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Several translation of 1 Kings 18:33 (ESV, RSV, KJV, etc.) say "And he put the wood in order..." What was the "order" spoken of here? Similarly, Genesis 22:9 also speaks of putting wood "in order" in preparation for the planned sacrifice of Isaac.

Was there a specific order in which to position the wood for sacrificial offerings or something?

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    A better translation may be "Hearranged the wood ..." No particular order implied. – Dick Harfield Oct 10 '15 at 7:50
  • Welcome to Stack Exchange, we are glad you are here. Please consider registering an account to fully take advantage of what this site has to offer. Also, be sure to check out the site tour to learn what we are about... I have given your question a bit of an edit to make it more clearly on-topic and less leading. Feel free to re-edit if this does not accurately capture your intent. – ThaddeusB Oct 10 '15 at 16:50
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The Hebrew is ערך and whilst it has a wide semantic domain the basic idea behind the term is arrangement or setting up1, the term does not, therefore, necessitate that wood for the burning of the sacrifice had to set up in a special way, but simply that it needed to be set up. The NET captures this meaning well;

1 Kings 18:33 He arranged the wood, cut up the bull, and placed it on the wood. (NET)


Notes 1†עָרַךְ S6186 TWOT1694 GK6885 vb. arrange or set in order (NH id.; also roll dough, 𝔗 עֲרַךְ id.; Ph. ערכת CISNo. 132, 4 valuation, Bloch, but dub.; Arabic عَرَكَ (ʿaraka) III. contend in battle, مَعْرَكٌ, مَعْرَكَةٌ (maʿrakun, maʿrakatun), battle-ground);—Qal Pf. 3 ms. ע׳ Jb 32:14; 2 Ch 13:3, וְע׳ consec. Lv 1:12; 6:5; עָרַכְתִּי Nu 23:4 +, etc.; Impf. 3 ms. יַעֲרֹךְ Ex 27:21 +, etc.; Imv. עֶרְכָה Jb 33:5, עִרְכוּ Je 46:3; 50:14 (Ges§ 481); Inf. abs. עָרֹךְ Is 21:5; cstr. עֲרךְ Ju 20:22 +; Pt. act. pl. עֹרְכִים Is 65:11, etc.; pass. עָרוּךְ Je 6:23 +, cstr. עֱרוּךְ Jo 2:5 (Ges§ 22.4.2); not in D; 1. a. arrange in order, seven altars Nu 23:4, i.e. I have built seven altars in a row (cf. בנה v 1), flax-stalks Jos 2:6 (both JE); especially b. set or lay in order, as wood Gn 22:9 (E), 1 K 18:33, cf. Tophet Is 30:33; Lv 1:7; offerings Lv 1:8, 12; 6:5; lamp(s) Ex 27:21; Lv 24:3, 4 (all P), lamp (fig. of dynasty) ψ 132:17; ‘shew’-bread Ex 40:4, 23 (upon [עַל] sacred שֻׁלְחָן; both c. acc. cogn.), Lv 24:8 (P). c. in common life (cf. RSSem i. 183 f., 2nd ed. 200 f.), arrange a table (i.e. dishes in order upon it), שֻׁלְחָן Is 21:5 Pr 9:2 (fig. of wisdom), Ez 23:41 (of Jerus. in fig.); ψ 23:5; 78:19 (fig.; subj. God); in idolatr. worship Is 65:11. d. arrange a battle, i.e. draw up in battle order, ע׳ מִלְחָמָה Ju 20:22; 1 S 17:8; 2 S 10:8 = 1 Ch 19:9; 1 Ch 12:37 (van d. H. v 36); 2 Ch 14:9; עֹרְכֵי מִלְחָמָה 1 Ch 12:34, 36 (van d. H. v 33, 35); עֱרוּךְ מ׳ Jo 2:5; + אֵת with, i.e. against Ju 20:20 Gn 14:8, עִם 2 Ch 13:3; + לִקְרַאת 1 S 17:2; 1 Ch 19:17b; ע׳ מַעֲרָכָה לִקְרַאת 1 S 17:21; עָרוּךְ כְּאִישׁ לַמִּלְחָמָה Je 6:23; 50:42; obj. om. Ju 20:22, 33, + לִקְרַאת 1 S 4:2; 2 S 10:9, 10 = 1 Ch 19:10, 11; 2 S 10:17; + אֶל against Ju 20:30; 1 Ch 19:17, + על Je 50:14, לְ against Je 50:9;—Jb 6:4 read יַעַכְרוּנִי Di Bu Du e. arrange weapons of army in order for battle Je 46:3; 1 Ch 12:9 (van d. H. v 8). f. arrange words (מִלִּין) Jb 32:14 ( + אֶל against), so (obj. om.) 33:5 ( + לְפָנַי), 37:19 ψ 5:4 (prob.; > of arranging a sacrifice); cf. recount things in order, יַעְרְכֶהָ לִי Is 44:7. g. state in order, set forth a legal case Jb 13:18; 23:4, so prob. (obj. om.) of God ψ 50:21 ( + לְעֵינֶיךָ), and (pass. of בְּרִית) 2 S 23:5 (cf. Dr).—הֲיַעֲרֹךְ שׁועך Jb 36:19 is difficult: Di will he set thy cry (שַׁוְעֲךָ) in order? Bi (for לֹא) הֲיֵעָרֵךְ שׁ׳ לוֹ shall thy cry be set in order unto him? (sense good, although Niph. not found); v. al. in Di 2. a. compare (as result of arranging in order): מַה־דְּמוּת תַּע׳־לוֹ Is 40:18 what likeness will ye compare to him? אֵין עֲרֹךְ אֵלֶיךָ ψ 40:6. b. intrans. be comparable, c. לְ, ψ 89:7 (|| דָּמָה), c. sf. of thing compared Jb 28:17, 19.[Brown, F., Driver, S. R., & Briggs, C. A. (1977). Enhanced Brown-Driver-Briggs Hebrew and English Lexicon (p. 789). Oxford: Clarendon Press.]

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    I don't know. There was an order for the tabernacle. There was an order for creation. There was an order for battle. Everything seems to be ordered in the Bible. Just seems that there would be an order. Like a Jewish custom. – ScottieB Oct 10 '15 at 13:33
  • And Rahab 'ordered' the flax on here roof - words have semantic domains and when we loose sight of that we read meanings into them that context does not support. Nowhere does the bible prescribe a special way to set up wood for sacrificial roasting. – Jonathan Chell Oct 11 '15 at 8:00

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