BEN-AMMI (bĕn-ăm'ī, Heb. ben‘ammî, son of my people). Son of the younger daughter of Lot (Gen.19.38) whom she conceived through her own father following the destruction of Sodom. The progenitor of the Ammonites. Moab shares a like origin through the older sister (Gen.19.37).

BEN-AMMI bĕn ăm’ ī (בֶּנ־עַמִּ֑י, son of my people). The progenitor of the Ammonites. After the death of Lot’s wife, when Lot had fled from Sodom with his family, his daughters were panic-stricken over the consequences of recent events for the future of their father and his descendants. In an act of desperation they succeeded, on successive nights, in getting their father drunk and through incestuous union with him each bore a son. The child born to the older daughter was named Moab. The son of the younger daughter, Ben-ammi. He was the father of the Ammonites (Gen 19:38). Both nations (Moab and Ammon) remain close to Edom in their continuous strife with Israel.

It has been suggested that the account appears in the Biblical record to show the hatred and contempt Israel had for the two powers. Such a view is unwarranted, however, because the animosity between the rival powers did not arise out of Moab and Ammon’s immoral origin, but out of the land disputes stemming from divine grants and international relationships produced by them. Even Jehovah’s blessings and judgments have these as their basis (Deut 2:19; 23:3; 2 Chron 20:10).

International Standard Bible Encyclopedia (1915)