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Sunday, May 29 2011
The Amalekites (from the Hebrew name pronounced awm-awl-ek) were an ancient nomadic people who inhabited the general area between the Dead Sea and the Red Sea (see also Why Did Paul Say That Sinai Was In Arabia?). They are first mentioned in Bible History at the time of Abraham (one of Abraham's later descendants, a son of Jacob's brother Esau, was also named Amalek i.e. "36:12 And Timna was concubine to Eliphaz Esau's son; and she bare to Eliphaz Amalek: these were the sons of Adah Esau's wife" Genesis 36:12 KJV) when Abraham's nephew Lot was captured at Sodom (see also Abraham And The King Of Sodom).
"14:1 And it came to pass in the days of Amraphel king of Shinar, Arioch king of Ellasar, Chedorlaomer king of Elam, and Tidal king of nations; 14:2 That these made war with Bera king of Sodom, and with Birsha king of Gomorrah, Shinab king of Admah, and Shemeber king of Zeboiim, and the king of Bela, which is Zoar. 14:3 All these were joined together in the vale of Siddim, which is the salt sea. 14:4 Twelve years they served Chedorlaomer, and in the thirteenth year they rebelled.
"The LORD hath sworn that the LORD will have war with Amalek from generation to generation"
The subsequent history of the hostile Amalekites was that of constant conflict with the Israelites, beginning in the time of Moses (see The Prophets: Moses) and Joshua (before Israel arrived at "Israel" - see the Fact Finder question below), when it was prophesied that "the LORD hath sworn that the LORD will have war with Amalek from generation to generation."
"17:8 Then came Amalek, and fought with Israel in Rephidim. 17:9 And Moses said unto Joshua, Choose us out men, and go out, fight with Amalek: to morrow I will stand on the top of the hill with the rod of God in mine hand.
The reason for the prophecy against them was explained further, by Moses, regarding the jackal-like character of the Amalekites of that time i.e. how they "smote the hindmost of thee, even all that were feeble behind thee, when thou wast faint and weary; and he feared not God."
"25:17 Remember what Amalek did unto thee by the way, when ye were come forth out of Egypt [see The Exodus Prophecy and The Mount Sinai Prophecy]; 25:18 How he met thee by the way, and smote the hindmost of thee, even all that were feeble behind thee, when thou wast faint and weary; and he feared not God. 25:19 Therefore it shall be, when the LORD thy God hath given thee rest from all thine enemies round about, in the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee for an inheritance to possess it, that thou shalt blot out the remembrance of Amalek from under heaven; thou shalt not forget it." (Deuteronomy 25:17-19 KJV)
The territory of the Amalekites remained constant for centuries, "in the land of the south," while at the same time they were often allied with the anti-Israel people farther north.
"13:29 The Amalekites dwell in the land of the south: and the Hittites, and the Jebusites, and the Amorites, dwell in the mountains: and the Canaanites dwell by the sea, and by the coast of Jordan [see also Beyond Jordan]." (Numbers 13:29 KJV)
The only reason that the Israelites were "favored" by the LORD (see 'Before Abraham Was, I AM') is because they were the first to receive the Law of God, and therefore the first to be expected to obey it. Whenever the Israelites became disobedient to the LORD, the LORD permitted their enemies, including the Amalekites, to overpower them, in order to crush their arrogance (an adolescent attitude invented by Satan i.e. "14:14 I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High" Isaiah 14:14 KJV).
"3:12 And the children of Israel did evil again in the sight of the LORD: and the LORD strengthened Eglon the king of Moab against Israel, because they had done evil in the sight of the LORD. 3:13 And he gathered unto him the children of Ammon and Amalek, and went and smote Israel, and possessed the city of palm trees. 3:14 So the children of Israel served Eglon the king of Moab eighteen years." (Judges 3:12-14 KJV)
By the time of the establishment of the Israelite monarchy (see Israelite Monarchy - The Origin), Israel's first king, Saul, continued the warfare against the Amalekites.
"14:47 So Saul took the kingdom over Israel, and fought against all his enemies on every side, against Moab, and against the children of Ammon, and against Edom, and against the kings of Zobah, and against the Philistines: and whithersoever he turned himself, he vexed them. 14:48 And he gathered an host, and smote the Amalekites, and delivered Israel out of the hands of them that spoiled them." (1 Samuel 14:47-48 KJV)
It was in fact Saul's warfare against the Amalekites that caused him (among other serious failures in judgment) to be removed as king - not because he defeated the Amalekites, but because he coveted their goods that were have been destroyed.
"15:7 And Saul smote the Amalekites from Havilah until thou comest to Shur, that is over against Egypt. 15:8 And he took Agag the king of the Amalekites alive, and utterly destroyed all the people with the edge of the sword. 15:9 But Saul and the people spared Agag, and the best of the sheep, and of the oxen, and of the fatlings, and the lambs, and all that was good, and would not utterly destroy them: but every thing that was vile and refuse, that they destroyed utterly.
David fought the Amalekites, even while he was still fighting Saul (see Israelite Monarchy - The Civil War). Notice how the Bible itself later verifies how "the Amalekites: for those nations were of old the inhabitants of the land."
"27:8 And David and his men went up, and invaded the Geshurites, and the Gezrites, and the Amalekites: for those nations were of old the inhabitants of the land, as thou goest to Shur, even unto the land of Egypt." (1 Samuel 27:8 KJV)
Battles against the tenacious Amalekites continued through most of David's reign (see also David, Future King Of Israel).
"30:1 And it came to pass, when David and his men were come to Ziklag on the third day, that the Amalekites had invaded the south, and Ziklag, and smitten Ziklag, and burned it with fire; 30:2 And had taken the women captives, that were therein: they slew not any, either great or small, but carried them away, and went on their way.
Fact Finder: How is it that "the land of milk and honey" was given to the people of Israel, rather than the people who merely inhabited the land? How is it that the principle applies to all people, of all time?
This Day In History, May 29
1167: Frederick Barbarossa was defeated by the Lombard League at the Battle of Legnano.
1328: Philip VI was crowned King of France.
1453: Ottoman Turks (listen to our Sermon The Ottoman Empire) under Sultan Mehmed II seized Constantinople (listen also to our Sermon Constantine's Papacy) after a seven-month siege. Emperor Constantine XI was killed in the battle. The Eastern Roman Empire collapsed, marking the end of the European Middle Ages.
1500: Portuguese explorer Bartolomeu Diaz, who discovered the Cape of Good Hope, drowned during a voyage.
1555: The Peace of Amasya was concluded between the Ottoman Empire and Persia.
1660: King Charles II was restored to the English throne after the Puritan Commonwealth.
1727: Peter II was proclaimed Czar (the Russian form of "Caesar") of Russia.
1838: John George Lambton, the earl of Durham, landed at Quebec. British PM Lord Melbourne had appointed Lord Durham governor general of Canada to investigate colonial grievances after the Canadian rebellions of 1837. The Durham Report urged unification of Upper Canada (Ontario) and Lower Canada (Quebec) and institution of government by colonists themselves. Unlike the American colonists to the south who rebelled after their demands were not met, all of the demands of the Canadian colonists were met, thereby avoiding another "revolution in the Americas."
1903: King Alexander Obrenovich of Serbia, and Queen Draga, were assassinated in Belgrade by the "Black Hand" organization.
1914: The ocean liner Empress of Ireland sank quickly in the Gulf of St. Lawrence off Rimouski, Quebec after colliding with a Norwegian coal ship in dense fog. 1,012 lives were lost, the worst maritime disaster in Canadian history.
1918: Armenian forces defeated the Ottomans at the Battle of Sardarapat.
1944: A German submarine sank the USS Block Island, a U.S. aircraft carrier, near Madeira. It was the only U.S. carrier lost in the Atlantic Ocean during the Second World War.
1950: The RCMP (Royal Canadian Mounted Police, the "Mounties") ship St. Roch arrived back at Halifax, Nova Scotia, becoming the first ship to circumnavigate North America.
1953: Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norkay become the first (known) humans to reach the top of Mount Everest.
1964: The Arab League met in "East Jerusalem," resulting in the creation of the "Palestinian Liberation Organization."
1966: Thanh Quang, a South Vietnamese Buddhist nun, committed suicide by burning with gasoline to protest the U.S. support of the Saigon regime.
1985: Amputee Steve Fonyo completed his cross-Canada run at Victoria, British Columbia; the marathon took 14 months.
1990: Boris Yeltsin was elected president of the Russian republic, thereby giving him an official power base to attack Soviet president Mikhail Gorbachev.