🔼The name Hammon: Summary
- Hot One
- From the verb חמם (hamam), to be hot.
🔼The name Hammon in the Bible
There are two towns named Hammon in the Bible, and both are mentioned only once:
🔼Etymology of the name Hammon
The name Hammon likely has to do with the verb חמם (hamam), meaning to be hot:
The verb חמם (hamam) means to be hot and is sometimes used to describe mental agitation. Nouns חם (hom) and חמה (hamma) mean heat. Adjective חם (ham) means hot. The noun חמן (hamman) denotes a kind of mysterious small pillar (perhaps a device?).
The verb יחם (yaham) also means to be hot, but mostly in a mental sense: to be exited or angered. The noun חמה (hema) mostly refers to a severe mental "burning": anger or rage.
The verb חמה (hmh) is not used in the Bible, but in cognate languages it means to surround, guard or protect. Perhaps this verb has nothing to do with the previous and only accidentally looks similar, but perhaps it ties into the fact that natural open fires aren't very warm and smelting metals require sophisticated ovens. Noun חם (ham) means father-in-law and its feminine equivalent, חמות (hamot), means mother-in-law — and note that the Trojan theme of the "girl" kept in the city of her forceful lover is very common in classical literature. Noun חומה (homa) describes a protective wall.
The noun חום (hum) describes a color or pattern of coloration of sheep and goats. It's not clear whether this pattern resembled sparks, fire or enclosures, or perhaps that this word in not related to the previous.
Noun חמת (hemet) means waterskin and may derive from a wholly different verb. Still, the verb נהר (nahar) means both to flow (of water) and to shine (of light) and a waterskin filled with water is not unlike a kiln containing a very warm fire.
Scholars generally agree that the name Hammon should have something to do with heat, but the interpretations somewhat diverge. For a meaning of our name, NOBSE Study Bible Name List proposes Glowing, which brings to mind something hot that gives off light, and the verb does not. Jones' Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names reads Hot and elaborates that to Great Hot Baths. BDB Theological Dictionary does a similar thing by translating our name with Hot Spring? (emphasizing the hot-part, but expressing uncertainty about the spring-part).
It may also be that our name was one of many personal and location names that contained references to pagan worship. The related noun חמן (hamman) denotes a little pillar that served in pagan worship, but our name could very well be a reference to the sun (or even fire), and its worship, which was wide-spread in those days and in that area.