Amalek; Amalekites

Concise Bible Dictionary:

There is a difficulty connected with these names, seeing that we read of Amalekites in Genesis 14:77And they returned, and came to En-mishpat, which is Kadesh, and smote all the country of the Amalekites, and also the Amorites, that dwelt in Hazezon-tamar. (Genesis 14:7), some hundred years before Amalek, the son of Eliphaz and grandson of Esau, was born (Gen. 36:1212And 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)). Whether all we read of the tribe after this refers to the descendants of Esau, or whether the more ancient people were amalgamated with them, is not known.
The tribe became numerous and warlike. The first we read of them is that they attacked Israel soon after they had passed the Red Sea. They were conquered, and God declared “I will utterly put out the remembrance of Amalek from under heaven”; not that they were at once destroyed, but the Lord swore He would have “war with Amalek from generation to generation” (Ex. 17:8-168Then came Amalek, and fought with Israel in Rephidim. 9And 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. 10So Joshua did as Moses had said to him, and fought with Amalek: and Moses, Aaron, and Hur went up to the top of the hill. 11And it came to pass, when Moses held up his hand, that Israel prevailed: and when he let down his hand, Amalek prevailed. 12But Moses' hands were heavy; and they took a stone, and put it under him, and he sat thereon; and Aaron and Hur stayed up his hands, the one on the one side, and the other on the other side; and his hands were steady until the going down of the sun. 13And Joshua discomfited Amalek and his people with the edge of the sword. 14And the Lord said unto Moses, Write this for a memorial in a book, and rehearse it in the ears of Joshua: for I will utterly put out the remembrance of Amalek from under heaven. 15And Moses built an altar, and called the name of it Jehovah-nissi: 16For he said, Because the Lord hath sworn that the Lord will have war with Amalek from generation to generation. (Exodus 17:8‑16)). They dwelt in the south of the land (Num. 13:2929The 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. (Numbers 13:29)), and Balaam called them “the first of the nations,” but predicted that they should perish forever (Num. 24:2020And when he looked on Amalek, he took up his parable, and said, Amalek was the first of the nations; but his latter end shall be that he perish for ever. (Numbers 24:20)).
When the Israelites, who, alas, disbelievingly agreed with the spies who had brought up the evil report of the land, were told they should all fall in the wilderness, they then said they would go up and possess it; but they were smitten by the Amalekites and the Canaanites. Several times in the period of the Judges war was made against them. Saul, as anointed king over the Lord’s people, was bidden to destroy them utterly; but failed to answer to the Lord’s vindication of His people: it was Samuel who cut Agag their king to pieces (1 Sam. 14:4848And he gathered an host, and smote the Amalekites, and delivered Israel out of the hands of them that spoiled them. (1 Samuel 14:48); 1 Sam. 15:1-331Samuel also said unto Saul, The Lord sent me to anoint thee to be king over his people, over Israel: now therefore hearken thou unto the voice of the words of the Lord. 2Thus saith the Lord of hosts, I remember that which Amalek did to Israel, how he laid wait for him in the way, when he came up from Egypt. 3Now go and smite Amalek, and utterly destroy all that they have, and spare them not; but slay both man and woman, infant and suckling, ox and sheep, camel and ass. 4And Saul gathered the people together, and numbered them in Telaim, two hundred thousand footmen, and ten thousand men of Judah. 5And Saul came to a city of Amalek, and laid wait in the valley. 6And Saul said unto the Kenites, Go, depart, get you down from among the Amalekites, lest I destroy you with them: for ye showed kindness to all the children of Israel, when they came up out of Egypt. So the Kenites departed from among the Amalekites. 7And Saul smote the Amalekites from Havilah until thou comest to Shur, that is over against Egypt. 8And he took Agag the king of the Amalekites alive, and utterly destroyed all the people with the edge of the sword. 9But 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. 10Then came the word of the Lord unto Samuel, saying, 11It repenteth me that I have set up Saul to be king: for he is turned back from following me, and hath not performed my commandments. And it grieved Samuel; and he cried unto the Lord all night. 12And when Samuel rose early to meet Saul in the morning, it was told Samuel, saying, Saul came to Carmel, and, behold, he set him up a place, and is gone about, and passed on, and gone down to Gilgal. 13And Samuel came to Saul: and Saul said unto him, Blessed be thou of the Lord: I have performed the commandment of the Lord. 14And Samuel said, What meaneth then this bleating of the sheep in mine ears, and the lowing of the oxen which I hear? 15And Saul said, They have brought them from the Amalekites: for the people spared the best of the sheep and of the oxen, to sacrifice unto the Lord thy God; and the rest we have utterly destroyed. 16Then Samuel said unto Saul, Stay, and I will tell thee what the Lord hath said to me this night. And he said unto him, Say on. 17And Samuel said, When thou wast little in thine own sight, wast thou not made the head of the tribes of Israel, and the Lord anointed thee king over Israel? 18And the Lord sent thee on a journey, and said, Go and utterly destroy the sinners the Amalekites, and fight against them until they be consumed. 19Wherefore then didst thou not obey the voice of the Lord, but didst fly upon the spoil, and didst evil in the sight of the Lord? 20And Saul said unto Samuel, Yea, 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. 21But 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. 22And 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. 23For 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. 24And Saul said unto Samuel, I have sinned: for I have transgressed the commandment of the Lord, and thy words: because I feared the people, and obeyed their voice. 25Now therefore, I pray thee, pardon my sin, and turn again with me, that I may worship the Lord. 26And Samuel said unto Saul, I will not return with thee: for thou hast rejected the word of the Lord, and the Lord hath rejected thee from being king over Israel. 27And as Samuel turned about to go away, he laid hold upon the skirt of his mantle, and it rent. 28And Samuel said unto him, The Lord hath rent the kingdom of Israel from thee this day, and hath given it to a neighbor of thine, that is better than thou. 29And also the Strength of Israel will not lie nor repent: for he is not a man, that he should repent. 30Then he said, I have sinned: yet honor me now, I pray thee, before the elders of my people, and before Israel, and turn again with me, that I may worship the Lord thy God. 31So Samuel turned again after Saul; and Saul worshipped the Lord. 32Then said Samuel, Bring ye hither to me Agag the king of the Amalekites. And Agag came unto him delicately. And Agag said, Surely the bitterness of death is past. 33And Samuel said, As thy sword hath made women childless, so shall thy mother be childless among women. And Samuel hewed Agag in pieces before the Lord in Gilgal. (1 Samuel 15:1‑33)). In the early days of David he attacked the Amalekites (1 Sam. 27:88And 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)); and again when they burned Ziklag and carried away the women and children, including David’s two wives, he recovered all, and sent of the spoil to the elders of Israel (1 Sam. 30:1-311And 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; 2And 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. 3So David and his men came to the city, and, behold, it was burned with fire; and their wives, and their sons, and their daughters, were taken captives. 4Then David and the people that were with him lifted up their voice and wept, until they had no more power to weep. 5And David's two wives were taken captives, Ahinoam the Jezreelitess, and Abigail the wife of Nabal the Carmelite. 6And David was greatly distressed; for the people spake of stoning him, because the soul of all the people was grieved, every man for his sons and for his daughters: but David encouraged himself in the Lord his God. 7And David said to Abiathar the priest, Ahimelech's son, I pray thee, bring me hither the ephod. And Abiathar brought thither the ephod to David. 8And David inquired at the Lord, saying, Shall I pursue after this troop? shall I overtake them? And he answered him, Pursue: for thou shalt surely overtake them, and without fail recover all. 9So David went, he and the six hundred men that were with him, and came to the brook Besor, where those that were left behind stayed. 10But David pursued, he and four hundred men: for two hundred abode behind, which were so faint that they could not go over the brook Besor. 11And they found an Egyptian in the field, and brought him to David, and gave him bread, and he did eat; and they made him drink water; 12And they gave him a piece of a cake of figs, and two clusters of raisins: and when he had eaten, his spirit came again to him: for he had eaten no bread, nor drunk any water, three days and three nights. 13And David said unto him, To whom belongest thou? and whence art thou? And he said, I am a young man of Egypt, servant to an Amalekite; and my master left me, because three days agone I fell sick. 14We made an invasion upon the south of the Cherethites, and upon the coast which belongeth to Judah, and upon the south of Caleb; and we burned Ziklag with fire. 15And David said to him, Canst thou bring me down to this company? And he said, Swear unto me by God, that thou wilt neither kill me, nor deliver me into the hands of my master, and I will bring thee down to this company. 16And when he had brought him down, behold, they were spread abroad upon all the earth, eating and drinking, and dancing, because of all the great spoil that they had taken out of the land of the Philistines, and out of the land of Judah. 17And David smote them from the twilight even unto the evening of the next day: and there escaped not a man of them, save four hundred young men, which rode upon camels, and fled. 18And David recovered all that the Amalekites had carried away: and David rescued his two wives. 19And there was nothing lacking to them, neither small nor great, neither sons nor daughters, neither spoil, nor any thing that they had taken to them: David recovered all. 20And David took all the flocks and the herds, which they drave before those other cattle, and said, This is David's spoil. 21And David came to the two hundred men, which were so faint that they could not follow David, whom they had made also to abide at the brook Besor: and they went forth to meet David, and to meet the people that were with him: and when David came near to the people, he saluted them. 22Then answered all the wicked men and men of Belial, of those that went with David, and said, Because they went not with us, we will not give them ought of the spoil that we have recovered, save to every man his wife and his children, that they may lead them away, and depart. 23Then said David, Ye shall not do so, my brethren, with that which the Lord hath given us, who hath preserved us, and delivered the company that came against us into our hand. 24For who will hearken unto you in this matter? but as his part is that goeth down to the battle, so shall his part be that tarrieth by the stuff: they shall part alike. 25And it was so from that day forward, that he made it a statute and an ordinance for Israel unto this day. 26And when David came to Ziklag, he sent of the spoil unto the elders of Judah, even to his friends, saying, Behold a present for you of the spoil of the enemies of the Lord; 27To them which were in Beth-el, and to them which were in south Ramoth, and to them which were in Jattir, 28And to them which were in Aroer, and to them which were in Siphmoth, and to them which were in Eshtemoa, 29And to them which were in Rachal, and to them which were in the cities of the Jerahmeelites, and to them which were in the cities of the Kenites, 30And to them which were in Hormah, and to them which were in Chor-ashan, and to them which were in Athach, 31And to them which were in Hebron, and to all the places where David himself and his men were wont to haunt. (1 Samuel 30:1‑31)). David dedicated their silver and gold unto Jehovah (2 Sam. 8:1212Of Syria, and of Moab, and of the children of Ammon, and of the Philistines, and of Amalek, and of the spoil of Hadadezer, son of Rehob, king of Zobah. (2 Samuel 8:12)). In the days of Hezekiah the rest of the Amalekites were smitten by the sons of Simeon (1 Chron. 4:41-4341And these written by name came in the days of Hezekiah king of Judah, and smote their tents, and the habitations that were found there, and destroyed them utterly unto this day, and dwelt in their rooms: because there was pasture there for their flocks. 42And some of them, even of the sons of Simeon, five hundred men, went to mount Seir, having for their captains Pelatiah, and Neariah, and Rephaiah, and Uzziel, the sons of Ishi. 43And they smote the rest of the Amalekites that were escaped, and dwelt there unto this day. (1 Chronicles 4:41‑43)). Among the nations confederated for Israel’s destruction in Psalm 73, are the Amalekites.
We thus find that Amalek was the first to attack Israel, and continued an enemy ever ready to molest them when they were weak even until the days of Hezekiah, and they are found in the hostile confederacy at the close of their history: an apt type of Satan as the enemy of God’s people.

Jackson’s Dictionary of Scripture Proper Names:

people of lapping (or licking up)