The Amalekites were one of the archenemies of the Israelites. They were an ancient biblical nation living south of the land of Canaan in the Negev region. The Amalekites are renowned in the Bible as the first nation to attack the Israelites after the Exodus from Egypt.
But where did this nation come from? Now to get the lineage right let’s go to the Bible records. The Amalekites are named after Amalek who was the son of Eliphaz, who was the son of Esau, the father of the Edomites. Esau was a son of Isaac, who was the son of Abraham. And Esau was the twin brother of Jacob, who was the father of the Israelites.
But there was enmity between the twin brothers because Jacob tricked his father Isaac into giving him the birthright blessing that should have gone to the firstborn son, Esau. This hatred was passed down to his descendants, including his grandson, Amalek.
The warlike Amalekites were a constant enemy of the Israelites. Here are some of the stories in the Bible about their conflict with Israel.
In Exodus 17:8-16, we read how Amalek and his tribe makes war in the wilderness against the Israelites as they came out of slavery in Egypt. The Hebrew leader, Moses orders Joshua to lead Israel into battle against the Amalekites. Now this is a fierce hand-to-hand combat with spears, swords, and shields.
Moses watches the battle from a nearby hillside. When Moses’ hands are raised, Israel prevails, but when they are lowered, Israel falters. So, those men with Moses, help to keep his hands raised through the entire battle until Israel wins the battle.
Then in Deuteronomy 25:17-19, we read that the Amalekites were cursed, and their annihilation predicted when the Israelites were specifically commanded to “blot out the remembrance of Amalek from under heaven” once they have taken possession of the promised land in retribution for “what Amalek did to [them] on the way as [they] were coming out of Egypt.”
In the book of I Samuel 15, the prophet Samuel identifies Amalek as the enemy of the Israelites, saying “Thus says the Lord of hosts: I will punish Amalek for what he did to Israel, how he ambushed him on the way when he came up from Egypt.”
God then commands Saul to destroy the Amalekites and carried out a systematic campaign against them. The prophet Samuel even identifies King Agag of Amalek as an enemy and killer, saying “As your sword has made women childless, so shall your mother be childless among women.”
Then again in I Samuel 30 there is the record of when the Amalekites invaded and burnt the town of Ziklag and took away its people into captivity. The future king David leads a successful counterattack against the Amalekites to recover the people and “all that the Amalekites had carried away”.
Then in II Samuel 1, we read how an Amalekite warrior tells David that he found King Saul leaning on his spear after the battle of Gilboa. The Amalekite proudly claims to have killed King Saul and removed his crown. Dismayed that the Amalekite should kill the anointed king of Israel, David gives orders to his men to kill the Amalekite.
Stories about the Amalekites are mentioned 23 times in 9 books of the Bible. The last time they are mentioned in the Bible is in I Chronicles 4:42,43, when the last remnants of the Amalekites were annihilated by the Simeonites during the time of King Hezekiah.
But what is surprising is that at the moment, over 2000 years later, there is no archaeological evidence or reference of the Amalekite people outside the Bible.
So, if you would like to read the stories in the Bible of the Amalekites and other ancient nations, then I’d like to recommend The Incredible Journey free Bible Reading Guide. Just scan the QR code on the screen or go to The Incredible Journey website, tij.tv to receive your free Bible Reading Guide.