Ararat meaning | Ararat etymology

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The name Ararat in the Bible

Ararat is the name of a mountain range, which is famous for being the site of the first ship wreck in history: the stranding of the Ark of Noah (Genesis 8:4). Nowadays nobody knows for sure where the Ararat might be, but in the days of Hezekiah people still did, as the assassins of king Sennacherib of Assyria were reported to have fled there (2 Kings 19:37).

Etymology of the name Ararat

The word ararat is probably imported from a foreign language and it doesn't really mean anything in Hebrew. But according to Jones' Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names the name Ararat comes from 1) the common Hebrew word הר (har) hill, mountain. And 2) the Hebrew verb ירד (yarad) to go down, descend, march down. Jones' Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names reads Mountain Of Descent, which is a wonderful interpretation if it didn't ignore the final teth.

The following cluster of words seems more appropriate: ארר ('arar'arar), to curse; רטט (retet), trembling, panic, and רטה (rata), wring out (Job 16:11), a word that, according to BDB Theological Dictionary may have to do with ירט (yarat), precipitate, or be headlong, contrary (Numb 22:32, "...because your way is contrary to me." BDB Theological Dictionary suggest an alternative reading, "...thou hast precipitated the journey in front of me.")

Ararat meaning

As is the case with many names from the earliest chapters of Genesis, it's impossible to retrieve the intended meaning of the name Ararat. We can't even be sure in which language this name originated. But the way this name was later spelled, it seems to stylize the Noah story: A curse and a trembling; then a mountain and a future in a flash laid out.

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