Abarim Publications' online Biblical Hebrew Dictionary
The wonderful root-verb אמן ('aman) reflects certainty in various forms and nuances. It's either used to convey or describe trustworthiness or faithfulness of either a person (1 Samuel 2:35, Isaiah 8:2) or something someone is saying (Genesis 42:20, 1 Kings 8:26), or it describes stability or continuity of various facets of a person's identity, such as his name (1 Chronicles 17:24), his house or dynasty (1 Samuel 2:35), his general position in this world (Isaiah 22:23), or even chronic diseases he might have (Deuteronomy 28:59).
Often our verb occurs in the sense of having faith (Exodus 4:31, Isaiah 7:9), and sometimes this verb is used in the sense of literally upholding, nourishing or carrying a child (Numbers 11:12, Ruth 4:16, 2 Kings 10:1). In 2 Kings 18:16 our verb is used to state how pillars or posts support a door.
Noteworthy wordplay occurs in Isaiah 7:9 (אם לא תאמינו לא תאמנו, literally meaning: if no believing, then no perpetuity) and 2 Chronicles 20:10 (האמינו ביהוה ותאמנו, meaning the faith in YHWH results in perpetuity; also see our article on the Greek word πιστις, pistis, meaning "faith").
This verb yields the following derivatives:
- The masculine noun אמן ('omen), meaning faithfulness (Isaiah 25:1 only).
- The adverb אמן ('amen), which is probably the best known Hebrew word in the world, as it nowadays is used as the send-button of a prayer; our word Amen, meaning verily or truly. In the Old Testament it occurs sporadically (1 Kings 1:36, 1 Chronicles 16:36, Nehemiah 5:13); the brilliant poet Isaiah even speaks of אלהי אמן (e'lhy 'mn), meaning the God of Amen, or the God of Truth (Isaiah 65:16). In the New Testament this word occurs mostly as assent to a prayer or to verify the truth of a statement (Romans 9:5, 1 Corinthians 14:16, John 3:3, Revelation 1:7).
- The masculine noun אמן ('omman), denoting a skilled or "true" worker; someone who either is well established, has a lot of experience, or can be trusted to do an excellent job (Exodus 28:11 and Song of Solomon 7:1 only).
- The masculine noun אמן ('emun), meaning trusting or faithfulness (Deuteronomy 32:20, Proverbs 13:17).
- The feminine noun אמונה ('emuna) meaning firmness, steadfastness or fidelity (Exodus 17:12, Isaiah 33:6, 2 Kings 22:7).
- The feminine noun אמנה ('omna), meaning a bringing up or nourishment (Esther 2:20 only).
- The identical adverb אמנה ('omna), which appears to be a feminine version of the more familiar amen; the adverb of confirmation or verification (Genesis 20:12 and Joshua 7:20 only).
- The feminine noun אמנה ('amana), meaning faith (Nehemiah 10:1), or support (Nehemiah 11:23).
- The adverb אמנם ('umnam), which appears to be a plural version of the more familiar amen; the adverb of confirmation or verification. This word is used five times and always in questions: Genesis 18:13, Numbers 22:37, 1 Kings 8:27, 2 Chronicles 6:18, Psalm 58:1.
- The similar adverb אמנם ('omnam), also an adverb of confirmation or verification (2 Kings 19:17, Ruth 3:12, Job 9:2).
- The feminine noun אמת ('emet), meaning firmness, faithfulness or truth. This word is the most frequently occurring derivation of the root אמן ('aman; Genesis 24:48, Isaiah 39:8, Nehemiah 7:2).
- The masculine noun אמון ('amon), which appears to be a word like אמן ('omman), meaning skillful worker. Our noun occurs only in Proverbs 8:20 and Jeremiah 52:15. Some scholars don't think that this word is actually from the root אמן ('aman) but rather from the root המה (hama), and is a variant spelling of the word המון (hamon), meaning people.