ChristianAnswers.Net WebBible Encyclopedia
a vehicle generally used for war purposes
Sometimes, though but rarely, it is spoken of as used for peaceful purposes.
The first mention of the chariot is when Joseph, as a mark of distinction, was placed in Pharaoh’s second state chariot (Genesis 41:43); and the next, when he went out in his own chariot to meet his father Jacob (46:29). Chariots formed part of the funeral procession of Jacob (50:9).
NUMBER OF CHARIOTS—When Pharaoh pursued the Israelites, he took 600 war-chariots with him (Exodus 14:7). Jabin, the king of Canaan, had 900 chariots (Judges 4:3); and in Saul’s time the Philistines had 30,000. In his wars with the king of Zobah and with the Syrians, David took many chariots among the spoils (2 Samuel 8:4; 10:18). Solomon maintained as part of his army, 1,400 chariots (1 Kings 10:26), which were chiefly imported from Egypt (29).
FIGURATIVE—This word is sometimes used figuratively for hosts (Psalms 68:17; 2 Kings 6:17). Elijah, by his prayers and his counsel, was “the chariot of Israel, and the horsemen thereof.” The rapid agency of God in the phenomena of nature is also spoken of under the similitude of a chariot (Psalms 104:3; Isaiah 66:15; Hab. 3:8).
CHARIOT OF FIRE—Elijah was translated in a “chariot of fire” (2 Kings 2:11). Compare 2 Kings 6:17. This vision would be to Elisha a source of strength and encouragement, for now he could say, “They that be with us are more than they that be with them.”