QUESTION: In Melachim where Shlomo Ha Melech’s throne is described – there is a plural form of Ari used “arieem”. This is not the normal plural form – usually it’s “ariot”. I have asked other Rebbeim this question and no one knows the reason. Any ideas? I don’t think this plural form “arieem” is used anywhere else…
This is what I’ve found: I Kgs. 10:20 says ariim, but in II Chron. 9:19 it says arayos. And both places are talking about the same “lions” on Solomon’s throne.
Rav Moshe Dovid Valle (in Kisai Nachon to Kgs) seems to explain that it uses the word ariim to stress that the twelve lions were male lions, as opposed to the two lionesses mentioned in the passuk before. In Divrei HaYamim, Rabbi Valle doesn’t say anything.
Rav Reuven Margolis in his commentary to the Zohar (Nitzotzeti Zohr to Bereieshis 247b) suggests that perhaps in Solomon’s Throne, there weren’t literally just lions, there were all sorts of lion-like predator animals that claw and attack. He explains that they might be included in the term ariim which is different from arayot in that it doesn’t just include lions, but also other lion-like animals, like wolves.
Rav Dovid Cohen (from Brooklyn) in Ohel Dovid to Kgs. suggests based on Rashi to Jud. 10:4 that arayos are bigger lions, and ariim are smaller lions. The same suggestion is made by the Maskillic scholar Ludwig Philloppson.