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Word study - amen

This study looks at various uses of the Hebrew words related to 'amen', together with some links to nonBiblical use of possibly-related words.

Old Testament usage

The root verb

’âman - the root verb - has the meaning of confirm, support, be faithful and similar. In the Qal form it is only found as the participle (ie supporting, confirming etc), a total of 10 times. There are a considerable number of uses (about 100 of each) in both the Niph‘al (passive, hence be confirmed, be verified and similar), and Hiphîyl (causative active, so stand firm, trust / believe and so on) forms. The Qal uses are scatterd fairly evenly across the whole Old Testament. Both the other forms are found most commonly in the Wisdom literature - well over 1/3 of the Hiphîyl uses are to be found in the book of Job alone. Outside the Wisdom literature, the Niph‘al is distributed quite evenly, whereas the Hiphîyl is found extensively in the Pentateuch as well.

Nouns based on this verb

The feminine noun ’emûnâh (firmness, steadfastness, fidelity) occurs nearly 100 times, of which nearly half are in the Pentateuch and over a quarter in the Wisdom literature. There are five other nouns, used a total of just 11 times, mostly in the later books. These are ’amânâh (feminine noun, "faith / support"), ’amenâh (feminine noun, "bringing up"), ’emun (masculine noun, "trusting / faithfulness"), ’omman (masculine noun, "master-workman / artist"), and ’ômen (masculine noun, "faithfulness").

Adverbs

There are two adverbs: the familiar ’âmen, and an intensified form ’âmenâh. The former occurs 26 times, most commonly as the response of the people to the curses for forbidden actions in Deuteronomy 27. The latter occurs just twice: once as Abraham affirms that Sarah is his sister in Genesis 20:12 ("amen she is my sister") and once by Achan in Joshua 7:20 when confessing his concealment of plunder ("amen I have sinned").

Usage pattern

The following table summarises the above information:

WordPentateuchJoshua - 2 SamuelKings Chronicles + LateWisdomJobProphets(Total)
Verbs’âman (Qal) 1321 1-2(10)
  --- (Niph‘al) 56127 50118(99)
  --- (Hiphîyl) 33226 8399(99)
 (Total) (39)(11)(16)(14) (59)(40)(29)(208)
 
Nounsemûnâh 48128 26-13(98)
 amânâh ---2 ---(2)
 ’amenâh ---1 ---(1)
 ’emun 1--- 4-1(6)
 ’omman ---- 1--(1)
 ’ômen ---- --1(1)
 (Total) (49)(1)(2)(11) (31)(-)(15)(109)
 
Adverbs’âmen 13-13 5-4(26)
 ’âmenâh 11-- ---(2)
 (Total) (14)(1)(1)(3) (5)(-)(4)(28)
 
 (Grand Total) (102)(13)(19)(28) (95)(40)(48)(345)

Overall, it can be seen that the Wisdom literature is the characteristic place for finding words of this root - especially the book of Job. The books of the Pentateuch are the second most common location.

Non-Biblical parallels

Under construction.
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