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image of Vetus Testamentum

"To tread a bow" (dārak qešet) is often thought to mean bending or drawing it, but some believe that it denotes stringing a bow. The former interpretation is generally supported by the ancient versions, and also by medieval Jewish scholars; and Rashi says that, when a bow was "strong", the archer needed to use his foot to bend it. Some Greek writers tell of peoples who had exceptionally long bows and needed to use their feet to bend them. Egyptian pictures show archers using their feet to bend bows when stringing them. It is argued that a choice must be made between translating "to bend" and "to string", that Israelite bows do not seem to have been unusually long, and that some biblical references are best interpreted to imply that treading a bow means stringing it.


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