Saturday, September 17, 2016

Ammonites, Part II; Ancient People From Lot, Nephew of Abraham

Nadene Goldfoot                                                                           

The Ammonites also lived in what is today's Jordan, coming from Lot; nephew of Abraham.  Their capital was called Rabbath Ammon, which is where modern Amman sits.  Being related to Abraham, they were also a Semitic tribe related to the Israelites.  That's the tribe Abraham had come from.  They developed throughout the 13th to 8th centuries BCE, then declined and were finally absorbed into other Arab tribes.
Statue of Ammonite King 
When the Israelites reached their goal after 40 years of traveling from Egypt to Canaan, they occupied it, but were often attacked by the Ammonites.  It took the Israelite leaders of Jephthah, an Israelite judge living in Gilead where the Ammonites had threatened his people,  and King Saul to finally defeat them.  Jephthah also had to fight against the Ephraimites who were one of the 12 tribes and therefore cousins, but they didn't like his leadership.  Jephthah did a deplorable thing by today's standards.  Before he went out to fight the Ammonites, he made a vow, which was something very sacred in those days.  He vowed to sacrifice whatever came first from his home if he returned safely. "Whatever emerges---what will emerge from the doors of my house---toward me when I return in peace from the Children of Ammon, it shall belong to Hashem and I shall offer it up as an elevation-offering."   What a way to pray for safe-keeping!  He probably thought some animal would appear.  Instead, it was his only daughter, his only child!  Judg. 11:30-12-5 telling that she consented to the ordeal  for her father's vow to be accepted.  He saw her and tore his clothes in shock and said, "Alas, my daughter!  You have brought me to my knees, and you have joined those who trouble me.  I have opened my mouth to Hashem and I cannot recant!"  She replied, "Let this thing be done for me:  Let me be for 2 months, and I shall go and wail upon the mountains and weep over my virginity, I and my friends."  He released her for 2 months. and then she returned to him.  She never knew a man.  She was not killed in sacrifice as human sacrifice was not allowed, but lived in seclusion all her life and she devoted herself to prayer.  After this, from year to hear the daughters of Israel would go to lament with the daughter of Jephthah the Gileadite, 4 days of the year.
King David (1010 BCE-970 BCE) fighting against the Moabites and Ammonites
 King David annexed their kingdom into Israel but they regained their independence and after King Solomon died in 920 BCE, they attacked the newer kingdom of Judah on many occasions.  Judah's first king was Rehoboam (933-917 BCE).a son of King Solomon.  Rehoboam had an Ammonite wife, Naamah!  Out of the 12 tribes, only Judah, Simeon and most of Benjamin were loyal to him.  Rehoboam had refused to lower Solomon's taxes on the people, so the nation of Israel split into Judah, named for the largest tribe following the king, and Israel then got Jeroboam (933-912) as their king, who was an Ephraimite.  He had been a superintendent of forced labor during King Solomon's days, and later led a revolt against Solomon's monarchy because of the taxation and forced labor.
Abram and Lot, his nephew, son of Abram's brother, Haran.  He had made the journey
with Abram from Aram-Naharaim to Canaan.  They parted company when their shepherds
quarreled with each other over pasture land for their sheep.  Lot settled in Sodom
but was captured by 5 kings who had attacked it.  It took Abram to rescue him with his men.
While he was drunk one night after losing his wife, his daughters took advantage of him to have sex,
thinking there were no other men in the world, and they had sons, Ammon and Moab.  This
explains why these 2 tribes were so cantankerous to the tribe of Israel.
After the destruction of the 1st Temple of Solomon in 586 BCE by the Babylonians, the king of Ammon, Baalis, instigated the murder of Gedaliah, the governor of Judah from a noble Jewish family to weaken Judah even more. Gedaliah had been appointed by the Babylonians.  Gedaliah was murdered by his own commander, Ishmael ben Nethaniah and his followers.  They had been planning a revolt against Babylon along with their neighboring peoples.  This caused Gedaliah's own supporters to flee for their lives to Egypt.  Actually, Gedaliah's murder, even though he was selected by the Babylonians, was bad for the Jews because it dashed any hope of holding the Jewish community together after the Babylonian conquest.   When the Israelites finally returned from Babylon, Ammonites joined Judah's enemies and Tobiah the Ammonite supported Sanballat in his opposition to Nehemiah, the next governor of Judah in 444 BCE.  His record was that he had been the cupbearer to the Persian king, Artaxerxes I.  It was Artaxerxes who appointed him governor of Judah .  On reaching Jerusalem, he organized the repair of its walls, completed in 52 days which was miraculous considering the builders were bothered by interference by neighboring peoples.  He was a great governor and even worked on social reforms.  He got people to start observing the Sabbath again from a lapse of negligence.  The law of cancelling debts owed by the poor was brought back.  After all, it had been 142 years that the Jews were taken out of Judah as slaves by the foreign and very different Babylonians who had been led by Nebuchadnezzer.
Found in Tel Siran (Tell Hesban) in Jordan is this metal bottle telling about King Amminadab II of Ammon. It is 5.6 miles  North of Madaba.  When the Israelites arrived in Canaan, they assigned this land which is east of the Jordan River to their tribe of Reuben.  
During the Hasmonean rising, the Ammonites aided the Syrian forces, but Judah the Maccabee defeated them in 163 BCE.  Judah was the hero in the Jewish Chanukah story celebrated in December today.
Ammon Citadel in Jordan's capital dating to Ammonite days 
Excavations have been done in Jordan show that the Ammonites had a developed kingdom with fortified frontiers, artistic tastes and advanced agriculture.  They worshipped fertility gods, the chief being Milkom.  Their religion was much the same as the Moabites who also had an adjoining kingdom that is now part of Jordan.  Being they were from Lot, DNA testing would probably not be able to tell if they were Moabites or Ammonites.
Add caption
The Hashemite tribe from Saudi Arabia now live in Jordan as of 1921.  " The family belongs to the Dhawu Awn, one of the branches of the Hasanid Sharifs of Mecca – also referred to as Hashemites – who ruled Mecca continuously from the 10th century until its conquest by the House of Saud in 1924. Their eponymous ancestor is Hashim ibn Abd Manaf, great-grandfather of the Islamic prophet, Muhammad (570-632). 
On the left is Emir; then King Feisal, friend to Jewish leaders; and
on the right is King Abdullah Ist-brothers.  

The current dynasty was founded by Sharif Hussein ibn Ali. One of his sons was the first king of Transjordan, Abdullah I.  "His sons Abdullah and Faisal assumed the thrones of Jordan and Iraq in 1921. The land had been already promised to be the Jewish Homeland by the British, who went back on their word to the Jews in making this deal to take place after World War I. 

"In fact, under Hashemite control east Jerusalem was restored to rubble. Jewish shrines and cemeteries were sacked, torched, and defiled and access to Jews was forbidden and severely restricted for Christians."  Jordan attacked Israel with other neighboring states  in 1967 and lost.  They lost land on the Western side of the Jordan River this way to Israel, which is referred to as the "West Bank."  It is actually the side of the original Israel and Judah!!  Jews now live there as well as the many Arabs calling themselves Palestinians.  What they really are are people who entered around 1880 following Russian Jews making aliyah at that time who were escaping from more pogroms.  These "Palestinians"  came from near and far; all Muslims, with only a few being native Palestinians, meaning people who had migrated there after the Roman attacks and occupation of Jerusalem and war with the Jews in 135 CE when the Romans decided to call the land Palestine in order to wipe out the memory of Israel and Judah.  .  
Queen Rania of Jordan b: August 31, 1970 in Kuwait.
then resettled in 1991 in Amman, Jordan during Gulf War.  

"The Umayyads, who were fair to the Jews when they invaded them after 661 ,  were of the same tribe as the Hashemites, but a different clan.  They were defeated in 750, Since 1999,  Jordan is being ruled by Abdullah II, grandson of Abdullah I.  He  married in 1993  a woman said to be a Palestinian, Queen Rania.  She was born in Kuwait.  Her father was a doctor, and he and his wife were Palestinians from Judea/Samaria  who had moved to Kuwait.  

Reference:  The New Standard Jewish Encyclopedia
Tanach; The Stone Edition (Bible)
Textbook: Middle East, Past & Present by Yahya Armajani, Thomas M. Ricks; used by Portland State U. 

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