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The meaning of Array in the Bible
(From International Standard Bible Encyclopedia)

a-ra' ((1) labhesh, 'aTah; periballo, enduomai, himatismos. (2) 'arakh, shith): "Array," composed of prefix "ar-" and "rai," "order," is used in two senses, (1) in reference to clothing and (2) in reference to the disposition of an army.

(1) (a) Labhesh is the most common Hebrew word meaning "to clothe," and is used in all cases but one in the Old Testament for "array" (compare Genesis 41:42 : Pharaoh "arrayed him (Joseph) in vestures of fine linen"; see also II Chronicles 28:15; Esther 6:9, Esther 6:11; Job 40:10; II Chronicles 5:12). (b) 'ATah, meaning "to veil," "to cover," is once used. Nebuchadrezzar "shall array himself with the land of Egypt" (Jeremiah 43:12). (c) Periballo, "to throw around," is used 6 times in the New Testament. It is the word used of Herod's "arraying" Jesus "in gorgeous apparel" (Luke 23:11; the other references are Matthew 6:29; Luke 12:27; Revelation 7:13; Revelation 17:4; Revelation 19:8). (d) Enduomai, middle or passive of enduo, "to enter," means, therefore, "to be entered into" clothing. Once it is used in reference to Herod (Acts 12:21). (e) Himatismos, "clothing," is translated once "array" = raiment (from same root). This is the only occurrence of "array" in this sense (I Timothy 2:9).

(2) (a) 'Arakh is the common word in the Old Testament, used in reference to the disposition of an army, and is translated "to put in array," "to set in array," the object being "the battle" or the army. The root meaning is that of orderly arrangement, and the verb is used in other senses than the military, e.g. arranging the table of shewbread. In I Chronicles 12:33 the Revised Version (British and American) has "order the battle array" for the King James Version "keep rank," translation of Hebrew 'adhar. (b) Shith, "to set, to place," used once for battle array: "and the horsemen set themselves in array at the gate" (Isaiah 22:7).

S. F. Hunter


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