Iron chariots

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This article was considered for deletion at Wikipedia on September 30 2017. This is a backup of Wikipedia:Iron_chariots. All of its AfDs can be found at Wikipedia:Special:PrefixIndex/Wikipedia:Articles_for_deletion/Iron_chariots, the first at Wikipedia:Wikipedia:Articles_for_deletion/Iron_chariots. Purge


The Hebrew Bible mentions iron chariots in the following contexts:[1]

Book Verse Hebrew King James English
Joshua 17:16 Template:Lang And the children of Joseph said, The hill is not enough for us: and all the Canaanites that dwell in the land of the valley have chariots of iron, both they who are of Bethshean and her towns, and they who are of the valley of Jezreel.
17:18 Template:Lang But the mountain shall be thine; for it is a wood, and thou shalt cut it down: and the outgoings of it shall be thine: for thou shalt drive out the Canaanites, though they have iron chariots, and though they be strong.
Judges 1:19 Template:Lang And the Template:LORD was with Judah; and he drave out the inhabitants of the mountain; but could not drive out the inhabitants of the valley, because they had chariots of iron.
4:3 Template:Lang And the children of Israel cried unto the Template:LORD: for he had nine hundred chariots of iron; and twenty years he mightily oppressed the children of Israel.
4:13 Template:Lang And Sisera gathered together all his chariots, even nine hundred chariots of iron, and all the people that were with him, from Harosheth of the Gentiles unto the river of Kishon.

The perceived incongruity of these passages inspired the 1921 expedition by archaeologist and University of Pennsylvania museum curator Clarence Stanley Fisher (1876–1941), in which he traveled to the Holy Land seeking physical evidence of these iron chariots.[2][3]

Skeptics have cited Judges 1:19 in particular as an example of biblical self-contradiction regarding the omnipotence of the Judeo-Christian God. Scholars and apologists however have given various ways to reconcile the apparent discrepancy, which is excused as arising from the ambiguity in the English translation of the text.[4]

Douay-Rheims Bible

The Douay-Rheims Bible includes one extra instance of this phrase:

Book Verse Hebrew Douay-Rheims
1 Chronicles 20:3 Template:Lang And the people that were therein he brought out: and made harrows, and sleds, and chariots of iron to go over them, so that they were cut and bruised to pieces: in this manner David dealt with all the cities of the children of Ammon : and he returned with al his people to Jerusalem.[5]

However this error can be attributed to semantic reduplication and false cognates.[no citations needed here] The KJV translates the Hebrew word Template:Lang as harrow, evoking some agricultural device for tilling soil. While Template:Lang is transliterated in the Latin alphabet as chariyts, it comes from a root word meaning "to cut" or "to sharpen" and is pronounced much differently,[6] whereas the English word chariot (similarly to car, carriage, etc.) originates from the Latin Template:Lang via Old French.


  1. All translations retrieved from the Blue Letter Bible
  2. "Search for Iron Chariots: Head of Pennsylvania University Mission Starts for Orient". The New York Times: p. 7. May 12, 1921. Retrieved 2009-05-02. 
  3. Davis, Thomas W. (2004). Shifting Sands: The Rise and Fall of Biblical Archaeology. Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-516710-4. 
  4. Butt, Kyle. "Were the Iron Chariots Too Powerful?". Apologetics Press. Retrieved 2009-05-02. 
  5. See reprint of 1610 Doay Old Testament, 1582 Rheims New Testament, page 754 [1]
  6. Blue Letter Bible: חריץ