2686. That 'a bow' is the doctrine of faith is clear from its meaning. In the Word, wherever wars are the subject and wherever wars are mentioned, none but spiritual wars are meant in the internal sense, 1664. There were also in the Ancient Word 1
books that were entitled The Wars of Jehovah, as is clear in Moses, in Numbers 21:14-16. These, which were written in the prophetical style, possessed an internal sense and had as their subject the Lord's conflicts and temptations, and also the Church's conflicts and temptations, and those of members of the Church. This is evident from the fact that some things were selected by Moses from those books, as well as from other books of that Church which were called The Books of the Utterers of Prophecies, 2
referred to in Numbers 21:27-30, where almost the same words occur as in Jeremiah; compare Numbers 21:28 with Jeremiah 48:45. From this it may also be concluded that the Ancient Church had writings, historical and also prophetical, which were Divine and inspired and which in the internal sense had the Lord and His kingdom as their subject, and that for those people these writings were the Word as the historical and the prophetical books are for us, which in the sense of the letter have to do with the Jews and Israelites but in the internal sense with the Lord and with the things which are His.
 As in the Word, and also in the books of the Ancient Church, 'war' meant spiritual warfare, so all weapons such as the sword, spear, buckler, shield, arrows, shafts, and bows meant such things specifically as belong to the warfare that is meant in the spiritual sense. What is meant specifically by particular kinds of weapons will in the Lord's Divine mercy be stated elsewhere. Here the meaning of 'the bow', namely the doctrine of truth, will be shown, and how this meaning is derived from arrows, shafts, or darts, which mean the things of doctrine from which and with which those in particular who are spiritual fight, who in former times were therefore called 'archers'.
 That 'the bow' means the doctrine of truth becomes clear from the following places: In Isaiah,
The arrows of Jehovah are sharp, and all His bows are bent. His horses' hoofs are considered as flint, and His wheels as the whirlwind. Isaiah 5:28.
This refers to the truths of doctrine. 'arrows' are spiritual truths, 'bows' doctrine, 'horses' hoofs' natural truths, 'wheels' their doctrine. It is because such things are meant by them that those objects are attributed to Jehovah, to whom they cannot be attributed except in the spiritual sense, otherwise they would be words that are empty and not appropriate. In Jeremiah,
The Lord has bent His bow like an enemy, He has stood with His right hand like a foe, and has slain all things pleasant to the eye in the tent of the daughter of Zion, He has poured out His anger like fire. Lamentations 2:4.
'Bow' stands for the doctrine of truth, which is seen by those immersed in falsities as a foe and hostile. No other kind of bow can be spoken of in reference to the Lord. In Habakkuk,
O Jehovah, You ride on Your horses, Your chariots are salvation, Your bow will be made quite bare. Habakkuk 3:8-9.
Here also 'bow' means the doctrine of good and truth. In Moses,
The archers will exasperate him and shoot at him and hate him. He will sit in the strength of his bow, and the arms of his hands will be made strong by the hands of the Mighty One of Jacob; from there is the Shepherd, the Stone of Israel. Genesis 49:23-24.
This refers to Joseph, 'bow' standing for the doctrine of good and truth.
 In John,
I saw, and behold, a white horse, and he who sat on it had a bow; to him a crown was given. Revelation 6:2.
'A white horse' stands for wisdom, 'he who sat on it' for the Word, as is made explicit in Revelation 19:13, where the white horse is referred to again. And because 'he who sat on it' is the Word it is clear that 'a bow' means the doctrine of truth. In Isaiah,
Who stirred up righteousness from the east, called him to be His follower, gave nations before Him, and caused Him to have dominion over kings? He made them as dust to His sword, as driven stubble to His bow. Isaiah 41:2.
This refers to the Lord, 'sword' standing for truth, 'bow' for doctrine derived from Him. In the same prophet,
I will set a sign among them, and I will send survivors from them to the nations, to Tarshish, Pul, and Lud, who draw the bow, to Tubal and Javan. Isaiah 66:19.
'Those who draw the bow' stands for teachers of doctrine. For what Tarshish means, see 1156; Lud, 1195, 1231; Tubal, 1151; Javan, 1152, 1153, 1155.
Arcana Coelestia 1152-1153)
 In Jeremiah, At the noise of the horseman and of him who wields the bow the whole city takes to flight. They have entered clouds and climbed up on rocks. The whole city has been forsaken. Jeremiah 4:29.
'The horseman' stands for those who declare the truth, 'the bow' for the doctrine of truth, which they flee from or fear who are immersed in falsities. In the same prophet,
Set yourselves in array against Babylon round about; O all you who bend the bow, shoot at her, spare no arrow, for she has sinned against Jehovah. Jeremiah 50:14, 29; 51:2-3.
Here 'those who shoot and bend the bow' stands for declarers and teachers of the doctrine of truth.
 In Zechariah,
I will cut off the chariot from Ephraim, and the horse from Jerusalem, and the battle bow will be cut off, and He will speak peace to the nations. Zechariah 9:10.
'Ephraim' stands for the Church's understanding of truth, 'bow' for doctrine. In Samuel,
David lamented with this lamentation over Saul and over Jonathan, his son, and told [them] to teach the children of Judah the bow. 2 Samuel 1:17-18.
Here 'the bow' is not the subject but doctrinal matters regarding faith. In Ezekiel,
The Lord Jehovih has said, This is the day of which I have spoken, and those who dwell in the cities of Israel will go out, and they will make fires of and burn the weapons, both shield and buckler, bow and arrows, both hand-staff and spear; and they will make a fire of them for seven years. Ezekiel 39:8-9.
The weapons mentioned here are all weapons for spiritual war. 'Bow and arrows' stands for doctrine and its truths. Furthermore when truths themselves separated from goods are represented visually in the next life they are seen as arrows.
 Just as 'the bow' means the doctrine of truth, so in the contrary sense it means the doctrine of falsity. In the Word things like these nearly always have a contrary sense, as stated and shown in various places; as in Jeremiah,
Behold, a people coming from the land in the north, and a mighty nation will be stirred up from the furthest parts of the earth. They lay hold on bow and spear; it is cruel and they will have no pity. Their voice will roar like the sea, they will ride upon horses, every one set in array as a man for battle, against you, O daughter of Zion! Jeremiah 6:22-23.
Here 'bow' stands for the doctrine of falsity. In the same prophet,
Behold, a people coming from the north, a mighty nation, and many kings will be stirred up from the furthest parts of the earth. They have hold of bow and spear; they are cruel and have no pity. Jeremiah 50:41-42.
Here the meaning is similar. In the same prophet,
They bend their tongue; their bow is a bow of lies and not used for truth. They grow strong in the land, for they have gone on from evil to evil and do not know Me. Jeremiah 9:2-3.
'A bow', it is quite evident, means the doctrine of falsity, for it is said that 'they bend their tongue, their bow is a bow of lies and not for truth'.
 In the same prophet,
Jehovah Zebaoth has said, Behold, I am breaking the bow of Elam, the chief of its might. Jeremiah 49:35.
Come, behold the works of Jehovah who makes desolations in the earth, making wars cease even to the end of the earth, He breaks the bow, shatters the spear, and burns the chariots 3
with fire. Psalms 46:8-9.
In the same author,
In Judah God is known, in Israel His name is great, and in Salem will His tabernacle be, and His dwelling-place in Zion. There He broke the bow's fiery darts, the shield and the sword, and war. Psalms 76:1-3.
In the same author;
Behold, the wicked bend the bow, they prepare their shafts upon the string to shoot in the darkness at the upright in heart. Psalms 11:2.
Here 'bow and shafts' plainly stands for matters of doctrine concerning falsity.
1. The text has Church, but the Latin is clearly Word.
2. or The Books of Prophetic Utterances. But see 2897.
3. literally, carts or wagons
Genesis 21:16; Psalms 46:9)