Reader David asked me if there is any connection between arak ערק - "deserted", orek עורק - "artery" (also in botany "vein") and the anise flavored alcoholic drink arak.
The first word he asked about is a little more complicated, so let's skip it for now. Actually, let's start with the last. The source of the name of the drink is from the Arabic araq - meaning "to sweat" or "to water" (as in to water down a drink). This also may be the origin of the name of the Mesopotamian country Iraq:
often said to be from Arabic `araqa, covering notions such as "perspiring, deeply rooted, well-watered," which may reflect the impression the lush river-land made on desert Arabs.
It also may be the source of the herb "borage":
flowering plant used in salads, mid-13c., from Anglo-French, Old French borage (13c., Modern French bourrache), from Medieval Latin borrago. Klein says this is ultimately from Arabic abu arak, literally "the father of sweat," so called by Arab physicians for its effect on humans.
(There are alternate etymologies to both words - see the links to the Online Etymology Dictionary).
Stahl (in his etymological dictionary of Arabic) says that this root also gives us the Arabic word 'irq, meaning vein or artery, since they transfer fluids in the body. The Arabic is cognate with the Hebrew orek, of which Klein says also originally meant "sinew".
The difficult word is the one meaning "to flee" (in Modern Hebrew it came to mean "to desert", particularly from the army. I assume this is because there already was a word - barach ברח, meaning "to flee"). Arak clearly had that meaning in Aramaic, where it was used to translate Hebrew words, as in Onkelos on Shmot 21:13). What's less clear is what it means in the two occasions it appears in the Tanach, both in chapter 30 of Iyov.
Verse three reads: