🔼The name Ben-ammi: Summary
- Son Of My Kinsman, Son Of My People
- From (1) the noun בן (ben), son, and (2) the noun עם ('am), people or kinsman.
🔼The name Ben-ammi in the Bible
The only Ben-ammi in the Bible is the incestuous son of Lot and his younger daughter, who becomes the patriarch of the "sons" of Ammon, also known as the Ammonites (Genesis 19:38). Lot is the son of Abraham's brother Haran and it's curious that both the daughters and the wife of this prominent figure remain nameless, also since Lot's daughters are matriarchs of enormous nations. The oldest daughter of Lot bears her father a son she names Moab, and he becomes the patriarch of the Moabites.
🔼Etymology of the name Ben-ammi
The name Ben-ammi consists of two elements. The first part is the word בן (ben), meaning son:
The noun בן (ben) means son, or more general: a member of one particular social or economic node — called a "house", which is built upon the instructions of one אב ('ab), or "father" — within in a larger economy (hence: the "sons of the prophet" are the members of the prophet-class; the prophets). This noun obviously resembles the verb בנה (bana), to build, and the noun אבן ('eben), stone.
Our noun's feminine version, namely בת (bat), means daughter, which resembles the noun בית (bayit), meaning house. Sometimes our noun is contracted into a single letter ב, whose name beth comes from בית (bayit) and means "house" as well. As a prefix, the letter ב (be) means "in." The word for mother, אם ('em), is highly similar to that of tribe or people, אמה ('umma).
The second part of the name Ben-ammi is identical to the name Ammi, which comes from the assumed Hebrew root עמם:
The verb עמם ('mm) probably expressed to be inclusive or comprehensive. Its rare uses in the Bible relate to making secrets or making info available to an in-crowd. Preposition עם ('im) means 'with', מעם (me'im) means 'from', and עמה ('umma) means 'beside'. Noun עם ('am) means a people, ranging from all of mankind to the in-crowd of a small village. Noun עם ('am) refers to one's (paternal) kinsman.
For a meaning of the name Ben-ammi, NOBSE Study Bible Name List goes with the meaning of the word am of kinsman and reads Son Of My Kinsman. Alfred Jones (Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names) sees more in am's meaning of nation and proposes Son Of My Nation. BDB Theological Dictionary reads Son Of My People.