- Dec 6, 2010I would appreciate help on the source of the word amen.
The Hebrew word amen derives from the Hebrew 'a-mán, the primitive triliteral root is '-m-n . This triliteral root means to be firm, confirmed, reliable, faithful, have faith, believe. Grammarians list "amen" in Hebrew under its three consonants ('-m-n = aleph-mem-nun) The Hebrew letter ' aleph originally represented a glottal stop sound, which functioned as a consonant.
I find two ways it is apparently not used in the Old Testament. First, "amen" is never used to conclude a prayer. Second, it is never used to accept a blessing , but is used 16 times to accept a curse: when priests uttered a curse-formula on behalf of the Lord then the addressee(s) accepted the consequences of it with the word "Amen." See Numb. 5:22; Deut. 27:15-26; Neh.5:13; Jer: 11:5.
I was asked if it was associated by the Hebrews with the name of the
Egyptian god Amen . They think that the Hebrews associated Amen with their monotheistic god. I don't find any support for this. From what I have read of Amen's long and varied history in Egypt any association by the Hebrews with Amen as a monotheistic seems unlikely. For one thing, as I understand it, the Egyptian Amen began with a yodh. Its root may be related to a word meaning, among other things, to educate and an early representation was an arm and hand. I take it Amen was originally a city god of Thebes, and his fortunes rose and declined as the power of Thebes in Egypt and to some extent elsewhere , as in Greece. The Theban priests elevated him to a higher status than other of their gods at one stage. He seems to have represented the dark side of the sun at one later stage, and combined with another god Ra or Re, the face of the sun - a solar disc. He was referred to as "the hidden". The Greeks may have associated Amen-Re with their Zeus/Chronos and his consort Hera. But I don't see that he was characterized as the nameless, creator god for the Egyptians, whom they had legends of but did not include in there large pantheon of gods, of which Amen was one. Alexander in the 4th century visited Amen's temple in Egypt to receive initiation.
I note Jesus often says "Amen" in the NT (in Aramaic, I expect) at the beginning of his speech, but not at the end, apparently with the sense we use it English, "Yes", "Verily," "So be it." This suggests that for the Hebrews, it was used without any association with the Egyptian god Amen or other than as as epithet for their god whose name should not be uttered.
Jesus is referred to as "the Amen" in John's Revelation, seemingly as an epithet. The epithet "Amin" in Arabic, which is used similarly in Islam generally as in Judaism and Christianity, is sometimes used to refer to Muhammad. Muhammad's human nature is stressed in Islam. He may have acquired the epithet "Amin" before he began to receive the Quran from the Angel Gabriel, for he was a caravan trader (technically a robber, for mutual exchange of goods was part of the trading business) who was known as honest and trustworthy.
Thank you for your interest.
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