Biblical Archaeology Review 19:6, November/December 1993

What Ever Happened to the Ammonites?

By Larry G. Herr

To the Bible writers, they were the bad guys. But they were nevertheless important.

The Ammonites emerged east of the Jordan at about the same time as the Israelites appeared as a people west of the Jordan. Together with their neighbors—the Moabites, the Edomites and the Amorites (who also lived west of the Jordan)—the Ammonites loomed large in Israel’s consciousness for many centuries. Even today, the name of the capital of Jordan, Amman, is derived from the Ammonite name.

The Biblical view of the Ammonites is amply reflected in their putative ancestry. According to Genesis 19:30–38, the Ammonites were descended from an incestuous union between Lot and his younger daughter. At best, they were scandalous relatives of the Israelites.

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