What is the significance of the title "The Bronze Bow"?

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The title of the book is a reference to a passage from Psalm 18, "fight, and the strength to bend a bow of bronze," as well as a biblical reference to Jesus' love for all creatures.

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The Bronze Bow refers to a passage in one of the Psalms, religious songs and verse attributed to King David. In Psalm 18, the songwriter speaks of having God give him the strength to "fight, and the strength to bend a bow of bronze." This refers to a difficult, perhaps impossible act, which is only achieved through the strength of belief in God and in one's self. To Daniel, the verse comes to represent his entire struggle against the Romans, as he and the others are weak and the Romans are very strong.

"It was you who thought of it, that night -- that the bronze bow might mean some impossible thing -- the thing we could not do alone? I never forgot it. I don't know how to say it, but it came to stand for everything we are working for. For our oath. For the kingdom."
(Speare, The Bronze Bow, Google Books)

The second meaning of the title is explained by Jesus, who desires Daniel to leave his hatred behind and accept the love of God for all creatures. At the very end of the book, Daniel accepts this love and allows the Roman soldier Marcus to see Leah one last time; he has "bent the bronze bow" of hatred with his newfound love of God, self, and those around him.

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What is the significance of The Bronze Bow?

The bronze bow is reference in the book of David and initially Daniel, Joel, and Thacia think that the only thing that will bend the bow of bronze is force.  The friends and many others want to forceably get rid of the occupying Romans. 

But as Daniel discovers,  love is the only way to defeat hate; he must accept the grace of Jesus, and follow him rather than false leaders like the zealot, Rosh. It is a long and difficult process.  Daniel has a lot to be hateful about...the Romans crucified his father and his uncle.  Indirectly, they cause his mother's death and his sister's "madness."  His aging grandmother is unable to support the children, and is forced to sell Daniel into indentured servitude, which is little better than slavery.  Daniel escapes and finds Rosh, who promises to oust the Romans from Israel and restore proper rule. 

For a long time, Daniel clings to this promise, even though Rosh's actions are self-serving.   But soon Daniel will meet Jesus, whose message of love and tolerance ultimately overcomes fear and hatred.  Jesus shows Daniel that nothing will supplant love:  not hatred, not the Law, not revenge.  Only love will "bend the bow of bronze" and give Daniel what he wants:  hope and peace, at least within himself, for his family, and for those he cares about.   

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What is The Bronze Bow about?

Elizabeth George Speare's The Bronze Bow is a book set in ancient Judaea, describing the rise of Christianity through the eyes of Daniel bar Jamin, a young Jewish boy. Its description of the conflicts between the Jews and Roman Empire and  the emergence of Christianity is highly fictionalized, and expresses a strong pro-Christian bias rather than being an accurate representation of the cultures of the period.

The protagonist, Daniel bar Jamin, is a young boy whose father has been crucified by the Romans, and whose mother dies a few days later. Daniel and his sister Leah are sent to live with his poor peasant grandmother, but as the grandmother cannot afford to feed both children, Daniel is indentured to a blacksmith for 10 years as an apprentice. Daniel, motivated by hatred of the Romans, joins one of the groups of Jewish rebellions against Roman rule, which act in essence as a terrorist cell. He returns home briefly to care for his dying grandmother and his sister, and eventually converts to Christianity.

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What does the bronze bow symbolize?

Daniel is consumed by hatred for the Roman occupiers of his land. They killed his father and his uncle, which caused his mother's death a few weeks later. The trauma of all this loss affects his younger sister, who is seen by the rest of their community to be possessed by demons. His sister and his grandmother live in poverty in a hovel while Daniel must work for a blacksmith.

When he is old enough, Daniel joins with Rosh, a Jewish Zealot who preaches violent overthrow of the Romans. This focuses Daniel's hatred on a cause, but Daniel soon discovers that his life does not matter to Rosh, who only cares about expelling the Romans from Palestine.

It is only when Simon takes Daniel to hear Jesus that Daniel learns there is a better and more powerful way than violence to overcome the Romans. Daniel has all along thought violence was the force that would bend the bronze bow to his will, but now he realizes that love is the stronger force, along with faith in God. The bronze bow symbolizes the power of the love of Jesus, which is the force that can eradicate hate and violence. This forces bends the universe in an arc of love.

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