A is for Ammon

a-to-z-letters-aAmman is the oldest continuously inhabited city on earth. Back in the 13th century BCE it was known as Rabbath Ammon. The inhabitants were known as Ammonites. Old Testament Biblical writings put the Ammonite kingdom east of the Jordan River, Gilead and the Dead Sea. The chief gods were Milcom and Molech. Some scholars believe the two names are ascribed to the same god.

You might remember that after the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, Lot and his two daughters believed they were the only people left in the world. The daughters conspired together to get their father drunk and seduce him so they could get pregnant and repopulate the earth. Well, they did…

Ammon was born to the elder daughter, and the younger one gave birth to Moab. As a result, the Ammonites and Moabites came to be known as the Children of Lot, making them, according to Hebrew tradition, related to the Israelites. The Israelites were commanded to avoid any conflict with them as they made their way to the “Promised Land”.

The Bible is rife with examples of the antagonism that existed between the two groups. The Ammonites denied passage through their kingdom to the Israelites during the Exodus. They continued to fight sporadically over the years until David conquered their lands.

According to 1 Kings 14: 21-31 and 2 Chronicles 12:13, King Solomon’s wife, Naamah was Ammonite. Of all his wives, Naamah was the only one to be mentioned by name in Tanakh. Rehoboam, her son, was Solomon’s successor.

David was a descendant of Ruth, a non-Jewish Moabite. Because of that, his claim to the throne was disputed.

Ammon and Moab had a great many natural resources such as sandstone and limestone as well as very productive agriculture. Because of its strategic location on the ancient trade route that connected Egypt with Mesopotamia, Syria, and Asia Minor, trade flourished, bringing them a great deal of revenue. About 950 BCE, Ammon erected a series of fortresses along the King’s Highway and located the capital at what is now known as the Citadel, in Amman.


Map showing location of the Kingdom of Ammon










Ammonite Tower ruins, near my flat









Citadel Hill in downtown Amman