Amalek Remembered

Deuteronomy 25:17-19

The portion ends with a reminder of the battle with Amalek before the giving of the Torah, recorded initially in Exodus 17. The people are commanded to remember what they did to the nation, attacking them from behind when they were weak and tired, showing no fear of God. Moses instructs the people that when God has given them respite from their surrounding enemies and they have settled in the land, they must wipe out the memory of Amalek from under the heavens. Yet, he exhorts them, they must not ever forget.

 

The Israel Bible reminds us that this is one of three commandments which the Israelites are meant to fulfill only after successfully conquering the Land of Israel. Amalek, the Israel Bible explains, is more than a nation; it represents an ideology which is antithetical to that of the nation of Israel. Therefore, once they are settled, the people are to wage war against Amalek and their belief system. It is during Saul’s time, in 1 Samuel 15, that God calls up the young king to fulfill this obligation. Unfortunately, Saul does not follow God’s command to the letter and is subsequently removed from the throne by God, clearing the way for David to become king.

 

Virtual Classroom Discussion

Based on the text (here and in Exodus 17), what do you think is the antithetical belief system which Amalek represents?

Comments ( 7 )

The comments below do not necessarily reflect the beliefs and opinions of The Israel Bible™.

  • There is an eternal war between Amalek and the sons of G-d. They first came on stage in the desert when israel was on their way to the promised land according to the plans of HaShem. He planned prosperity and shalom for them, living His Shadow. Amalek tried to wipe out these plans. But….according to Jer. 29:11(“ For I know what plans I have for you……”) So it is in each generation Amalek that tries to destroy the plans of G-d, but on the choises that people make, those plans are carried out… That’s why in Babylon Haman a representative and descendant of Amalek tried to wipe out all Jews. Amalek, you can say, is the appearance of evil and HaShem's ( and also our) eternal enemy.

  • Thank you for sharing your thoughts. These verses elicit much discussion among the Sages regarding what exactly Amalek represents that warrants obliteration. According to the medieval commentator Rashi, based on a play on words in Hebrew, Amalek attacked the Israelites at a time when the world saw them as invulnerable. Sure, they lost, but they “cooled” Israel off in the eyes of the other nations, making them think they stood a chance against the Children of Israel and their God. That same word (“karecha” in Hebrew) comes from the root of happenstance, meaning Amalek denies that God even has a plan.

    • To know of YHWH and going against His plan shows they did not believe only knew about HaShem. I thank you so much for this site, as a Christian I have learned so much. There is a difference between knowing of HaShem and knowing or desiring to know.

      I need to learn and have the Torah written in my heart not my head. Again thank you.

    • Thank you all, and Ahuva for that clarification. I think it makes more sense when you say Amalek is one that denies that Yahweh has a plan, because surely, having heard of the mighty things Yahweh had done for Yisrael, especially in the wake of the parting of the Red Sea, how could they attack a nation with such a mighty Elohim.

  • Diana Brown

    I agree that the spirit of Amalek must be fought in each generation. They sneak up and attack the vulnerable and HaShem hates that.

  • Magda

    What comes to mind is: any belief system (subtle or out in the open) against the God of Abraham, Izaac and Jacob; His Land and His people. This would be the same as age-old anti-Semitism and the modern growing monster of anti-Zionism/ anti-Israel, which is the same as anti-Semitism.

  • Jayne

    Amalek was a descendant of Esau so must have had some knowledge of YHWH. The Israelites did not intend to attack them. Amalek’s belief system wanted to confound YHWH’s plans. Saul’s refusal to kill Agag the Amalekite as commanded by God resulted in the birth of Haman who tried to eradicate the Jews. Haman had the same spirit as Amalek.

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