🔼The name Anammelech: Summary
- Unclear but perhaps King Of Answers/ Business/ Oppression
- Unclear but perhaps from (1) ענה ('ana), to reciprocate, and (2) מלך (melek), king.
🔼The name Anammelech in the Bible
The name Anammelech occurs once in the Bible. It's the name of one of two gods of the Sepharvites to whom they sacrificed their children by burning (2 Kings 17:31). These Sepharvites were relocated in Israel by decree of the king of Assyria and the Lord had sent lions among them to sort them out. Hence they request of the king a priest attune with the God of Israel, so that they may learn how to keep the lions out. The priest comes and settles in Bethel, but apparently he wasn't much of an evangelist because even though the new locals begin to fear YHWH, they keep worshipping their idols and continue murdering their own children.
🔼Etymology of the name Anammelech
The name Anammelech consists of two elements. The final part is quite clear but the first part is a bit of a mystery. NOBSE Study Bible Name List says it comes from some Anu; probably the name of a god. BDB Theological Dictionary also mentions the proposal of some that Anammelech is a Hebraized version of the Assyrian Anu-malik, but deems it "dubious". Others refer to the goddess Anat, after which, perhaps, the city Anathoth was named (1 Kings 2:26).
Alfred Jones (Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names) who often ventures far, far away from established academic grounds and usually comes back with much more entertaining solutions, sees in the name Anammelech the word ענם (anim), an imported Arabic word meaning image or statue, but doesn't mention that this word is identical to the name of the city Anem, derived from the word meaning eye, and possibly meaning Fountains. But Jones does mention the idea of one mister Hyde, who supposed relations to an Arabic word meaning cattle, and ties the name Anammelech to the constellation Cepheus.
Perhaps to a Hebrew audience there was an association between the first part of the name Anammelech and the enormous root group ענה ('ana):
There are four verbs of the form ענה ('nh), or perhaps one verb with four distinct usages:
Verb ענה ('ana I) means to answer, respond or correspond, and since in the old world time was considered a cycle, noun עת ('et) means time. Temporal adverb עתה ('atta) means now; adjective עתי ('itti) means timely or ready, and conjunction יען (ya'an) means on account of. Noun מענה (ma'aneh) means an answer and noun ענה ('ona) means cohabitation.
Verb ענה ('ana II) means to be busy or occupied with. Noun ענין ('inyan) means occupation or task, and noun מענה (ma'ana) means place for or agent of a task.
Verb ענה ('ana III) means to afflict, oppress or humble. Noun ענו ('anaw) refers to the poor, afflicted or needy. Noun ענוה ('anawa) means humility. Noun ענות ('enut) means affliction. Adjective עני ('ani) means poor or afflicted. Noun עני ('oni) means affliction or poverty, and noun תענית (ta'anit) means humiliation.
Verb ענה ('ana IV) means to sing.
The origin of the second part of Anammelech is less obscure. It comes from the noun מלך (melek), meaning king:
The noun מלך (melek) means king, and a king is not merely a glorified tribal chief but the alpha of a complex, stratified society, implying a court and a complex government.
The Bible insists that a society must be governed by a triad of anointed sovereigns, namely prophets, priests and the king. A good king causes his people to be prosperous and peaceful whereas a bad one causes poverty and strife. The difference between the two is dictated by how close to the Law of Nature (a.k.a. the Word of God) the king operates. A kingdom that is wholly in tune with the Law consists of only sovereign individuals and is thus without a physical king.
An Aramaic cognate verb מלך (malak) means to consult, which confirms that the concept of royalty indeed evolved from wisdom and intellectual prowess rather than brute physical or political strength, as is commonly suggested.
From this noun derives the verb מלך (malak): to be or become king, the nouns מלכה (malka) and מלכת (meleket): queen or court-lady, the noun מלוכה (meluka): kingship or royalty, and the nouns מלכות (malkut), ממלכה (mamlaka) and ממלכות (mamlakut), meaning sovereignty or kinghood.
The name Anammelech may simply mean King Anu, or Anu Is King (NOBSE Study Bible Name List). It may even carry the meaning of King Of Answers, or King Of Business or King Of Oppression/Poverty.