🔼The name Arah in the Bible
There are two or three men named Arah in the Bible:
- One is a son of Ulla of Asher (1 Chronicles 7:39).
- The other is the family head whose family returns from Babylon together with Zerubbabel. Ezra counts 775 members of this family (2:5) but Nehemiah counts 652 (7:10). Still, Arah's family is quite substantial, and if he is the ancestor (which the words "sons-of" seem to indicate), he was probably not present during the return. On the other hand, he may also simply be the leader of a large group of uncles and cousins, and very much alive and actively leading his people west.
- In Nehemiah 6:18 we meet another (or the same) Arah, whose son Shecaniah has a son-in-law named Tobiah, who is a man of significant status (see Nehemiah 2:10), also in part because his son Jehohanan has married the daughter of Meshullam, the son of Berechiah.
🔼Etymology of the name Arah
The name Arah comes from the verb ארח (arah), meaning to wander or travel:
For a meaning of the name Arah, BDB Theological Dictionary reads a timid Traveller? NOBSE Study Bible Name List, far less timid, reads Wayfarer. And Alfred Jones (Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names), bold as ever, offers Wandering.