By: Joseph Jacobs
Mishnaic Hebrew and Aramaic for "riches." The word itself is given in the Sermon on the Mount. "Ye can not serve God and mammon" (Matt. vi. 24). There is no evidence that there was a Syriac god of this name, the modern idea that such a god existed being derived from Milton's personification of the name—"Mammon, the least erected spirit that fell from heaven" ("Paradise Lost," i. 679). The word occurs in Abot ii. 12, where almsgiving is called "the salt of Mammon or riches." Gesenius suggests that the word was derived from "maṭmon" ("treasure"), with assimilation of the "ṭet." The spelling with three "m's," however, is apparently not justified; the Greek form with two is held by most scholars to be correct.