|King of Judah|
Amon from Promptuarii Iconum Insigniorum
|Reign||643/642 – 641/640 BC|
|Born||c. 664 BC|
|Died||c. 641 BC|
|Place of death||Jerusalem|
|Buried||Garden of Uzza|
|Royal House||House of David|
Amon of Judah (Hebrew: אָמוֹן; Greek: Αμων; Latin: Amon) was a 7th century BC King of Judah who, according to the biblical account, succeeded his father Manasseh of Judah. Amon is most remembered for his idolatrous practices while king, which led to a revolt against him and eventually his assassination in c. 641 BC.
|Rulers of Judah|
Amon, whose name is derived from the Egyptian god Amun, was the son of King Manasseh of Judah and Meshullemeth, a daughter of Haruz of Jotbah. Although the date is unknown, the Hebrew Bible records that he married Jedidah, the daughter of Adaiah of Bozkath. Amon began his reign of Judah at the age of 22, and reigned for two years. Biblical scholar and archeologist William F. Albright has dated his reign to 642 – 640, while professor E. R. Thiele offers the dates 643/642 – 641/640. Thiele's dates are tied to the reign of Amon's son Josiah, whose death at the hands of Pharaoh Necho II occurred in the summer of 609. Josiah's death, which is independently confirmed in Egyptian history, places the end of Amon's reign, 31 years earlier, in 641 or 640 and the beginning of his rule in 643 or 642.
The Hebrew Bible records that Amon continued his father Manasseh's practice of idolatry and set up pagan images as his father had done. II Kings states that Amon "did that which was evil in the sight of YAWEH, as did Manasseh his father. And he walked in all the way that his father walked in, and served the idols that his father served, and worshipped them." Similarly, II Chronicles records that "…he did that which was evil in the sight of the Lord, as did Manasseh his father; and Amon sacrificed unto all the graven images which Manasseh his father had made, and served them." The Talmudic tradition recounts that "Amon burnt the Torah, and allowed spider webs to cover the altar [through complete disuse] ... Amon sinned very much." Like other textual sources, Flavius Josephus too criticizes the reign of Amon, describing his reign similarly to the Bible.
After reigning two years, Amon was assassinated by his servants, who conspired against him, and was succeeded by his son Josiah, who at the time was eight years old. After Amon's assassination his murderers became unpopular with the people, and were ultimately killed. Some scholars, such as Abraham Malamat, assert that Amon was assassinated because people disliked the heavy influence that Assyria, an age-old enemy of Judah responsible for the destruction of the Kingdom of Israel, had upon him.
Amon's reign was in the midst of a transitional time for the Levant and the entire Mesopotamian region. To the east of Judah, the Assyrian Empire was beginning to disintegrate while the Babylonian Empire had not yet risen to replace it. To the west, Egypt was still recovering under Psamtik I from its Assyrian occupation, transforming from a vassal state to an autonomous ally. In this power vacuum, many smaller states such as Judah were able to govern themselves without foreign intervention from larger empires.
Amon of Judah
|King of Judah
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