WHAT DOES “IN ARRAY” MEAN?
by Shawn Brasseaux
We wish to concentrate on the synonymous phrases “put… in array” and “set… in array.” Such an expression appears 25 times in the Authorized Version, and always with regards to conflict or war. Our memory hint is “arrangement,” as in an impressive formation or configuration of troops strategically placed on the battlefield and awaiting orders to strike opposing forces. Similar terms are “environ” and “fetch a compass” (see studies at the end of this article).
- Judges chapter 20: “ And the men of Israel went out to battle against Benjamin; and the men of Israel put themselves in array to fight against them at Gibeah….  And the people the men of Israel encouraged themselves, and set their battle again in array in the place where they put themselves in array the first day….  And the children of Israel went up against the children of Benjamin on the third day, and put themselves in array against Gibeah, as at other times….  And all the men of Israel rose up out of their place, and put themselves in array at Baaltamar: and the liers in wait of Israel came forth out of their places, even out of the meadows of Gibeah.”
- 1 Samuel 4:2: “And the Philistines put themselves in array against Israel: and when they joined battle, Israel was smitten before the Philistines: and they slew of the army in the field about four thousand men.”
- 1 Samuel chapter 17: “ And Saul and the men of Israel were gathered together, and pitched by the valley of Elah, and set the battle in array against the Philistines….  And he stood and cried unto the armies of Israel, and said unto them, Why are ye come out to set your battle in array? am not I a Philistine, and ye servants to Saul? choose you a man for you, and let him come down to me….  For Israel and the Philistines had put the battle in array, army against army.”
- 2 Samuel chapter 10: “ And the children of Ammon came out, and put the battle in array at the entering in of the gate: and the Syrians of Zoba, and of Rehob, and Ishtob, and Maacah, were by themselves in the field.  When Joab saw that the front of the battle was against him before and behind, he chose of all the choice men of Israel, and put them in array against the Syrians:….  And the rest of the people he delivered into the hand of Abishai his brother, that he might put them in array against the children of Ammon….  And when it was told David, he gathered all Israel together, and passed over Jordan, and came to Helam. And the Syrians set themselves in array against David, and fought with him.”
- 1 Kings 20:12: “And it came to pass, when Ben-hadad heard this message, as he was drinking, he and the kings in the pavilions, that he said unto his servants, Set yourselves in array. And they set themselves in array against the city.”
- 1 Chronicles chapter 19: “ And the children of Ammon came out, and put the battle in array before the gate of the city: and the kings that were come were by themselves in the field.  Now when Joab saw that the battle was set against him before and behind, he chose out of all the choice of Israel, and put them in array against the Syrians.  And the rest of the people he delivered unto the hand of Abishai his brother, and they set themselves in array against the children of Ammon….  And it was told David; and he gathered all Israel, and passed over Jordan, and came upon them, and set the battle in array against them. So when David had put the battle in array against the Syrians, they fought with him.”
- 2 Chronicles 13:3: “And Abijah set the battle in array with an army of valiant men of war, even four hundred thousand chosen men: Jeroboam also set the battle in array against him with eight hundred thousand chosen men, being mighty men of valour.”
- 2 Chronicles 14:10: “Then Asa went out against him, and they set the battle in array in the valley of Zephathah at Mareshah.”
- Job 6:4: “For the arrows of the Almighty are within me, the poison whereof drinketh up my spirit: the terrors of God do set themselves in array against me.” (Here, suffering Job wrongly assumes God is at war with him.)
- Isaiah 22:7: “And it shall come to pass, that thy choicest valleys shall be full of chariots, and the horsemen shall set themselves in array at the gate.”
- Jeremiah 6:23: “They shall lay hold on bow and spear; they are cruel, and have no mercy; their voice roareth like the sea; and they ride upon horses, set in array as men for war against thee, O daughter of Zion.”
- Jeremiah chapter 50: “ For, lo, I will raise and cause to come up against Babylon an assembly of great nations from the north country: and they shall set themselves in array against her; from thence she shall be taken: their arrows shall be as of a mighty expert man; none shall return in vain….  Put yourselves in array against Babylon round about: all ye that bend the bow, shoot at her, spare no arrows: for she hath sinned against the LORD….  They shall hold the bow and the lance: they are cruel, and will not shew mercy: their voice shall roar like the sea, and they shall ride upon horses, every one put in array, like a man to the battle, against thee, O daughter of Babylon.”