🔼The name Aroer: Summary
- Accumulation, Stripped
- From the verb ערר ('arar), to strip and accumulate.
🔼The name Aroer in the Bible
There are three towns with the name Aroer mentioned in the Bible:
- An Amorite city on the edge of the valley of the Arnon valley. Sihon the king of the Amorites ruled from Aroer, but was defeated by Moses (Deuteronomy 2:36). When Canaan was divided among the tribes, this Aroer came to be in the territory of Reuben (Joshua 13:16). The father of two of David's mighty-men was an ערערי (Aroerite), and scholars assume he came from this town (1 Chronicles 11:44). In Judges 11:26 this town is referred to as ערעור (Aror)
- A city built by the tribe of Dan (Numbers 32:34, spelled ערער).
- A city in Judah to which David sends gifts from the spoil acquired from the Amalekites who had raided his camp in Ziklag, while he was out meeting the Philistines (1 Samuel 30:28).
🔼Etymology of the name Aroer
The name Aroer comes from the verb ערר ('arar), meaning to accumulate and make bare:
The root ערר ('arar) describes an accumulation in one place that results in an emptiness or barrenness everywhere else — both cities and clouds form from this principle, and indeed any sort of commercial or intellectual fortune. Adjectives ערירי ('ariri) and ערער ('ar'ar) mean stripped, childless or destitute. Noun מערה (me'ara) literally means "place of being stripped" and is the Bible's common word for cave. Noun ערוער ('aro'er) denotes some kind of tree or bush (probably one without leaves).
Noun עיר ('ir) is the Bible's common word for city, which constitutes an accumulation of people and goods, usually in the middle of a wide area without remaining trees. Noun עיר ('ayir) came to specifically denote the wild ass, but apparently stems from the more common behavior of standing around in clusters in the middle of a field that's been grazed clean (in other languages this word also denotes gazelles and such).
Verb עור ('awar) means to be or make blind, and blindness occurs most commonly due to a cataract (which looks like a skin forming over the eye, and is due to a cloudy accumulation of protein in the ocular lens). Adjective עור ('iwwer) means blind. Nouns עורון ('iwwaron) and עורת ('awweret) mean blindness.
Verb עור ('ur I) means to rouse oneself — literally to collect and bundle one's feelings. Noun עיר ('ir) means excitement.
Identical verb עור ('ur II) means to be exposed or laid bare. Noun מעור (ma'or) means nakedness and noun מערם (ma'arom) means naked one. Adjectives עירם ('erom), ערם ('erom), ערום ('arom) and ערם ('arom) mean naked. Noun עור ('or) means skin or hide.
Verb ערה ('ara) also means to be naked or bare. Nouns ערה ('ara), מערה (ma'ara) and מער (ma'ar) refer to bare or exposed places. Nouns ערוה ('erwa) and עריה ('erya) mean nakedness or exposure. Noun תער (ta'ar) denotes a thing that makes bare: a razor or sheath of a sword.
For a meaning of the name Aroer, NOBSE Study Bible Name List reads Naked and Jones' Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names proposes Heath or A Naked Tree. BDB Theological Dictionary does not translate this name.