

Rabbah (14 Occurrences)

Straiten (4 Occurrences)

Straitness (6 Occurrences)

Esarhaddon (3 Occurrences)

Mound (17 Occurrences)

Zedekiah (63 Occurrences)

Oppress (57 Occurrences)

Inflict (25 Occurrences)

Forts (12 Occurrences)

Famine (99 Occurrences)

Jehoahaz (22 Occurrences)

Acco (2 Occurrences)

Besiege (17 Occurrences)

Lachish (22 Occurrences)

Layeth (76 Occurrences)

Great (10383 Occurrences)

Chalde'ans (74 Occurrences)

Distress (169 Occurrences)

Enemy (134 Occurrences)

Samaria (123 Occurrences)

Benhadad (24 Occurrences)

Laying (87 Occurrences)

Omri (16 Occurrences)

Layest (10 Occurrences)

Trusting (45 Occurrences)

Ramp (9 Occurrences)

Encircling (6 Occurrences)

Encircle (6 Occurrences)

Posted (8 Occurrences)

Baruch (24 Occurrences)

Bloody (19 Occurrences)

Battering-rams (2 Occurrences)

Capture (53 Occurrences)

Nebuchadrezzar (31 Occurrences)

Arpad (6 Occurrences)

Assault (8 Occurrences)

Sargon (1 Occurrence)

Syracuse (1 Occurrence)



Tyre (59 Occurrences)

Zimri (16 Occurrences)

Judith (1 Occurrence)

Nadab (21 Occurrences)

Nebuchadnezzar (90 Occurrences)

Captivity (141 Occurrences)

Sidon (35 Occurrences)

Besieged (34 Occurrences)

Fortified (79 Occurrences)


Fortress (75 Occurrences)

Warfare (18 Occurrences)

Troops (92 Occurrences)

Womb (84 Occurrences)

Wherewith (182 Occurrences)

Trench (8 Occurrences)

Battering (6 Occurrences)

Sido'nians (11 Occurrences)

Sennacherib (13 Occurrences)

Fort (8 Occurrences)

Fortification (5 Occurrences)

Fighting (201 Occurrences)

Alexander (5 Occurrences)

War (529 Occurrences)

During (182 Occurrences)

Jeremiah (141 Occurrences)

Cyrus (20 Occurrences)

Gates (156 Occurrences)

Asshur (133 Occurrences)

Zedeki'ah (62 Occurrences)

Clay (50 Occurrences)

Fight (265 Occurrences)

Cyprus (12 Occurrences)

Elisha (70 Occurrences)

Enemies (317 Occurrences)


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