🔼The name Arioch: Summary
- From the noun ארי ('ary), lion, from the verb ארה ('ara), to gather.
🔼The name Arioch in the Bible
The name Arioch is assigned to two different men in the Bible:
- The king of Ellasar, who was a member of the coalition of four in the War of Four Against Five Kings; the conflict during which Lot was abducted, and in the aftermath of which Abraham met Melchizedek (Genesis 14:1).
- The captain of king Nebuchadnezzar's bodyguard, who was assigned to execute all the wise men in Babylon, because they couldn't say what the king had dreamt (Daniel 2:14). Daniel asked Arioch to let him see the king, which he did, and Daniel told Nebuchadnezzar what he had dreamt and what the dream meant. Nebuchadnezzar was so impressed that he not only let all the wise men live, he assigned Daniel as their leader (Daniel 2:48).
🔼Etymology of the name Arioch
The name Arioch is a curious name. It seems like a forced combination of languages. The beginning looks like it has to do with the verb ארה ('ara), meaning to gather or pluck:
The verb ארה ('ara) means to collect, pluck or gather. Nouns ארי ('ari) and אריה ('aryeh) both mean lion, which indicates that in Biblical times lions symbolized any power (individual or national) that plundered, gathered and hoarded. And as always, lions are not intrinsically bad; it all depends on what they gather (and at what cost).
Noun אריה ('urya) means manger or crib, which is a thing around which domesticated animals gather — and that is obviously why mankind's slowly waxing collective wisdom was placed in one by "His" mother.
The second part of the name Arioch, however, doesn't seem to be Hebrew. The wise and venerated theologian Gesenius taught that the וך part is in fact Persian; a common Persian extension that turns a word into an adjective. In Hebrew that device would be the י (yod).
For a meaning of the name Arioch, NOBSE Study Bible Name List reads Lion-like and Jones' Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names proposes The Mighty Lion or Lion-like Man. BDB Theological Dictionary does not translate this name.