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International Standard Bible Encyclopedia (1915)

kum’-pa-ni: 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 (Isa 21:13 the King James Version);

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

(2) Military, gedhudh, "troop," hamon, 2Ch 20:12; ro’sh, "head," "detachment"; Jud 7:16,20: "three companies"; Jud 9:34,37,43: "four companies."

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

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

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

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

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

(8) Associate, companion, often with reference to moral affinity (Job 34:8; Pr 29:3; Ac 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" (Ac 1:21; 1Co 5:9,11; 2Th 3:14). In Apocrypha in the sense of "to cohabit" (Susanna 1:54,57,58).

(9) A host. "Great was the company," etc. (Ps 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 1Sa 18:6,7).

(10) A chorus, dance (mecholah). "The company of two armies" (So 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" (Lu 9:14). Compare "companion," from Latin com, "together," and panis, "bread."

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

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

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

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

Dwight M. Pratt