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Ammonites And The Books Of Kings

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Chapter Summary

The real interest about ancient Ammon exhibited by The Books of Kings is in certain Ammonite religious practices, specifically the worship of Ammonite deities. The most compelling argument that 'Il (or 'El) became an Iron Age deus otiosus, is found in the presentation of Hebrew religion by Cross. Cross argued that the word "Yahweh" originated as an epithet of 'El. Subsequently, it became the name of a Hebrew god who ultimately usurped 'El himself. Yahweh, according to the Hebrew model, replaced 'El in the theological vocabulary, a notion which is supported, indeed illustrated, by the evidence of Hebrew popular religion where Yahweh-names far outnumber 'El-names. In the Ammonite onomasticon, however, the occurrence of mlkm-names are a fraction of 'l-names. On the basis of this evidence, it is hard to see why Milkom should be considered the chief deity of the Ammonites.

Keywords: ancient Ammon; Hebrew religion; Iron Age; The Books of Kings; Yahweh



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