Monday, October 4, 2010

About Amalek

As I stated in a previous post (October 4, 2010: Facing Kedolaomer), Abraham's grandson Esau was the grandfather of Amalek. Genesis 36 is a treasure trove of genealogical information which I am still exploring, but so far let's remind ourselves of these connections:

Abraham's sons are Isaac and Ishmael.
Isaac's twin sons are Jacob and Esau.
Jacob is the father of twelve sons, the patriarchs of the twelve tribes of Israel.
Esau's sons are Eliphaz, Reuel, Jeush, Jalam, and Korah.
Eliphaz has Teman, Omar, Zepho, Gatam, Kenaz and Amalek.

The Scripture says Amalek is the son of Timna (Eliphaz's concubine) in Genesis 36:12. No information is given here about the other sons' mothers. I suspect more information will turn up eventually as I go on, because I know I have read somewhere else in Scripture about Timna before.

As the previous post indicated, the Amalekites came to be known as fierce enemies of God's people, and especially associated with those who wanted to wipe out Israel. Also, they seem to be a people which God wanted entirely eliminated. That may seem strange, but perhaps this is because of His covenant with the Israelites, i.e., that He had said that those who curse Israel will themselves be cursed. (Genesis 12:2-3). Also, the retaliation against the enemies of His people always seems to be in proportion to what harm these enemies intend to inflict upon His people. In this case, since the Amalekites wished to completely destroy Israel, it is 'fair' that God would also seek to wipe out the Amalekites. I cannot know the full extent of God's purposes, except as they are revealed in the Bible, but perhaps these Scriptures can shed some light:


Gen. 36 12 (Esau's son Eliphaz has a concubine Timna, who bears Amalek)

Exodus 17:8, 14,16 (Amalekites attack Israelites at Rephidim, Lord vows to blot out Amalek, the Lord would be at war against the Amalekites from generation to generation)

Numbers 24:20 (Balaam says Amalek was first among nations, but would come to ruin)

Deuteronomy 25:17 see also I Samuel 15:2 (Amalekites waylaid Israel as they left Egypt)
25:19 (" shall blot out the memory of Amalek...")

Judges 5:14 (Amalekites once lived in the hill country of Ephraim)

I Samuel 15:3(Lord will punish Amalekites for waylaying Israel, destroy everything, do not
spare them)
28:18 (Saul does not carry out God's fierce wrath against the Amalekites)

Psalm 83:5-7 (Edom(Esau), Ishmaelites, Moab, Hagrites, Gebal, Ammon, Amalek, Philistia,Tyre and Assyria form an alliance against Israel -- and by association, against God)


Numbers 14:45 (Amalekites and Canaanites attack and overwhelm disobedient Israelites)

Judges 6:3 (Amalekites & other eastern peoples invade, ravage crops and animals)
7:12(Midianites, Amalekites & other eastern peoples prepare to attack Israel)
10:12(God had delivered Israel from Egyptians, Amorites, Ammonites, Philistines, Sidonians, Amalekites and Maonites, yet they forsook Him)

I Samuel 14:48 (Saul's military victories against Israel's enemies, including Amalekites)
15:6 (Saul warns Kenites to move away before he attacks Amalekites)
15:20 (Saul claims to have completely destroyed the Amalekites, but has spared Agag)
27:8 (David and men raid Girzites and Amalekites. From ancient times, these lived in the land extending to Shur and Egypt)
30:1 (Amalekites raided Ziklag and the Negev)

II Samuel 1:1 (David returns from defeating the Amalekites)
1:13 ("I am the son Amalekite" David kills him because the man claims to have killed Saul, the Lord's anointed king.)

I Chronicles 4:43 (Simeonites kill the remaining Amalekites who had escaped to the hill country of Seir.)

Interestingly, in the book of Esther it is revealed that the enemy who wanted to systematically wipe out all of the Jews was also likely an Amalekite. Esther 3:1 says that Haman was the "son of Hammedatha, the Agagite". Agag was an Amalekite king.

Another sobering thought that comes to mind is that originally, Esau had the opportunity to be part of the people of God. He sold that birthright (with all of its spiritual aspects as well) by considering it less important than a bowl of stew, and then also lost his father's blessing when his twin brother Jacob deceived blind Isaac into thinking that Jacob was actually Esau. Esau at first consoled himself with the thought of killing his brother, but their mother Rebekah sent Jacob far away to his uncle's house in order to cool off the situation. Years later, Jacob and Esau had a time of reconciliation, yet it seemed an imperfect truce, for Jacob was reluctant to live near Esau. When Esau eventually moves off near Seir, the Edomites come to be known more for their enmity against Jacob/Israel than anything else. Was the grudge and a sense of having been cheated held somewhere deep in Esau's heart, nourished, and passed on to his descendants?  It certainly seems that way.

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