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Issue #67 - 12/10
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Amalek – An enemy or someone to hate?

When the people of Israel went out from Egypt, they arrived in a place called "Rephidim" and fought against an enemy called Amalek. This enemy was a nomad tribe that lived in the southern desert of the promise land, the enemy of all the agriculturists and the settlers.

The person Amalek was actually the grandson of Esau, the brother of Jacob, as we read in Genesis 36:12-

Jacob and Esau

"וְתִמְנַע הָיְתָה פִילֶגֶשׁ, לֶאֱלִיפַז בֶּן-עֵשָׂו,
 וַתֵּלֶד לֶאֱלִיפַז, אֶת-עֲמָלֵק; אֵלֶּה, בְּנֵי עָדָה אֵשֶׁת עֵשָׂו"

 

"And Timna was concubine to Eliphaz Esau's son; and she bore to Eliphaz Amalek.  These are the sons of Adah Esau's wife"

Probably there is a connection between the rivalry between the sons of Isaac and the one between the people who developed out of those two.

In Exodus 17 we encounter the first rival as we read in verses 8-16-

Moses and his hands"וַיָּבֹא, עֲמָלֵק; וַיִּלָּחֶם עִם-יִשְׂרָאֵל, בִּרְפִידִם.
 וַיֹּאמֶר מֹשֶׁה אֶל-יְהוֹשֻׁעַ בְּחַר-לָנוּ אֲנָשִׁים, וְצֵא הִלָּחֵם בַּעֲמָלֵק;
מָחָר, אָנֹכִי נִצָּב עַל-רֹאשׁ הַגִּבְעָה, וּמַטֵּה הָאֱלֹהִים, בְּיָדִי.
 וַיַּעַשׂ יְהוֹשֻׁעַ, כַּאֲשֶׁר אָמַר-לוֹ מֹשֶׁה--לְהִלָּחֵם, בַּעֲמָלֵק;
וּמֹשֶׁה אַהֲרֹן וְחוּר, עָלוּ רֹאשׁ הַגִּבְעָה.
 וְהָיָה, כַּאֲשֶׁר יָרִים מֹשֶׁה יָדוֹ--וְגָבַר יִשְׂרָאֵל;
 וְכַאֲשֶׁר יָנִיחַ יָדוֹ, וְגָבַר עֲמָלֵק. וִידֵי מֹשֶׁה כְּבֵדִים,
 וַיִּקְחוּ-אֶבֶן וַיָּשִׂימוּ תַחְתָּיו וַיֵּשֶׁב עָלֶיהָ;
 וְאַהֲרֹן וְחוּר תָּמְכוּ בְיָדָיו, מִזֶּה אֶחָד וּמִזֶּה אֶחָד,
 וַיְהִי יָדָיו אֱמוּנָה, עַד-בֹּא הַשָּׁמֶשׁ.
וַיַּחֲלֹשׁ יְהוֹשֻׁעַ אֶת-עֲמָלֵק וְאֶת-עַמּוֹ, לְפִי-חָרֶב.
 וַיֹּאמֶר יְהוָה אֶל-מֹשֶׁה, כְּתֹב זֹאת זִכָּרוֹן בַּסֵּפֶר
, וְשִׂים, בְּאָזְנֵי יְהוֹשֻׁעַ:  כִּי-מָחֹה אֶמְחֶה אֶת-זֵכֶר עֲמָלֵק, מִתַּחַת הַשָּׁמָיִם.
 וַיִּבֶן מֹשֶׁה, מִזְבֵּחַ; וַיִּקְרָא שְׁמוֹ, יְהוָה נִסִּי.
 וַיֹּאמֶר, כִּי-יָד עַל-כֵּס יָהּ, מִלְחָמָה לַיהוָה, בַּעֲמָלֵק--מִדֹּר, דֹּר."

"The Amalekites came and attacked the Israelites at Rephidim. Moses said to Joshua, “Choose some of our men and go out to fight the Amalekites. Tomorrow I will stand on top of the hill with the staff of God in my hands.” So Joshua fought the Amalekites as Moses had ordered, and Moses, Aaron and Hur went to the top of the hill. As long as Moses held up his hands, the Israelites were winning, but whenever he lowered his hands, the Amalekites were winning. When Moses’ hands grew tired, they took a stone and put it under him and he sat on it. Aaron and Hur held his hands up—one on one side, one on the other—so that his hands remained steady till sunset. So Joshua overcame the Amalekite army with the sword. Then the LORD said to Moses, “Write this on a scroll as something to be remembered and make sure that Joshua hears it, because I will completely blot out the name of Amalek from under heaven.” Moses built an altar and called it The LORD is my Banner. He said, “Because hands were lifted up against the throne of the LORD, the LORD will be at war against the Amalekites from generation to generation.”

 
The amalkites were fighting against the people of Israel before they came to Mount Sinai. The battle here is being managed with the help of Joshua the warrior, the leader of the army, and Moses as the spiritual leader. In the end of the fight, there is a saying that this battle will be without an end, in every generation. The Lord will end this battle at one point in the history. Until that point, we can see in The Scriptures three meetings with the Amalkites.

Before we will see those three meetings I must tell you my feeling about this subject. Unfortunately, people hate other people, nations hate other nations, and otherwise we didn't have wars between them. When I look at those verses and the commandment from Deuteronomy 25:19, after the Bible needed to explain why we need to destroy the Amalkites (they interrupted the people of Israel when they were exhausted, and they didn’t fear from G-d), I am feeling embarrassed.

I don’t think that the message of the bible is to have enemies in your heart or your mind. Maybe the purpose of the story with the Amalekites is to tell us what we shouldn’t do. We don’t have to use the weakness of the other; we shouldn't behave like King Saul that destroyed almost all the Amalkites in 1 Samuel 15 or David in 2 Samuel 1.  Even tough, the Amalkites were our enemy in Judges 3:13 or in Judges 6:3, we should act different. We also know that Haman that appears in the book of Esther is considered to a descendant of the Amalekites. 

We don’t need someone to hate, Peace and Love

what we need is someone to love,

only then we will win, and all will be one!

If we won't give up and lift our hands like Moses,

most of us will be able to enjoy the peace.

    

      
 

 
Main phrases of the post + transcription + translation

 

Hebrew   Transcription   Translation 
עֲמָלֵק   'ămālēq   Amalekite 
יָרִיב   yārîb   Rival 
מִדְבָּר   midbār   Desert 
אוֹיֵב   'ôyē v Enemy 
אָהַב   'āha v Loved 
שָׂנֵא   Śānē'  Hated
שָׁלוֹם   šālôm   Peace 

 
 
 
 

 
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