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Bridgeway Bible Dictionary


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In the tableland region east of the Jordan River were the sister nations of Ammon and Moab. They were descended from the two daughters of Lot, and therefore were related to Israel (Genesis 19:36-38). The chief city of Ammon was Rabbah, or Rabbath-Ammon (now known as Amman, capital of the present-day nation of Jordan) (Deuteronomy 3:11; 2 Samuel 12:26). The national god of Ammon was Molech, or Milcom (1 Kings 11:5; 1 Kings 11:7; see MOLECH).

National history

Ammon was a well watered region to the east of the Jordan River, with a number of streams that flowed through deep gorges into the Jordan. The most important of these streams was the Jabbok.

In the days before Israel’s migration to Canaan, the Ammonites were pushed further east, away from the Jordan, by the Amorites. The Amorites overran all the land bordering the Jordan, from Bashan in the north to the Dead Sea in the south. Israel in turn conquered the Amorites, took the land for itself and divided it among the tribes of Reuben, Gad and half of Manasseh (Numbers 21:13; Numbers 21:24-26; Numbers 21:32-35; Numbers 32:1-5; Joshua 13:8-12).

God approved of the Israelites’ conquest of this territory, for they had taken it not from the Ammonites, who were related to them, but from the Amorites, who were under God’s judgment (Deuteronomy 2:17-19; Deuteronomy 2:37; Deuteronomy 3:1-11; Judges 11:12-23; see AMORITES). Therefore, when the Ammonites tried to repossess the area during the time of the judges, God used Jephthah to drive them out (Judges 10:6-9; Judges 11:32-33).

With the changes that accompanied Saul’s appointment as Israel’s first king, the Ammonites seized the opportunity to invade Israel’s eastern territory once more; but they were soon driven out (1 Samuel 11:1-11). There were good relations between Ammon and Israel for much of David’s reign, but when a new Ammonite king became aggressive, David’s army drove the attackers back (2 Samuel 10:1-14). When there was another attack the next year, David invaded Ammon, captured Rabbah, took control of the nation and forced the Ammonite people to work for Israel (2 Samuel 11:1; 2 Samuel 12:26-31).

David’s successor, Solomon, took Ammonite women into his harem and worshipped the gods they brought with them (1 Kings 11:1; 1 Kings 11:5; 1 Kings 11:7; 1 Kings 11:33). Solomon’s son and successor, Rehoboam, was half-Ammonite, being the son of one of Solomon’s Ammonite wives (1 Kings 14:21).

Ammon had repeated conflicts with Israel and Judah over the next two hundred years (2 Chronicles 20:10-11; 2 Chronicles 26:8; 2 Chronicles 27:5). When Assyria conquered Israel and took its people into captivity (722 BC), Ammon again took the opportunity to seize some of Israel’s eastern territory. But the Ammonites’ violence, cruelty and arrogance were inexcusable, and God’s prophets assured them of a fitting punishment (Jeremiah 49:1-6; Amos 1:13-15; Zephaniah 2:8-11). The Ammonites also joined the attackers to help with the final destruction of Judah, but their treachery only made their own destruction more certain (2 Kings 24:1-2; Jeremiah 40:13-14; Jeremiah 41:1-3; Jeremiah 41:10; Ezekiel 25:1-7).

As a result of conquests, first by Babylon and then by Persia, the nation of Ammon ceased to exist. Individual Ammonites continued to be a source of trouble to the Jews (Nehemiah 2:10; Nehemiah 4:7-9), but eventually the separate racial identity of the Ammonites disappeared.

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These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of Used by Permission.

Bibliography Information
Fleming, Don. Entry for 'Ammon'. Bridgeway Bible Dictionary. 2004.

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