🔼The name Arni: Summary
- Pertaining To The Ark
- From the name Aram, from the verb רום (rum), to be high.
- From the noun ארון ('aron), box, Ark.
🔼The name Arni in the Bible
The name Arni occurs in Luke 3:33, but only in some versions of the Greek text and then only in place of Aram or Ram (as per the original of the name list in Ruth 4:19-20). This curious name Arni occurs together with Admin, which is another name of mysterious origin, and some scholars have proposed that the whole jumbled mess is due to careless scribes and drifting margins and such. Here at Abarim Publications we suspect there's more deliberation, care and creativity involved.
🔼Etymology of the name Arni
The name Arni could probably pass for a variant of the name Aram in some local dialect: in Hebrew, an ethnonym is an adjective that derives from a toponym by adding a י (yod). By the time of Jesus, the Jews spoke Aramaic and the Arameans often stuck a prosthetic א (aleph) in front of words, which pretty much equates Ram and Aram. Both these names come from the verb רום (rum) be high or high up:
The verb רום (rum) means to be high or high up in either a physical, social or even attitudinal sense, and may also refer to the apex in a natural process: the being ripe and ready-for-harvest of fruits. Subsequently, our verb may imply a state beyond ripe (higher than ripe, overripe), which thus refers to rotting and being maggot riddled. This means that to the ancients, higher did not simply mean better, and an arrogant political status that was higher than it should be equaled rot and worms (Acts 12:23).
Derived nouns, such as רום (rum) and related forms such as רמה (rama), describe height or pride. Noun רמות (ramut) describes some high thing. The noun ארמון ('armon) refers to a society's apex: a citadel or palace. The noun ראם (re'em) describes the wild ox, which was named possibly for the same reason why we moderns call a rising market a "bull" market. The similar verb ראם (ra'am) means to rise.
The important noun רמון (rimmon) means pomegranate and the pomegranate became the symbol for harvest-ready fruit (see our full dictionary article for more on this). Overripe items might suffer the noun רמה (rimma), worm or maggot, or the verb רמם (ramam), to be wormy.
However, in our article on the other mystery name, Admin, we establish that Admin (and Arni) were roughly contemporaries of Moses. The name Admin means Ruddy and relates to Israel's crossing of the Red Sea as well as the ruddy appearance of Esau. The latter moved into the land of Seir, whose grandson was named Aran (ארן), which is not dissimilar to our name Arni. But this name Aran, in turn, is not dissimilar to the word ארון ('aron), which means box and specifically designates the Ark of the Covenant:
The cheerful verb רנן (ranan) means to produce a ringing cry, either out of joyous cheer, distress or to introduce a declaration of some sort. Nouns רן (ron), רנה (rinna) and רננה (renana) all describe ringing cries. Plural noun רננים (renanim) refers to birds that deliver piercing cries.
The unused verb ארן ('aran) appears to have meant to be nimble, agile, or even high up or aroused, and in cognate languages it yields a noun for a kind of wild mountain goat. The indeed Biblical noun ארן ('oren) means fir or cedar.
The noun ארון ('aron) is the word that is usually translated with Ark (that is the Ark of the Covenant, not the Ark of Noah). But this noun is also used for the coffin in which Joseph's bones were repatriated, or the chest in the temple in which money was collected.
It's not clear whether these boxes were known from the wood they were made of (namely the sprightly fir or cedar), caused society to be nimble, agile or elevated, or perhaps because these boxes were designed to exist within a collective verbal expression from bystanders (after the verb רנן, ranan).
The name Arni means Aramean. But it also means Pertaining To The Ark.