The bow was in use in early times both in war and in the chase (Genesis 21:20; 27:3; 48:22). The tribe of Benjamin were famous for the use of the bow (1 Chronicles 8:40; 12:2; 2 Chronicles 14:8; 17:17); so also were the Elamites (Isaiah 22:6) and the Lydians (Jeremiah 46:9). The Hebrew word commonly used for bow means properly to tread (1 Chronicles 5:18; 8:40), and hence it is concluded that the foot was employed in bending the bow. Bows of steel (correctly "copper") are mentioned (2 Samuel 22:35; Psalm 18:34).

The arrows were carried in a quiver (Genesis 27:3; Isaiah 22:6; 49:2; Psalm 127:5). They were apparently sometimes shot with some burning material attached to them (Psalm 120:4).

The bow is a symbol of victory (Psalm 7:12). It denotes also falsehood, deceit (Psalm 64:3, 4; Hosea 7:16; Jeremiah 9:3).

"The use of the bow" in 2 Samuel 1:18 (A.V.) ought to be "the song of the bow," as in the Revised Version.