🔼The name Amon: Summary
- Master Workman, A Nourisher
- From the verb אמם ('mm), to originate or to be a mother.
- From the verb אמן ('aman), to support or confirm.
🔼The name Amon in the Bible
The name Amon (not to be confused with Ammon, עמון) is applied to three men and one deity in the Bible:
- A governor of Samaria at the time of king Ahab (1 Kings 22:26, spelled אמן). This Amon was told by the king to imprison the prophet Micaiah, son of Imla, because he spoke the unfavorable but true words of YHWH, whereas Zedekiah, son of Chenaanah, spoke pleasant messages which he made up as he went along.
- The son and successor of king Manasseh of Judah (2 Kings 21:18). King Amon was twenty-two years old when he took the throne, and sat there reigning godlessly for two years until his staff assassinated him. His eight year old son Josiah succeeded him. The evangelist Matthew traces the genealogy of Christ through this Amon (Matthew 1:10, spelled Αμων).
- The head of a family that traced their genealogy through the servants of Solomon, and who returned to Israel from Babylon (Nehemiah 7:59). Ezra mentions the same man but calls him Ami.
- The Egyptian supreme deity Amon of Thebes (Jeremiah 46:25).
🔼Etymology of the name Amon
The name of the Egyptian deity is a transliteration of this name in Egyptian, so technically it's not the same name. There seems to be some indication that also the writers of the Bible interpreted this name to be not the same as the Hebrew name Amon, but rather related the Egyptian version to their verb אמם ('mm), to originate or to be a mother:
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.
The Hebrew name Amon comes from the verb אמן ('aman), meaning to support or confirm:
The verb אמן ('aman) means to affirm or support. The familiar adverb אמן ('amen), its lesser known feminine version אמנה ('omna) and the plural variant אמנם ('umnam) mean verily or truly.
Noun אמן ('omen) means faithfulness and noun אמנה ('amana) means faith or support. Noun אמן ('omman) denotes a skilled or "true" worker. Noun אמן ('emun) means trusting or faithfulness. Noun אמונה ('emuna) means firmness, steadfastness or fidelity. And noun אמנה ('omna) means a bringing up or nourishment.
For a meaning of the name Amon, BDB Theological Dictionary and NOBSE Study Bible Name List both read Master Workman, although they both do not list the divine name Amon here. Note that Wisdom calls herself the Master Workman (אמון) by God's side during creation (Proverbs 8:30).
Jones' Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names also derives the Hebrew name Amon from the verb אמן ('aman) but arrives at A Nourisher or A Nurse.