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November 24, 2015


by Leslie John

Leslie M. John

”For he said, Because the LORD hath sworn that the LORD will have war with Amalek from generation to generation” (Exodus 17:16)

Esau was cheated twice by his younger brother Jacob, and therefore, Esau hated Jacob. Amalek was born to Timna, a concubine of Eliphaz, the son of Esau, who was the son of Isaac. Much later after Esau was cheated his descendants, who were known as Edomites, and also the Amalekites, who were the descendants of Eliphaz, became enemies of Israel.

Edomites and Amalakites were always at war with the chosen people of God, Israel. It was after the deliverance from Egypt after four hundred years of their slavery there that the children of Israel walked out of it, under the leadership of Moses. They and all their cattle walked on the dry land in the middle of Red Sea and came to ‘Rephidim’, where Amalakites attacked them from behind. Cruel as they were, they were cowards as well to attack them from behind. The LORD was with the children of Israel.

Moses stood up on top of the hill with the rod of God in his hand and as long as his hands were up pointing heavenward Israel prevailed and as his hands went down the Amalekites prevailed. Aaron and Hur stood either side of Moses and helped him to sit on a stone and held his hands aloft. In the meanwhile Joshua discomfited the Amalekites. It was at this time that the LORD swore that He will be at war with Amalekites from generation to generation. (Exodus 17:8-16)

Many years later King Saul offered burnt offerings before going for war against Philistines. Except for the priests no one was authorized to offer sacrifices in the Old Testament period. When Samuel delayed in coming to the Gilgal by the appointed time Saul offered burnt offerings to the LORD and in consequence he lost his kingdom (cf. 1 Samuel 13:8-14)

“And Samuel said to Saul, Thou hast done foolishly: thou hast not kept the commandment of the LORD thy God, which he commanded thee: for now would the LORD have established thy kingdom upon Israel for ever. But now thy kingdom shall not continue: the LORD hath sought him a man after his own heart, and the LORD hath commanded him to be captain over his people, because thou hast not kept that which the LORD commanded thee” (1 Samuel 13:13-14)

God commanded King Saul to destroy fully the Amalekites and their belongings, but he spared ”Agag” king of Amalekites and the best of ”the sheep, and of the oxen, and of the fatlings, and the lambs, and all that was good” (I Samuel 15:9). Not only that but he lied to Prophet Samuel saying ”I have obeyed the voice of the LORD, and have gone the way which the LORD sent me, and have brought Agag the king of Amalek, and have utterly destroyed the Amalekites. But the people took of the spoil, sheep and oxen, the chief of the things which should have been utterly destroyed, to sacrifice unto the LORD thy God in Gilgal” (1 Samuel 15:20-21)

Disobedience of God’s word by Saul and his lying to Prophet Samuel resulted in his loss of kingship to David, who wiped the Amalekites totally from the face of the earth.

And Samuel said, Hath the LORD as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams. For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because thou hast rejected the word of the LORD, he hath also rejected thee from being king” (1 Samuel 15:22-23)

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