Courtesy Israel Museum

Still deadly looking after more than 3,000 years beneath the sea, this Canaanite bronze sickle sword, about 26 inches long, has been remarkably preserved, protected from oxidation by layers of silt. A pair of incised lines run the length of the blade, and an ornamental band of incised triangles and punctured dots decorates the junction of hilt and blade. Miraculously, even the wooden inlay of the sword hilt is still intact.

Unlike its namesake the sickle, the sickle sword’s cutting edge is on the exterior, convex side. It was used with a slashing motion.

The oft-repeated Biblical injunction to “smite shine enemies with the edge of the sword” may refer to just such a weapon.