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Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature


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(μαμμωνᾶς or μαμωνᾶς, from the Chald. מָמוֹן or מָמוֹנָא, that in which one trusts; see Buxtorf, Lex. Chald. col. 1217 sq.), a term pre-eminently, by a technical and invidious usage (see Suidas in his Lex. s.v.), "signifying wealth or riches, and bearing that sense in Luke 16:9; Luke 16:11; but also used by our Savior (Matthew 6:24; Luke 16:13) as a personification of the god of riches: Ye cannot serve God and Mammon.' Gill, on Matthew 6:24, brings a very apt quotation from the Talmud Hieros. (Yoma, fol. 38), in confirmation of the character which Christ in these passages gives of the Jews in his day: We know that they believed in the law, and took care of the commandments, and of the tithes, and that their whole conversation was good only that they loved the Mammon, and hated one another without cause." "The word often occurs in the Chaldee Targums of Onkelos, and later writers, and in the Syriac Version, in the sense of riches.' This meaning of the word is given by Tertullian, Adv. Marc. 4:33, and by Augustine and Jerome commenting on Matthew. Augustine adds that it was in use as a Punic, and Jerome adds that it was a Syriac word. There is no reason to suppose that any idol received divine honors in the East under this name. It is used in Matthew as a personification of riches. The derivation of the word is discussed by A. Pfeiffer, Opera, p. 474." The phrase "mammon of unrighteousness" as used in Luke 16:9, probably refers to gain which is too often unjustly acquired (as by the publicans), but which may be sanctified by charity and piety so as to become a passport, in some sense, to final blessedness. See Grunenberg, De mammona iniquitatis (Jen. 1700); Wakins, De μαμ . ἀδικίας (Jen. 1701). In Rabbinical language the word is used to denote confidence.

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Bibliography Information
McClintock, John. Strong, James. Entry for 'Mammon'. Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature. Harper & Brothers. New York. 1870.

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