Where the Word “Amen” Came From

HandsToday I found out where the word “amen” came from.  Specifically, “amen” comes from the Hebrew word… *wait for it*… “āmēn” (אָמֵן).

More interestingly, amen is one of the rare examples where a word has survived thousands of years and been adopted into a few different languages without any real modification to its meaning across time and those languages, dating back pretty much as far as written history, appearing in the earliest Jewish texts.  It was (and is) typically used to mean something to the effect of “so be it | let it be so”, in terms of declaring something to be truthful or to confirm or assert it.  It was also often used as a way to indicate that one strongly agrees with something, which is where expressions like “amen to that” come from.

Bonus Facts:

  • The Hebrew word “amen” originally derives from another Hebrew word of similar meaning:  ʼāmán.  It is sometimes theorized, probably incorrectly, that this Hebrew word has its origins in the Egyptian god Amun, which is also sometimes spelled “Amen”.  However, most scholars think this is a mere coincidence and that there is no real connection between the two.
  • Amen was eventually ported from the Hebrew language to Greek then ultimately to Late Latin by Grecian theologians, who were translating the Bible, and finally to Arabic and English.
  • Amen isn’t just used by Christians and Jews; it is also popularly used by Muslims in pretty much the same way it is used by Jews and Christians.
  • One of the many names attributed to Jesus in the Bible is “The Amen” (faithful and true witness), in Revelation 3:14.
  • The last word of the Old Testament is “curse”, appearing in Malachi: “And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse.”
  • The last word in the Bible is “Amen” (at the end of Revelations): “The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with you all.  Amen”
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  • Mike

    Very interesting stuff. One small thing though, I think it’s “Revelation” singular, not plural.

    • Francis

      Lies and lies. The name Amin amen all originated from Egypt or Kemet meaning black land. Amun is one of the Egyptian god that predates the Hebrew or Jews. Before Moses and Abraham even though they are all born in what is called Africa now. Stop all the lies.

      • Truth

        You Definitely know what’s going On..Most of what they teach us today are all lies

      • Commonsense

        You sound like just another black supremacist crackpot. Racism is just as bad when blacks do it.

  • flowerstar

    AMEN [= אמן In Hebrew]:
    The Talmud teaches in a Midrash that the word ‘Amen’ is an acronym for the Hebrew phrase:
    אל מלך נאמן
    [“El Melech Ne’eman” = “God, Trustworthy/Loyal King”],
    the phrase recited silently by an individual before reciting the Shema. In addition, Jews say “Amen” after hearing a blessing, i.e., over food, a prayer, etc.

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  • David

    flowerstar August 17, 2012 at 3:02 am – Reply
    AMEN [= אמן In Hebrew]:
    The Talmud teaches in a Midrash that the word ‘Amen’ is an acronym for the Hebrew phrase:
    אל מלך נאמן
    [“El Melech Ne’eman” = “God, Trustworthy/Loyal King”],
    the phrase recited silently by an individual before reciting the Shema. In addition, Jews say “Amen” after hearing a blessing, i.e., over food, a prayer, etc.

    Which all goes back to the Egyptian model of Amen-Ra. Ra is the ‘Father of the Earth God’ from whom everything in our existence flows, the Sun. Amen is the unknowable (and presumed to be all powerful) entity behind the Sun.

    • truthbetold

      Incorrect. If you read the article it says it gos back before egyption days and there iz no connection.

      • asteraea L

        before ”egyption days ”. funny. its impossible.

  • Syed Moin Doja

    its it Amun ra , and not Amen ra?

    • David

      Depends upon which lingo you’re using.

  • Mateo Jose

    Can we please stop believing in all of these gods? Let’s put an end to superstitious nonsense in the USA.
    There probably is no god. Start living your lives people.

    • Paul

      It’s funny, most people who talk like that believe in karma or the ‘big bang’.

      What they fail to realize is that one is an unseen mysterious force, the other would’ve been an action caused by ‘mysterious forces’.

      But, believing in God is just “crazy” to them!!!

      Everyone needs to think about why they believe what they do, somewhere along the timeline of their lives there were many influences that molded their beliefs. Go back through & analyze them…

      • MarcoC

        It’s funny, most people who talk like that believe in karma or the ‘big bang’.

        “Karma” is just as much of a fantasy as any other mythological belief. Is a concept for which no evidence exist.

        We have boatfuls of evidence for the “Big Bang”. We can see it, hear it and mathematically calculate it.
        It also happens to be, among all the cosmological theories, the one that more closely can be associated with creationism. In fact, a priest was the one first coming up with the Big Bamg theory (which was called like that as a sign of ridicule).

        As per the “mysterious forces” you speak of, it is clear you know nothing about cosmology and it would serve you well to go read a few articles about it.

        • awaken

          Paul is free to be a believer, as are you to believe in whatever you believe. I would just ask, do you believe in love, kindness, goodness, compassion, self-discipline? These aren’t phenomena that aren’t readily explained by science, but yet you feel them, right?

          • MarcoC

            This is certainly a conversation that’s stretching over time. But as I have read this reply months later others too may come across it. So here it goes:

            Q. do you believe in love, kindness, goodness, compassion, self-discipline? These aren’t phenomena that aren’t readily explained by science, but yet you feel them, right?

            A. Are you saying that anything Science cannot yet explain is a sign of the Divine? That’s a dangerous game, one religious people have been playing a long time and losing regularly.
            Science and reason have divested much of life of the magical and mysterious. Sometimes I too think it is too bad because some of the fables are indeed beautiful.

            However, given the choice of knowing and not knowing, I prefer to know. Rather than imagine a god behind the sound of thunder, I prefer to know how electrical charges release and in the process produce high voltages that in turn rip the air creating the sound of thunder.

            No religious text told us how lightning and thunder were really created, we discovered it on our own and when we did, at least one god was relegated forever to mythology.

            This has happened so frequently and so surely that now we are arguing not about mundane events like storms and natural phenomena we can all see with our own eyes, but about things we cannot see and sometimes we cannot even comprehend.

            So far, every single natural manifestation that was attributed to a god of some sort has been explained to be part of nature and to obey the laws of physics. It’s not a good track record for religion because this powerful god has been getting smaller and smaller. His power fading away in the light of knowledge.

            Do you feel confident that, somehow, this God rears up on his hind legs just at the very end of the universe to claim back his supernatural mantel or do you think it more likely that science will explain these phenomena like it has everything else so far?

            As much as modern Science may seem like magic, with particles spontaneously coming into existence and matter transformed into states we can hardly comprehend, our cellphones would not work had we not at least uncovered this realm of the very small that exist parallel to our own reality.
            Without Einstein’s relativity, our GPS satellites would deposit you at the wrong address with regularity, for time passes slower in orbit than it does on earth. Without our knowledge of quantum mechanics, a bizarre world where particles can be multiple things at the same time, our transistors would not work. That would mean no microchips, no computers, no smartphones, no facetime with your relatives overseas.
            I’d say the record is almost unfairly stacked for science against the gods of our past. The gods of our present are either timid or vengeful or have a terribly thin skin, so thin that they need to have their egos stroked regularly by the faithful and in some cases they require offerings in blood to satisfy their insecurity.

            Yet, all these victories are for naught to the faithful. You gave up thunder, the sun and the moon, and every supernatural phenomena has been shown to be easily explainable or the work of fraudsters or simply misunderstood because of ignorance on our part. Over and over and over, yet you ask if science can explain “love, kindness, goodness, etc.” .

            Let me ask you: can religion explain those things? Aside from an all purpose “God Did it”.

            Better yet, how does religion explain when those emotions or qualities are lacking in the very men and women that should benefit the most from them? How many representatives of the various gods that littered history have shown themselves undeserving of those qualities?

            Science is the method by which we explain the natural world around us. Science is not the same as your religion or your god. Science does not ask for blind faith. It asks you only to be true to the evidence you find. Unfortunately the religious can only conceive of reality through the lens of their belief. They worship a god and a framework of belief built around the concept of this god, so those that do not believe as you do must still think and behave along the same lines.

            Hence, our God is Darwin or Einstein or NDT and our religion must be science. Once you reduce it that way, it is much easier to take pot shots at it on equal terms, isn’t it?

            Too bad that science is nothing like a religion. A religion commands you to believe in it and that doubt is a sin. Science begs you to ask questions and to have doubt. Science forces you to take your most cherished beliefs and look at them through the lens of the unbeliever.
            Science is a method we use to arrive at the truth of things. Sometimes is an absolute truth, sometimes a relative one. It can even be a temporary truth, until a better explanation comes along.
            But do not make a mistake of thinking that because of this science is always wrong.

            Think of science as a sharp knife. More sharpening doesn’t make the knife dull, it makes it sharper. A scientific theory can be sharpened by truth, but it doesn’t mean that what was true yesterday it is false today. Most of the times is is simply better understood.

            Even if science could not explain the things you have listed, which incidentally it can and you’d know that if you actually looked it up, it would not mean that a god or gods exist. You do realize that, right?

            The only consequence of science not knowing the explanation for something is that we need to look further. We need to study more.
            Science in the bronze and iron age did not know how thunder was created. Did that make Thor, the norse god of thunder, real? Does it mean that while we humans were ignorant of the world in front of us that the gods frolickend and lived and they died only when we discovered how the world really worked?

            We both know the answer is that no such god ever existed. Thor, or Ishkur or Jupiter did no more exist in the bronze age than they died during the enlightenment. They just never existed.

            So why do you ask? Do you think love is divine? Do you think elephants have a god they cry to when one of their own dies? Or do they just grieve the sudden loss of one of their herd?
            If they can grieve, they probably can love. Surely not exactly like we do, but they can love.

            Do they love because their elephant god created love or because love and grief are natural fruits of our evolution, part of the glue that keeps our societies together?
            Remember that evolution is not a race to perfection. The religious often wrongly believe that. Humans are not the last step in a ladder, but rather a branch of a tree. A branch as equal as many others.

            We are the only branch that developed advanced language skills and probably the only branch that can describe our own condition and our place in the universe, but that’s almost a fringe benefit of our evolution. It doesn’t mean we are the ones most perfectly evolved. There are other branches that are much better adapted to their environment and by that standard they could be seen as “more perfect”.

            Actually, we have a good idea of why Love and Kindness are valuable attributes in our society: without them we would not be where we are today. Without collaboration, without kindness, our species would have fizzled a long time ago.
            We are fragile, hairless monkeys. The only way we can get our food is by collaborating. We cannot fight the beasts of the jungle in a one on one contest, at least not on a regular basis. We cannot herd the other beasts on our own either.

            We need each other if we want to master our environment. Love and Kindness are just some of the tools we need to survive.

            Do we have ultimate proof of this? Not really. We have good theories (which is better than the Hypothesis that god created it all, a theory being a framework based on evidence that can explain reality and a hypothesis is what most people actually mean when they say “theory” in common parlance) and we have a remarkable winning streak on our side.

            Dirty harry would take out is 44 Magnum and ask “Do you feel lucky, punk?”.

            Do you feel lucky that those few things science has yet to fully explain will demonstrate a supernatural world that so far has been disproved every step of the way?

          • Matt

            Good shit Marco. I just wanted you to know that I read your comment. Most people know how to have an opinion but not to research it. I stopped trying a while ago but the anthropologist in me appreciates your efforts. I guess if people think Jesus (a combination of the Grecco/Roman Gods Zues and Jupiter btw) exists even though he was a Roman creation in their efforts to nationalize a very diverse group of people across the Mediterranean, then he exists in their minds and that is all that counts. That being said your comment was on point. Amen or Amun (egyptians did not use vowels) is literally taken from the Egyptian religion and people refuse to do any research whatsoever including the person who wrote this bullshit article. Not hard to research your beliefs, but people would rather watch cat videos or write ignorant comments instead. It is just how it is unfortunately. I know what it is like to write long things like that and nobody give a fuck, so just wanted to let you know I got your back. Took me almost 10 years of college studying stuff like this intensely, but I am sure whoever wrote this article knows more than guys like us, cause they spent 4 minutes of their life reading a wiki article (that I am constantly editing btw). Typical internet age geniuses in here for sure.

        • Augustine

          The big bang couldn’t just poof out of void. Matter translates to matter. God created matter.

          • Brooke A

            Who created God?

          • catgirllover

            According to “Christians” he always existed.

          • Winnifred777

            Good question Brooke A. God has no beginning. Why? And how is that different from the “Big Bang Theory”? God created time and matter. God is a Spirit and not subjected to matter. With time we have things such as yesterday, tomorrow, beginning and end. God created that. This might be something hard for us to understand since we are born in time and our very mindset and logic is subjected to time, and it is hard for us to think of possibilities outside of time. God created time, as he created other laws of this universe for the sake of order and mathematics.

          • catgirllover

            Wrong, spirits are made of energy, and what do you need for energy..matter.

          • MarcoC

            What you call “void” is not as empty as you think. We know that particles are created from nothing and disappear into nothing again. Why not entire universes?

        • Jr

          So Marco, are you telling that your skills and knowledge is beyond the power of our God?
          Because what your proving is not your belief, your just proving that your a wise man, or an intelligent one, or someone who can say something blah blah blah so that people will recognize you. contradicting one to another is just a huge waste of time when they are not believing in you. Plus, no matter what you say is just a comment, just… a… comment.

          -just a comment to comment 🙂

        • asteraea Lght

          ”fantasy as any other mythological belief. ”
          ”mythological ”(not abrahamic )
          Don’t you see ? Ancient Greek , Native American ,Suomi , Scandinavian Ancient Khem etc mithology reflected vision of world . )

      • asteraea Lght

        believing in God …. ? in what god
        ? jewish god? what its mean ”believing in jewish god”…
        or not believing in jewish god.

    • bearmon2010

      I feel sorry for you.

    • Mya

      How about some DEMOCRACY in the USA for a change? Let people believe what they want and desire to believe! Who are you to dictate your atheism to anyone? GOD? lmao People like you are what’s wrong with our beloved country. Think long and hard about what FREEDOM means!

      • Matt

        Just curious what freedom means. Seriously, enlighten this combat vet turned history teacher with your obvious wisdom. I would really like to see if your answer is anything like my students.

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  • I love such language as “probably incorrect’ and “:mere coincidence” Real honest scholarship.

    • Ma’at

      Exactly! Anything to keep from giving credit to Africa.

  • Yehoshua Friedman

    The order of the books in the Hebrew Bible is different from the “Old Testament” in the Christian Bible. The so-called O.T. ends with Malachi since it refers to the End of Days which neatly segues into the Gospels. The Hebrew Bible ends with Second Chronicles, whose final message is by the Persian King Cyrus (called messiah or annointed by Isaiah and said by some to be the son of Esther) calling on the Jewish exiles in Babylon to return to the land of Israel. The Christian Bible neatly changes the frame of reference.

  • Ebony KWU

    It’s funny that one would assume that the roots of this word couldn’t possibly come from any time period prior to Greek influence… Trace the Grecian timeline and beliefs, it ALL came from Egypt, Africa… which derived from Nubia, Africa

    If the history of those people and those before them weren’t destroyed and forgotten, then you’d be able to see the true history behind so much more than just this one word (belief systems/ ideology, cultures, words (language), wealth, power, government, etc.)

    @ Mateo Jose, just because they’re talking about how this word fits into different religious beliefs said nothing about what they worship… history and religion lie hand in hand; enlighten yourself

  • Ebony KWU

    Let me correct myself… not ALL of the Greek culture was direcly influenced ONLY by Egypt; but a large amount was, especially in theology

  • the truth

    When the Greeks came into Ancient Kemet/Eygpt with the bs trying to take it over, the warrior/King “Amen Hotep” would capture them and lined them up by the thousands, grab them by their hair and chop off their heads off and right before he’d swing the blade he made them say “Amen”.He purposely left some of them alive and the “Prayed” to Amen. To save their lives. They took it back to Greece and adopted it.

  • LG

    AMENti- (Egypt)

  • NCoe

    Again, more Christian propiganda …. Christians will never admit that their religion came after and they will never admit that most of their religion is based in Pagan tradition. Amun Ra was also referred to as Amen (Ah-Men) …. I have studied both Christian and Pagan religions, and sadly I have come to the understanding that Christians are the only ones that point views in their favor and they are the ones Judging, even though they say No One Can Judge but God. Look at the truth. Pagans were here first, they were happy and healthy, but people with different views came in and made their own religion and it was truth, according to them. Get your fact straight. Stop spreading hate. No matter your religion, we all share our world. Be kind, be happy and let others be. Also Amen means: so be it, and pagans say: so mote it be, same thing!!!! Blessed Be!!!

    • lolajuice

      Yahweh comes first because He created the universe and all that is in it. He is God, whom Christians worship. First and Last in fact.
      Happy pagans??? Probably not the ones who were brutally sacrificed by their kin. Paganism is abomination. Go learn about it again, I think you read the wrong books.

      • DavidB

        Yahweh?? Really? Do you mean Elhoim? one of the MANY gods in polytheistic Hebrew religion, which shared many similarities, and in fact STOLE many legends and god’s attributions from Babylonian and Canaanite pantheons – God EL, anyone? The Epic of Gilgamesh, anyone?

        Before, and even in monotheism, Hebrew people also killed themselves, offered BLOOD, ANIMAL sacrifices, like any other HEATHEN, or PAGAN religion in this world since humankind existed in this planet.

        So, please, don’t be delusional and feel morally superior to anyone or other any religious belief just because some guy turned the polytheistic Hebrew religion into a monotheistic one (Something the Egyptians made years before with a god called… surprise-surprise: AMUN/AMEN-RA) after being captives in Babylonia, stealing mush of their beliefs and myths.

        • Marcus

          Just a quick thought, anyone truly not believing in God or a spiritual realm, why are you commenting or why do you even study this?. It’s all a waste of time. Eat drink and be merry! Is there a purpose, or evolutionary drive to discover our origins? Why do you care if ppl believe in God? Why? Why do you care about anything but yourself? Why do you care if someone else is deceived? Why? Please provide honest opinion as I would really like to know your thought processes

      • asteraea Lght

        universe ? ))))
        your ignorance is impressive! maybe learn something about your religion ‘s origin first.

  • Mya

    “One of the many names attributed to Jesus in the Bible is “The Amen” (faithful and true witness), in Revelation 3:14”

    WRONG! One of the many names attributed to Jesus in the Bible was Ha’Amin ( the Amin ) which is from the same root ( family ) as Amen. Amin means “Believable” in Hebrew. Literally, and it is still used to this day. Unbelievable = Lo ya’amen ( literally = not to be believed ). The word “amen” is from this family and from the word “belief” which in Hebrew is “Emuna”. All of these words are used in the Hebrew Bible and are still used today. The roots of these words have absolutely nothing to do with the Egyptians, but rather are an intricate part of the Hebrew is a West Semitic language of the Afroasiatic language family ( mind you, there are over 300 dialects and languages of Afroasiatic family ). Egyptian ( Coptic ) also originated from an Afroasiatic source, therefore MANY of their words are similar, yet some are totally different in sound. The name Amun ( an Egyptian pharaoh ) is most likely a form of the very same word as all the Hebrew forms of the word “Belief”, meaning, “He who is to be believed”. Hence, the word “Amen” DID NOT derive from the Egyptians, but rather BOTH languages derived from the same source or area and developed on their own due to separate religions, traditions and regions.

  • Lawrence Saunders

    Those who insist religion & science are at odds in the minds of ppl of faith are wrong. Science is the religion of matter! YET, IS SCIENCE NOT THE END ALL EXPLAIN ALL! The one thing that you science worshipers dismiss is the very force that animates life. WHERE IS THE SCIENCE ON THE SPIRIT? One can read the notes of music on the paper, yet not appreciate the beauty until they are put to voice/instruments. Can science describe the aroma of a flower. The sorry of love lost cannot be measured with calibers & meters.
    There’s the material, which science is necessary to comprehend. Then there is the spirit, which requires something more. All things in balance!

  • Robert Randle

    I just have one little question: “Why is the word ‘Amen’ used at the end of a prayer because nowhere in the Bible does anyone use it in that manner; including Jesus?”

  • Jason Brownstone

    I am just very glad that the people who have acquired knowledge confidently share this knowledge for free. Every group, culture, race want to self-preserve and from thence dominate. The only single concept to accommodate lazy people is the concept of God which probably exist only inside of them through knowledge they have acquired by self and not through organizations, movements and significant others perpetrating dominance. However, being happy in life is an emotion that we would all want to subscribe to. Being happy has everything to Do with the knowledge you have and nothing to do with any god. If scientists were waiting on God, the body of knowledge available today to both make the world a better place or worse off would not have been there. Religious people of any category are the lazy bunch, worse off trying to self-preserve and if possible dominate. Get out there and do some reasonable thinking or reasoning. Do not just dance to the tunes of some control freak who always have a credit to give to some non-existential being while denying the potency they have within self to express thereby being limited and controlled by framework of some intelligently freak that existed long before us. The devil is usually blamed for everything. I don’t know if people born in 21st century can actually overcome that which existed before their great grandpa came into being. The answer lies in the mind, it’s use, what the mind is fed with and what really matters in life which is happiness. No one needs love except you are vulnerable and love is irrelevant if you are not vulnerable. If you are happy, that’s all that counts. Think to understand what happiness Is and God will be relevant in your life. Do not out of vulnerability position yourself to lose your happiness through some unnatural and unattainable standards of religion that is irrelevant in the age that we are in.

  • Jason Brownstone

    Religion is just about advancing a culture and the front runners have achieved much through gold, oil, drugs; guns, oil and diamonds. So its about self-preservation and dominance. At every step there has been violence perpetrated by religion.

  • Commonsense

    If !”Amen” is an acronym it cannot also be the Egyptian word Amun- Ra. Be logical.

  • imbosil

    I find it funny but maybe its the rebel inside me, ill stand for the one true living God. and no not the jesus the jesuit pope follow, nor obama. but the best part while you all sit and debate a endless debate thats been going on since the time you all think we evolved from a rock. ill stand for the real christ as he is the most hated!! removed from schools, tv, movies, mocked jesus number one mocked on allllllll tv, white house lite in fag colors, now one bathroom agenda. the pope is a flase scumbag and millions follow. obama is a alah/satanist. either or ill stand with the one hated by alllllllllllll! amen to that you can listen to a man who said its turned from amun to amen. yet iull stand for him and die since i am a terrorist and don’t trust my goverment. you are all fooled and fight smong yourselves. but i find it funny every mofo here that talks athiest or science religion. they were indoctrinated through schooling and college. yet i bet the man who wrote this is a drop out as myself. who knows wither or while you all fight and argue and will never figure it out. while they have us all enslaved in there never ending web. maybe put your efforts and watch humanity and seek God with your heart and compare us to the bible. the KJV not the new fake ones with many versus removed. older the better. anyways yeah go back to sleep its all fake yet our nation and world is ran by anti chirst. so if he isnt real why do they worship the devil? hahaha may God have mercy on us all and i hope im not sitting in a pit of hell because i myself was fooled for all my life and now i see me being lead to death my masses of imbosil’s that think text books can prove or disoprove my king. it is what it is and ill say what i allways say. those who have ears let em here those who don’t well… time and hostory and men oh wait i mean he/shes will prove it. hahaha unreal focus on today not shit 2000 years ago like how brain washed is everyone? pretty freaking bad. but it will all pass soon so here is a tip to all athiest out there. buy a gun stock up on food as this summer is gonna be a dusie. whooooooooo!

    • catgirllover

      You all believe we are nothing but a bunch of sentient mud creatures. News flash but the KJV is the one with versus removed because it does not fit your christian indoctrination. You hid the fact that Jesus was in fact black. King James was a pedophile, is this the guy you want writing books for you?

  • David

    Since i was young, my Rabbi told me that Amen is the acrostic for “E’l Melech Neeman” in Hebrew, which means “The Loyal King God”,