The fertility of the original languages in synonyms and varied shades of meaning is seen by the fact that 20 Hebrew and 12 Greek words are represented by this single term. An analysis of these words shows that "company" is both an indefinite and limitless term, signifying few or many, and all kinds of assemblages of people, e.g.:

(1) Caravan,

(a) migratory (Isaiah 21:13 the King James Version);

(b) commercial (Genesis 37:25 the King James Version); Job 6:19, "The companies of Sheba waited (in vain) for them."

(2) Military, gedhudh, "troop," hamon, 2 Chronicles 20:12; ro'sh, "head," "detachment"; Judges 7:16,20:

"three companies"; Judges 9:34,37,43: "four companies."

(3) Band (chebher) or "gang," as rendered by Keil and Delitzsch; a gang of murderous priests (Hosea 6:9).

(4) Camp or encampment (Genesis 32:8,21; 50:9).

(5) Religious body, "company of prophets" (1 Samuel 19:20).

(6) Assembly, congregation, "company of nations" (Genesis 35:11; Ezekiel 38:4,7,13,15).

(7) A tumultuous crowd (2 Kings 9:17).

(8) Associate, companion, often with reference to moral affinity (Job 34:8; Proverbs 29:3; Acts 10:28), kollaomai, "to glue or cement together," indicative of the binding power of moral affinity (the Revised Version (British and American) "to join himself"); as a verb, to "company with" or "keep company" (Acts 1:21; 1 Corinthians 5:9,11; 2 Thessalonians 3:14). In Apocrypha in the sense of "to cohabit" (Susanna 1:54,57,58).

(9) A host. "Great was the company," etc. (Psalms 68:11 the Revised Version (British and American) "The women .... are a great host"). In the East it is the women who celebrate victories with song and dance (see 1 Samuel 18:6,7).

(10) A chorus, dance (mecholah). "The company of two armies" (Song of Solomon 6:13 the King James Version; the Revised Version (British and American) "the dance of Mahanaim").

(11) Meal party, klisia, "a reclining company at meals." "Make them sit down (Greek "recline") in companies" (Luke 9:14). Compare "companion," from Latin com, "together," and panis, "bread."

(12) A myriad, a ten-thousand, an indefinite number (murias; Hebrews 12:22 (the Revised Version (British and American) "hosts")).

(13) Companions on a journey, sunodia, "a journeying together" (Luke 2:44).

(14) Signifying kinship of spirit, idios, "one's own." "They came to their own company" (Acts 4:23).

(15) A mob (Acts 17:5 (the Revised Version (British and American) "a crowd")).

Dwight M. Pratt

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These files are public domain.

Bibliography Information
Orr, James, M.A., D.D. General Editor. "Entry for 'COMPANY'". "International Standard Bible Encyclopedia". 1915.