Encyclopedia Masonica

Pledge, covenant, agreement. Latin, Arrhabo, a token or pledge. Hebrew, Arab, pronounced aw-rab, which is the root of Arubbah, pronounced ar-oob-baw, surety, hostage. This important word, in the Fourteenth Degree of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite, is used when the initiate partakes of the Ancient Aroba, the pledge or covenant of friendship, by eating and drinking with his new companions. The expression is of greater import than that implied in mere hospitality. The word aroba appears nowhere in English works, and seems to have been omitted by Masonic writers.

The root arab is one of the oldest in the Hebrew language, and means to interweave or to mingle, to exehange, to become surety for anyone, and to pledge even the life of one person for another, or the strongest pledge that can be given. Judah pleads with Israel to let Benjamin go with him to be presented in Egypt to Joseph, as the latter had requested. He says:

"Send the lad with me; I will be surety for him" (Genesis xliii, 9) ; and before Joseph he makes the same remark in Genesis (xliv, 32). Job (xvii, 3), appealing to God, says: "Put me in a surety with thee ; who is he that will strike hands with me?" (see also First Samuel xvii, 18). In its pure form, the word arubbah occurs only once in the Old Testament (Proverbs xvii, 18) : "A man void of understanding striketh hands, and becometh surety in the presence of his friend." In Latin, Plautus makes use of the following phrase : Hunc arrhabonem amoris a me accipe, meaning Accept from me this pledge of love, or more freely, Accept this pledge of my love.

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The Encyclopedia Masonica exists to preserve the wealth of information that has been generated over the centuries by numerous Masonic authors. As Freemasonry is now Speculative and not Operative, the work of a Mason is now conducted in the quarries of symbolism, literature, history and scholasticism. Freemasonry encourages intellectual exploration and academic achievement in its members and many Masons over the years have taken up this calling. The result has been that an incredible amount of philosophy, symbolic speculation and academic insights have been created. However, as Freemasonry teaches, human knowledge is frail and fragile. It is easily lost in the turnings of the ages and unforeseen catastrophes can result in great setbacks to human knowledge.

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