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Reference: Ammonites


The descendants of Ammon, or Ben-Ammi, a son of Lot. They destroyed an ancient race of giants called Zamzummim, and seized their country, which lay east of Judea, De 2:19-21. Their territory extended from the Arnon to the Jabbok, and from the Jordan a considerable distance into Arabia. Their capital city was Rabbah, (also called Rabbath Ammon, and afterwards Philadelphia,) which stood on the Jabbok. Yet in the time of Moses they had been driven out of this region, towards the east, by the Amorites, Nu 21:21-35; 32:33. Moses was forbidden to assail them, De 2:19. They were gross idolaters; their chief idol being Moloch, supposed to be the same with Saturn, 1Ki 11:5-7; 2Ki 23:13. They oppressed Israel in the time of Jephthah, and were defeated by him with great slaughter, Jg 11. The children of Ammon afterwards, at various times, troubled the Israelites, for which the prophets threatened them with divine judgments, Jer 46:1-6; Eze 25:2-10.

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AMMONITES, the descendants of Ammon, the son of Lot. They took possession of the country called by their name, after having driven out the Zamzummims, who were its ancient inhabitants. The precise period at which this expulsion took place is not ascertained. The Ammonites had kings, and were uncircumcised, Jer 9:25-26, and seem to have been principally addicted to husbandry. They, as well as the Moabites, were among the nations whose peace or prosperity the Israelites were forbidden to disturb, De 2:19, &c. However, neither the one nor the other were to be admitted into the congregation to the tenth generation, because they did not come out to relieve them in the wilderness, and were implicated in hiring Balaam to curse them. Their chief and peculiar deity is, in Scripture, called Moloch. Chemosh was also a god of the Ammonites. Before the Israelites entered Canaan, the Amorites conquered a great part of the country belonging to the Ammonites and Moabites; but it was retaken by Moses, and divided between the tribes of Gad and Reuben. Previous to the time of Jephthah, B.C. 1188, the Ammonites engaged as principals in a war, under a king whose name is not given, against the Israelites. This prince, determining to recover the ancient country of the Ammonites, made a sudden irruption into it, reduced the land, and kept the inhabitants in subjection for eighteen years. He afterwards crossed Jordan with a design of falling upon the tribes of Judah, Benjamin, and Ephraim. The Israelites resisted the invader; and, assembling at Mizpeh, chose Jephthah for their general, and sent an expostulatory message to the king of the Ammonites, Jg 10:11. The king replied, that those lands belonged to the Ammonites, who had been unjustly dispossessed of them by the Israelites, when they came out of Egypt, and exhorted Jephthah to restore them peaceably to the lawful owners. Jephthah remonstrated on the injustice of his claim; but finding a war inevitable, he fell upon the Ammonites near Aroer, and defeated them with great slaughter. On this occasion the Ammonites lost twenty cities; and thus an end was put, after eighteen years' bondage, to the tyranny of Ammon over the Israelites beyond Jordan. In the days of Saul, 1 Samuel 11, B.C. 1095, the old claim of the Ammonites was revived by Nahash their king, and they laid siege to the city of Jabesh. The inhabitants were inclined to acknowledge Nahash as their sovereign; but he would accept their submission only on condition that every one of them should consent to lose his right eye, and that thus he might fix a lasting reproach upon Israel: but from this humiliating and severe requisition they were delivered by Saul, who vanquished and dispersed the army of Nahash. Upon the death of Nahash, David sent ambassadors to his son and successor Hanun, to congratulate him on his accession; but these ambassadors were treated as spies, and dismissed in a very reproachful manner, 2 Samuel 10. This indignity was punished by David with rigour. Rabbah, the capital of Hanun, and the other cities of Ammon, which resisted the progress of the conqueror, were destroyed and razed to the ground; and the inhabitants were put to death or reduced to servitude. In the reign of Jehoshaphat the Ammonites united with their brethren, the Moabites, and the inhabitants of Mount Seir, against the king of Judah; but they were completely routed. They were afterward overthrown by Uzziah, king of Judah, and made tributary, 2Ch 26:8; and rebelling in the reign of his son Jotham, they were reduced to the necessity of purchasing peace at a very dear rate. After the tribes of Reuben, Gad, and the half tribe of Manasseh, were carried into captivity by Tiglath-Pileser, B.C. 740, the Ammonites and Moabites took possession of the cities belonging to these tribes, and were reproached for it by Jer 49:1. Their ambassadors were exhorted to submit to Nebuchadnezzar, and threatened, on their refusal, with captivity and slavery, Jer 27:2-4. The Prophet Eze 25:4-10, denounces their entire destruction, and informs them, that God would deliver them up to the people of the east; and that the Ammonites should no more be mentioned among the nations: and this punishment they were to suffer for insulting the Israelites on account of their calamities, and the destruction of their temple by the Chaldeans. This malediction began to be inflicted upon them in the fifth year after the taking of Jerusalem, when Nebuchadnezzar made war against all the people around Judea, A.M. 3420 or 3421, B.C. 583. It is probable that Cyrus granted to the Ammonites and Moabites liberty to return into their own country, whence they had been removed by Nebuchadnezzar; for they were exposed to the revolutions that were common to the people of Syria and Palestine, and were subject sometimes to the kings of Egypt, and sometimes to the kings of Syria. Polybius informs us, that Antiochus the Great took Rabboth, or Philadelphia, the capital of the Ammonites, demolished the walls, and put a garrison into it, A.M. 3806, B.C. 198. During the persecutions of Antiochus Epiphanes, the Ammonites manifested their hatred to the Jews, and exercised great cruelties against such of them as lived in their parts. At length their city Jaser, and the neighbouring town, fell a prey to the Jews, who smote the men, carried their wives and children into captivity, and plundered and burned the city. Thus ended their last conflict with the descendants of Israel. Ammon was, however, a highly productive and populous country when the Romans became masters of all the provinces of Syria; and several of the ten allied cities, which gave name to the celebrated Decapolis, were included within its boundaries. Even when first invaded by the Saracens, this country, including Moab, was enriched by the various benefits of trade, covered with a line of forts, and possessed some strong and populous cities. Volney bears witness, "that in the immense plains of the Hauran, ruins are continually to be met with, and that what is said of its actual fertility perfectly corresponds with the idea given of it in the Hebrew writings." The fact of its natural fertility is corroborated by every traveller who has visited it. And "it is evident," says Burckhardt, "that the whole country must have been extremely well cultivated in order to have afforded subsistence to the inhabitants of so many towns," as are now visible only in their ruins. While the fruitfulness of the land of Ammon, and the high degree of prosperity and power in which it subsisted long prior and long subsequent to the date of the predictions, are thus indisputably established by historical evidence and by existing proofs, the researches of recent travellers (who were actuated by the mere desire of exploring these regions and obtaining geographical information) have made known its present aspect; and testimony the most clear, unexceptionable, and conclusive, has been borne to the state of dire desolation to which it is and has long been reduced.

It was prophesied concerning Ammon, "Son of man, set thy face against the Ammonites, and prophesy against them. I will make Rabbah of the Ammonites a stable for camels and a couching place for flocks. Behold, I will stretch out my hand upon thee, and deliver thee for a spoil to the Heathen; I will cut thee off from the people, and cause thee to perish out of the countries; I will destroy thee. The Ammonites shall not be remembered among the nations. Rabbah" (the chief city) "of the Ammonites shall be a desolate heap. Ammon shall be a perpetual desolation," 5/2/type/wbs'>Eze 25:2,5,7,10; 21:32; Jer 49:2; Zep 2:9.

Ammon was to be delivered to be a spoil to the Heathen

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