Ammon (Hebrew: עַמּוֹן, Modern Ammon,
Tiberian ʻAmmôn; Arabic: عمّون,
translit. ʻAmmūn) was an ancient Semitic-speaking nation
occupying the east of the
Jordan River, between the torrent valleys of
Arnon and Jabbok, in present-day Jordan. The chief city of the
Rabbah or Rabbath Ammon, site of the modern city of Amman,
Jordan's capital. Milcom and Molech (who may be one and the same) are
named in the
Hebrew Bible as the gods of Ammon. The people of this
kingdom are called "Children of Ammon" or "Ammonites".
2 Biblical narrative
6 See also
8 External links
Further information: List of rulers of Ammon
The Ammonites occupied the northern Central Trans-Jordanian Plateau
from the latter part of the second millennium BC to at least the
second century CE.
Ammon maintained its independence from the Assyrian empire through
tribute to the Assyrian king, at a time when nearby kingdoms were
being raided or conquered. Inscriptions describe the Ammonite king
Baasha ben Ruhubi's army fighting alongside
Ahab of Israel and Syrian
Shalmaneser III at the
Battle of Qarqar
Battle of Qarqar in 853 BC,
possibly as vassals of Hadadezer, the Aramaean king of Damascus. In
734 BC the Ammonite king
Sanipu was a vassal of Tiglath-Pileser III,
and Sanipu's successor
Pudu-ilu held the same position under
Sennacherib and Esarhaddon. An Assyrian tribute-list exists from
this period, showing that
Ammon paid one-fifth as much tribute as
Somewhat later, the Ammonite king Amminadab I was among the
tributaries who suffered in the course of the great Arabian campaign
of Assurbanipal. Other kings attested to in contemporary sources
are Barachel (attested to in several contemporary seals) and Hissalel,
the latter of whom reigned about 620 BCE.
Hissalel is mentioned in an
inscription on a bottle found at Tel Siran,
Jordan along with his son,
King Amminadab II, who reigned around 600 BCE.
Archaeology and history indicate that
Ammon flourished during the
Neo-Babylonian Empire period. This contradicts the view, dominant for
decades, that Transjordan was either destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar II,
or suffered a rapid decline following Judah's destruction by that
king. Newer evidence suggests that
Ammon enjoyed continuity from the
Neo-Babylonian to the Persian period.
Little mention is made of the Ammonites through the Persian and early
Hellenistic periods. Their name appears, however,
during the time of the Maccabees. The Ammonites, with some of the
neighboring tribes, did their utmost to resist and check the revival
of the Jewish power under Judas Maccabaeus. The Hasmonean dynast
Hyrcanus founded Qasr Al Abd, and was a descendant of the Seleucid
Tobiad dynasty of Tobiah, who is mentioned by
Nehemiah as an Ammonite
(ii. 19) from the east-Jordanian district.
The last notice of the Ammonites is in Justin Martyr's Dialogue with
Trypho (§ 119), in the second century, where it is affirmed that they
were still a numerous people.
The first mention of the Ammonites in the Bible is in Genesis
19:37-38. It is stated there that they descended from Ben-Ammi, a son
of Lot through incest with his younger daughter. Bén'ámmî,
literally means "son of my people". After the destruction of Sodom and
Gomorrah, the daughters of Lot had sexual relations with their father,
Ammon and his half brother, Moab, being conceived and
born. This narrative has traditionally been considered literal fact,
but is now generally interpreted as recording a gross popular irony by
which the Israelites expressed their loathing of the Moabites and
Ammonites, although it is doubtful that the Israelites would have
directed such irony to Lot himself.
The Ammonites settled to the east of the Jordan, invading the Rephaim
lands east of Jordan, between the
Jabbok and Arnon, dispossessing them
and dwelling in their place. Their territory originally comprising all
Jordan to the wilderness, and from the River
Jabbok south to
the River Arnon. It was accounted a land of giants; and that giants
formerly dwelt in it, whom the Ammonites called "Zomzommims".
Shortly before the Israelite Exodus, the Amorites west of Jordan,
under King Sihon, invaded and occupied a large portion of the
Moab and Ammon. The Ammonites were driven from the rich
lands near the
Jordan and retreated to the mountains and valleys to
the east. The invasion of the Amorites created a wedge and
separated the two kingdoms of
Ammon and Moab.
Throughout the Bible, the Ammonites and Israelites are portrayed as
mutual antagonists. During the Exodus, the Israelites were prohibited
by the Ammonites from passing through their lands. The Ammonites soon
allied themselves with Eglon of
Moab in attacking Israel.
The Ammonites maintained their claim to part of Transjordan, after it
was occupied by the Israelites who obtained it from Sihon. During the
days of Jephthah, the Ammonites occupied the lands east of the River
Jordan and started to invade Israelite lands west of the river.
Jephthah became the leader in resisting these incursions.
The constant harassment of the Israelite communities east of the
Jordan by the Ammonites was the impetus behind the unification of the
tribes under Saul. King
Nahash of Ammon
Nahash of Ammon (c. 1010 – 990 BC)
lay siege to Jabesh-Gilead. Eventually this led to an alliance with
Saul and The Israelites, led by
Saul relieved the siege and defeated
the Ammonite king, eventually resulting in the formation of the
During the reign of King David, the Ammonites humiliated David's
messengers, and hired the Aramean armies to attack Israel. This
eventually ended in a war and a year-long siege of Rabbah, the capital
of Ammon. The war ended with all the Ammonite cities being conquered
and plundered, and the inhabitants being killed or put to forced labor
at David's command.
Arameans of Damascus city-state deprived the Kingdom of
Israel of their possessions east of the Jordan, the Ammonites became
allies of Ben-hadad, and a contingent of 1,000 of them served as
Syria in the great battle of the
Arameans and Assyrians at
Qarqar in 854 BC in the reign of Shalmaneser III.
The Ammonites, Moabites and
Meunim formed a coalition against
Jehoshaphat of Judah. The coalition later was thrown to confusion,
with the armies slaughtering one another. They were subdued and
paid tribute to Jotham.
After submitting to Tiglath-pileser they were generally tributary to
Assyria, but have joined in the general uprising that took place under
Sennacherib; but they submitted and they became tributary in the reign
of Esar-haddon. Their hostility to Judah is shown in their joining the
Chaldeans to destroy it (2 Kings 24:2). Their cruelty is denounced by
the prophet Amos (Amos 1:13), and their destruction (with their return
in the future) by Jeremiah (Jeremiah 49:1–6); Ezekiel (Ezekiel
21:28–32); and Zechariah (Zechariah 2:8, 9). Their murder of
Gedaliah (2 Kings 25:22–26; Jeremiah 40:14) was a dastardly act.
They may have regained their old territory when Tiglath-pileser
carried off the Israelites East of the
Jordan into captivity (2 Kings
15:29; 1 Chronicles 5:26).
Tobiah the Ammonite united with Sanballat to oppose
4), and their opposition to the Jews did not cease with the
establishment of the latter in Judea.
They also joined the Syrians in their wars with the
Maccabees and were
defeated by Judas.
According to both 1 Kings 14:21–31 and 2 Chronicles 12:13, Naamah
was an Ammonite. She was the only wife of King
Solomon to be mentioned
by name in the
Tanakh as having borne a child. She was the mother of
Solomon's successor, Rehoboam.
The Ammonites presented a serious problem to the
many marriages between Israelite men and Ammonite (and Moabite) women
had taken place in the days of Nehemiah. The men had married women
of the various nations without conversion, which made the children not
Jewish. The legitimacy of David's claim to royalty was disputed on
account of his descent from Ruth, the Moabite.
Main article: Ammonite language
The few Ammonite names that have been preserved also include Nahash
and Hanun, both from the Bible. The Ammonites' language is believed
to be in the Canaanite family, closely related to Hebrew and Moabite.
Ammonite may have incorporated certain Aramaic influences, including
the use of ‘bd, instead of commoner Biblical Hebrew ‘śh, for
"work". The only other notable difference with Biblical Hebrew is the
sporadic retention of feminine singular -t (e.g., ’šħt "cistern",
but ‘lyh "high (fem.)".)
The economy, for the most part, was based on agriculture and herding.
Most people lived in small villages surrounded by farms and pastures.
Like its sister-kingdom of Moab,
Ammon was the source of numerous
natural resources, including sandstone and limestone. It had a
productive agricultural sector and occupied a vital place along the
King's Highway, the ancient trade route connecting
Mesopotamia, Syria, and Asia Minor. As with the Edomites and
Moabites, trade along this route gave them considerable revenue. Circa
Ammon showed rising prosperity, due to agriculture and trade,
and built a series of fortresses. Its capital was located in what is
now the Citadel of Amman.
In 1972, during the excavations of a site called Tell Siran in
north-west Amman, an inscription on a bronze bottle of about
10 cm tall was found. Scientific investigation has showed that
the inscription dates back to 600 BC, and later concluded that it was
a lyric poem written in Ammonite language. The poem talks about a
drinking song, roughly translated to:
To the vineyard and the orchard!
Or shall I be left behind and destroyed?
He who says this rejoices and be happy
That life is long
And shall I inflame myself with it and be ruined?
No! It shall make me glad
And bring joy for many days and long years.
Wikimedia Commons has media related to Ammon.
List of rulers of Ammon
Ammon as a name used in the Book of Mormon
Ammon (Book of Mormon explorer)
Ammon (Book of Mormon missionary)
^ "Ancient Texts Relating to the Bible:
Amman Citadel". University of
Southern California. Archived from the original on 26 November 2010.
^ LaBianca, Øystein S.; Younker, Randall W. (1995). "The Kingdoms of
Moab and Edom: The Archaeology of Society in Late Bronze/Iron
Age Transjordan (ca. 1400–500 BCE)". In Levy, Tom. The Archaeology
of Society in the Holy Land. A&C Black. p. 399.
^ a b "The Old Testament Kingdoms of Jordan". Archived from the
original on 6 May 2009. Retrieved 2009-05-12.
^ a b c d e One or more of the preceding
sentences incorporates text from a publication now in the public
domain: Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Ammonites". Encyclopædia
Britannica. 1 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press.
^ See Schrader, K.A.T. pp. 141 et seq.; Delitzsch, Paradies, p. 294;
Winckler, Geschichte Israels, p. 215.
^ Barstad, Hans M (18 February 2012). "The City State of Jerusalem in
the Neo-Babylonian Empire: Evidence from the Surrounding States". In
John J. Ahn; Jill Middlemas. By the Irrigation Canals of Babylon:
Approaches to the Study of the Exile. Bloomsbury Publishing.
pp. 42–44. ISBN 978-0-567-19775-7.
Maccabees 5:6; cf.
Jewish Antiquities xii. 8. 1.
^ St. Justin Martyr. "Dialogue with Trypho". Early Christian Writings.
Peter Kirby. Retrieved 27 June 2016.
^ a b c "www.Bibler.org - Dictionary - Ammon". 2012-06-15.
^ Mirabeau, Honoré (1867). Erotika Biblion. Chevalier de Pierrugues.
Chez tous les Libraries.
^ a b c Fenlon, John Francis. "Ammonites." The Catholic Encyclopedia
Vol. 1. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1907. 14 April 2016
^ 1 Chronicles 20:3
^ 2 Chronicles 20:1
^ 2 Chronicles 27:5
^ "Naama". The Jewish Encyclopedia. Archived from the original on 13
August 2007. Retrieved 2007-08-05.
^ The identity of those particular tribes had been lost during the
mixing of the nations caused by the conquests of Assyria. As a result,
people from those nations were treated as complete gentiles and could
convert without restriction.
^ According to Babylonian Talmud,
Doeg the Edomite was the source of
this dispute. He claimed that since
David was descended from someone
who was not allowed to marry into the community, his male ancestors
were no longer part of the tribe of Judah (which was the tribe the
King had to belong to). As a result, he could neither be the king, nor
could he marry any Jewish woman (since he descended from a Moabite
convert). The Prophet
Samuel wrote the Book of Ruth in order to remind
the people of the original law that women from
allowed to convert and marry into the Jewish people
^ Cohen, D (ed) (1988). "Les Langues Chamito-semitiques". Les langues
dans le monde ancien et modern, part 3. Paris: CNRS. CS1 maint:
Extra text: authors list (link) Aufrecht, WE (1989). A Corpus of
Ammonite Inscriptions. Lewiston: E. Mellen Press.
^ Younker, Randall W. (1999). "Review of Archaeological Research in
Ammon". In Burton MacDonald; Randall W. Younker. Ancient Ammon. BRILL.
p. 1–. ISBN 978-90-04-10762-5.
^ "The Tell Siran inscription. Linguistic and historical implications"
(PDF). EJ Smit. Potche£stroom University. Retrieved 2015-10-09.
This article incorporates text from a publication now in the
public domain: Easton, Matthew George (1897). "Ammon". Easton's
Bible Dictionary (New and revised ed.). T. Nelson and Sons.
This article incorporates text from a publication now in
the public domain: Singer, Isidore; et al., eds. (1901–1906).
"Ammon, Ammonites". Jewish Encyclopedia. New York: Funk & Wagnalls
Hertz J.H. (1936) The Pentateuch and Haftoras. "Deuteronomy." Oxford
University Press, London.
Ammon on Bruce Gordon's Regnal Chronologies (also at )
Ancient states and regions in the history of the Levant
Israel and Judah