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Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible


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MAMMON. This is a Semitic word, but of doubtful derivation. It has been referred to Heb. aman , ‘a reliable (store),’ and to taman ( t being elided), ‘hidden treasure.’ Augustine ( Serm. on Mount ) says it was the name for ‘riches’ among the Hebrews, and that the Phœenician agrees, for ‘gain’ in Phœnician is called mammon . Phœnician and Hebrew were near akin, and the ancients often included Aramaic in Hebrew. ‘Mammon’ is not found in OT Hebrew, but occurs in Rabbinical, in Syriac (Western Aramaic), and is used in the Aramaic Targums as the equivalent of Heb. terms for ‘gain’ or ‘wealth.’ Being a well-known Phœn. trade word, it is introduced without translation (unlike corban , etc.) into NT Greek, where the right spelling is mamônas ( Matthew 6:24 , Luke 16:9 ; Luke 16:11 ; Luke 16:13 ); with this agrees the Syriac form momûna . A Phœn. deity, Mamon, has been supposed. Though not improbable, the idea seems due to Milton ( P.L . i. 679 ff.). ‘Serve God and mammon’ suggests personification, but compare the phraseology of Philippians 3:19 .

G. H. Gwilliam.

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Bibliography Information
Hastings, James. Entry for 'Mammon'. Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible. 1909.

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