Bad kings, incest, Egyptian gods. Have I caught your interest? I sure hope so because the name Amon has proven to be a most fascinating research assignment. I had no idea I’d find some goodies with this name, and the stories behind them, though short, are fascinating.
Amon may sound familiar to some Christians who have read the Old Testament (which, I admit, I am not so well-read in). Others may trace it to Egyptian mythology. I never knew it was such a versatile name, and I chose it on a whim for one of my characters without thinking of its importance.
According to Bible Study Tools, Amon means “faithful” or “true”. However, that really doesn’t line up with the truth of what I found in the Bible. Nor was Amon faithful in those accounts.
Here are three stories about Amon.
Amon, the King of Judah
Israel was once one nation. It had gone through three kings—Saul, David, and Solomon—before the fourth took the throne. Now this fourth king had a choice: heed the voices of the people or follow the instruction of his affiliates . He chose the latter and increased the people’s labour. That led to a division in the kingdom. To the north was Israel, which had seen the reign of several “bad” kings. To the south was Judah, which had a handful of good kings thrown in with a bunch of bad ones.
Spoiler alert: Amon was one of the bad kings.
He was the son of Manasseh, who was also a bad king. For most of his life. The book of Kings tells us that Amon’s mother’s name was Meshullemeth, which, if not hard to pronounce, seems like it was thrown in haphazard to the average reader. But polygamy was rampant through Judah’s kings, so I suppose her name is mentioned to emphasize which branch in the geneology Amon came from.
Like his father, Amon “did evil”, which included making sacrifices to the idols Manasseh had erected and worshipping them. This goes against the Biblical Shemah which states “Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one” (Deut. 6:4), meaning that there is no other deity besides God. (See Deuteronomy 4:15 onwards for Israel’s warning against idolotry.)
Unlike his father, Amon didn’t repent of his ways but “trespassed more and more”.
This worked against him. He took the throne at the age of twenty-two, only to reign two years before his servants turned against him and killed him in his own house. The people, apparently loyal to Amon, executed those servants, and Josiah, Amon’s son, was made king.
Now there is mention of the “children of Amon” or the “sons of Ami” in the books of Nehemiah and Ezra, respectively. I assume this means the descendents of this king Amon, though I’m not positive.
The People of Ammon
Anyway, the one I want to focus on here is Ammon.
But first, backstory!
God brought judgment on the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah (Genesis 19:12-29). Abraham, who many of you know if the forefather of the Israelite people, persuaded God to preserve his nephew, Lot, who had taken up residence there.
There’s a sickening story in there where Lot got so desperate he offered his two daughters to an angry mob to do with them what they wanted in order to protect a couple of men.
But even more sickening comes later.
Lot tried to persuade his sons-in-law to escape from Sodom, but they thought he was joking. So they ended up dying in the judgment on Sodom. Lot’s wife died, too, because she looked back on her home city while they were fleeing and turned to a pillar of salt.
How depressing. But it gets better.
Now we’re left with Lot and his two daughters. There was a huge importance on succession in those times, and if you had sons to continue your line. After Sodom was destroyed, Lot had none. So the eldest daughter said to the younger, “Our father is old, and there is no man on the earth to come in to us as is the custom of all the earth.”
Seriously, does she not realize that there are other cities than Sodom and Gomorrah? And the “custom of all the earth” is for women to get married and…You know what? I won’t even go there. Let’s just say that Lot wasn’t a terribly smart person, and apparently the apple doesn’t fall too far from the tree.
Anyway, she and the younger sister got their father drunk. The oldest slept with him. The next day, she persuaded the younger sister to sleep with him, which she did. What younger sister doesn’t heed the older sister’s command? (Older siblings, eh? They’re terrible!) So, they got their father drunk again and the younger sister slept with him.
Well, you can imagine what happened. They both conceived and bore sons. The older sister named her son Moab and the younger, Ben-Ammi. Ben-Ammi is the father of the people of Ammon, or the Ammonites, who later caused a LOT of trouble for the Israelites.
Moral of the story? Incest is disgusting and leads to all kinds of problems. Seriously, just don’t do it. Also, don’t be stupid enough to get drunk and let your sick, twisted children sleep with you. You could end up becoming the ancestor of a dreadful nation.
Time for a change in tone. My first Google search of Amon yielded something I did not expect. Amon actually comes up in Egyptian mythology. It’s the Greek form of Ymn (Yamanu) meaning “hidden one”.
Yamanu is the god of the air, creativity and fertility according to Behind the Name. It’s funny because only two of those things seem hidden to me. Air, yes, you can’t see it. Creativity is something you can’t see, but is in people, a hidden well that springs up in people, some more than others.
Fertility not so much. How do you hide your offspring? (And no, don’t say dumpster. That’s just cruel.) I mean, sure the act could be hidden if you had some elusive bed chamber, but it’s going to produce some results. I guess in this day and age, abortion could be involved, but I’m pro-life and that’s a touchy subject I don’t want to get into. And fertility is about making kids. Healthy kids.
During the Middle Kingdom, Amon’s attributes were combined with Ra to produce Amon-Ra, the “supreme solar deity”. That sounds pretty epic, and it’s where the story ends.
Usage in A’thería
Amon seemed a fitting name for one of the four kings of Hémon. The other king’s names are Morin, Dellon, and Lepsin, all ending in “n”, so it was only natural that I came up with a name that followed that trend.
Amon was like the rest of them. He didn’t succeed to the throne by birth, but by lying, deceit and murder. He has a few assassins at his disposal who do away with anyone who tries to steal the throne or the assassins of the other kings. It’s safe to say that the four kings don’t always get along.
But there’s something different about Amon. After years of sleeping with a harem of clerics, his eyes finally rested on one: Amelí. He stole her away and by some miracle (all clerics are barren), she bore him two children who are now his pride and joy. To this day, he only has eyes for his wife, though it’s a bit of an obsession. Amelí is Amon’s goddess in a way, the perfect gateway to the god king, Feilan.
There’s also a certain understanding in Amon’s eyes that the other kings don’t have. He can be brash and possessive, but he occasionally exercises an open mind, especially when it comes to the Faith (the belief in Yahlírin—see True Faith and the birth of Shadai and Lothlúrin).
Don’t get me wrong, he’s by no means “religious” and he’d never consider himself that even though it’s somewhere in his blood. But he does think things through for what he believes is the greater good. In that he is faithful and true.