Bible Dictionary

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Ammon, Ammonites

A tribe descended from Lot, the nephew of Abraham (Gen. 19:38; Deut. 2:19); worshippers of Molech or Milcom (1 Kgs. 11:7, 33); they were settled east of Mount Gilead, from the Jabbok southwards, and in the time of the Judges laid claim to the Israelite settlements in Gilead (Judg. 11) but were repulsed by Jephthah and again by Saul (1 Sam. 11) and finally reduced to subjection by David (2 Sam. 10; 11:1; 12:9, 26, 31). They regained their independence after David’s death and maintained it, as allies of their Aramean neighbors and bitter enemies of Israel, till they fell under the power of Assyria and Chaldea (2 Kgs. 24:2; Ezek. 25:2–10; Amos 1:13–15; Zeph. 2:8). Nor were they less hostile to the Jews after the Captivity (Neh. 4). Even under foreign rule the obstinate little nation retained its individuality for two centuries after Christ till it disappeared, absorbed by the advance of the Arabs. The capital Rabbath Ammon received a Greek colony and the name of Philadelphia from Ptolemy Philadelphus, but the old name reappears in the modern Amman.