What the scriptures say about
AMALEK, AMALEKITES
a nomadic enemy tribe of Israel in the wilderness around Arabia and Canaan
References:
Easton's Bible Dictionary | Smith's Bible Dictionary | International Standard Bible Encyclopedia | Thompson Chain Reference

AMALEK in scriptures [BibleGateway Search]   Site search: FreeFind

select Cross Reference Bible links
  Genesis 14:7   |   Genesis 36:12-16   |   Exodus 17:8-16   |   Numbers 13:29   |   Numbers 14:25,43-45   |   Numbers 24:20 (Balaam)   |   Deuteronomy 25:17-19  


AMALEK [Easton's Bible Dictionary]

Dweller in a valley, the son of Eliphaz and grandson of Esau (Genesis 36:12; 1 Chronicles 1:36); the chief of an Idumean tribe (Genesis 36:16). His mother was a Horite, a tribe whose territory the descendants of Esau had seized.


AMALEKITE [Easton's Bible Dictionary]

A tribe that dwelt in Arabia Petraea, between the Dead Sea and the Red Sea.

They were not the descendants of Amalek, the son of Eliphaz, for they existed in the days of Abraham (Genesis 14:7). They were probably a tribe that migrated from the shores of the Persian Gulf and settled in Arabia.

"They dwelt in the land of the south...from Havilah until thou comest to Shur" (Numbers 13:29; 1 Samuel 15:7).
They were a pastoral, and hence a nomadic race. Their kings bore the hereditary name of Agag (Numbers 24:7; 1 Samuel 15:8).

They attempted to stop the Israelites when they marched through their territory (Deuteronomy 25:18), attacking them at Rephidim (Exodus 17:8-13; Compare Deuteronomy 25:17; 1 Samuel 15:2).

They afterwards attacked the Israelites at Hormah (Numbers 14:45).

We read of them subsequently as in league with the Moabites (Judges 3:13) and the Midianites (Judges 6:3).

Saul finally desolated their territory and destroyed their power (1 Samuel 14:48; 15:3), and David recovered booty from them (1 Samuel 30:18-20).

In the Babylonian inscriptions they are called Sute, in those of Egypt Sittiu, and the Amarna tablets include them under the general name of Khabbati, or "plunderers."


AMALEKITES [Smith's Bible Dictionary]

A nomadic tribe of uncertain origin, which occupied the peninsula of Sinai and the wilderness intervening between the southern hill-ranges of Palestine and the border of Egypt. (Numbers 13:29; 1 Samuel 15:7; 27:8) Their wealth consisted in flocks and herds. Mention is made of a "town" (1 Samuel 15:5) but their towns could have been little more than stations or nomadic enclosures.

The Amalekites first came in contact with the Israelites at Rephidim, but were signally defeated. (Exodus 17:8-16) In union with the Canaanites they again attacked the Israelites on the borders of Palestine, and defeated them near Hormah. (Numbers 14:45) Saul undertook an expedition against them. (1 Samuel 14:48) Their power was thenceforth broken, and they degenerated into a horde of banditti. Their destruction was completed by David. (1 Samuel 30:1-17)


Amalekites, Mount of
a mountain in Ephraim, (Judges 12:15) probably so named because the Amalekites once held possession of it.


AMALEK, AMALEKITE [International Standard Bible Encyclopedia]

am'-a-lek, a-mal'-e-kit, am'-a-lek-it (`amaleq, `amaleqi):

A tribe dwelling originally in the region south of Judah, the wilderness of et-Tih where the Israelites came into conflict with them. They were nomads as a people dwelling in that tract would naturally be. When they joined the Midianites to invade Israel, they came "with their cattle and their tents" (Judges 6:3-5). They are not to be identified with the descendants of Esau (Genesis 36:12,16) because they are mentioned earlier, in the account of the invasion of Chedorlaomer (Genesis 14:7) and in Balaam's prophecy (Numbers 24:20) Amalek is called "the first of the nations," which seems to refer to an early existence. We are uncertain of their origin, for they do not appear in the list of nations found in Genesis 10. They do not seem to have had any relationship with the tribes of Israel, save as, we may surmise, some of the descendants of Esau were incorporated into the tribe. It is probable that they were of Semitic stock though we have no proof of it.

The first contact with Israel was at Rephidim, in the wilderness of Sinai, where they made an unprovoked attack and were defeated after a desperate conflict (Exodus 17:8-13; Deuteronomy 25:17-18). On account of this they were placed under the ban and Israel was commanded to exterminate them (Deuteronomy 25:19; 1 Samuel 15:2-3). The next encounter of the two peoples was when the Israelites attempted to enter Canaan from the west of the Dead Sea. The spies had reported that the Amalekites were to be found in the south, in connection with the Hittites, Jebusites and Amorites (Numbers 13:29). The Israelites at first refused to advance, but later determined to do so contrary to the will of God and the command of Moses. They were met by Amalek and the Canaanites and completely defeated (Numbers 14:39-45). Amalek is next found among the allies of Moab in their attack upon Israel in the days of Eglon (Judges 3:13). They were also associated with the Midianites in their raids upon Israel (Judges 6:3), and they seemed to have gained a foothold in Ephraim, or at least a branch of them, in the hill country (Judges 5:14; 12:15), but it is evident that the great body of them still remained in their old habitat, for when Saul made war upon them he drove them toward Shur in the wilderness toward Egypt (1 Samuel 15:1-9). David also found them in the same region (1 Samuel 27:8; 30:1). After this they seem to have declined, and we find, in the days of Hezekiah, only a remnant of them who were smitten by the Simeonites at Mount Seir (1 Chronicles 4:41-43). They are once mentioned in Psalms in connection with other inveterate enemies of Israel (Psalms 83:7).

The hatred inspired by the Amalekites is reflected in the passages already mentioned which required their utter destruction. Their attack upon them when they were just escaped from Egypt and while they were struggling through the wilderness made a deep impression upon the Israelites which they never forgot, and the wrath of David upon the messenger who brought him news of the death of Saul and Jonathan, declaring himself to be the slayer of Saul, was no doubt accentuated by his being an Amalekite (2 Samuel 1:1-16).

H. Porter


BOAST [Thompson Chain Reference]
 

Cross Reference Bible | Bible Dictionary | Today's Bible Commentary