🔼The name Ammah: Summary
- Mother, Origin
- From the verb אמם ('mm), to originate or be a mother.
🔼The name Ammah in the Bible
After helping the insurrectionist Ish-bosheth, son of Saul, and seeing him defeated, general Abner flees for the wrath of the three sons of Zeruiah: Joab, Abishai and Asahel, nephews of the victorious king David.
Asahel, who runs like a gazelle, catches up with Abner first. Abner pleads for Asahel to leave him alone, but Asahel persists and Abner kills him. The two remaining bothers catch up with Abner at the hill Ammah, but by then Abner has acquired the services of a band of Benjaminites, and the two brothers depart. Later Abner tries to make peace with David in Hebron, and this works out quite well. But when Joab hears about it he's understandably upset. He lures Abner back on a ruse, and kills him in the gate of the city.
🔼Etymology of the name Ammah
The name Ammah comes from the root אמם ('mm):
The unused verb אמם ('mm) probably meant to originate in a social sort of way. Noun אם ('em) means mother, but — as do the words אב ('ab), father, and בן (ben), son — primarily refers to a social function rather than a mere biological relation. Hence noun אמה ('amma) refers to a "mother" city or a "mother" land, and אמה ('umma) means tribe or people (and is obviously comparable to עם, 'am, meaning people in a socially inclusive way).
The noun אמה ('ama) describes a female servant, and female servants were of course as much "included" in the master's house as did some of the including themselves as in early Biblical times, surrogate motherhood was a common function of female servants (see our expanded article for a discussion of this). The common hypothetic particle אם ('im) means "if," and an if-statement essentially proposes inclusion.
For a meaning of the name Ammah NOBSE Study Bible Name List reads Mother or Beginning. Jones' Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names has the similar Beginning. BDB Theological Dictionary doesn't translate this name.