The Destruction Of The Amalekites – Part 4/6

The Malicious and Incorrigible Nature of the Amalekites

We never read of any redeeming features of Amalekite character, nor any converts, save in one interesting case which turned out to be no real conversion at all. The Amalekites were clearly so evil, so in the grip of Satan, that they were unassimilable, unlike Canaanites such as Rahab or Moabites like Ruth, or Hittites like Uriah, etc.

The fact is, the Amalekites were incorrigible. From the days of Moses unto the days of David – several centuries apart – the Amalekites behaved in exactly the same malicious, murderous and predatory fashion from generation to generation, one as bad as the other. All they ever did was raid, murder, rob and enslave. They were not a normal nation or ethnic group.

We need to think of Amalek the same way we think of IS, as a criminal gang, especially in the way IS attacked the defenceless Yezidis, who never did anyone harm, but were dispossessed and enslaved, their girls forced to become sex-slaves. Think of how IS women were involved in this – the Al-Khansaa Brigade who acted as their ‘moral police’ force regarding the dress and deportment of women in the Caliphate, bearing arms and inflicting violent punishment, and even engaged in combat. Even their children – ‘the Cubs of the Caliphate’ – were imbued with their murderous ideology and carried out executions. This was the situation to some degree with the Amalekites – the children were imbued with the same murderous, raiding culture, and the evidence of this is the fact that their practices continued for generations. The Amalekites were indeed incorrigible.

The Amalekites were characterised by cruelty and callousness. This can be demonstrated from their attacks on the weak and vulnerable among the back of the Israelite train at the Exodus, and by what happened in Judges 6:

And the hand of Midian overpowered Israel, and because of Midian the people of Israel made for themselves the dens that are in the mountains and the caves and the strongholds.For whenever the Israelites planted crops, the Midianites and the Amalekites and the people of the East would come up against them.They would encamp against them and devour the produce of the land, as far as Gaza, and leave no sustenance in Israel and no sheep or ox or donkey.For they would come up with their livestock and their tents; they would come like locusts in number—both they and their camels could not be counted—so that they laid waste the land as they came in.

This shows the cruelty and callousness of the Amalekites – frightening the Israelites, and leaving the latter no food, plundering rather than growing their own food. Then, when Saul is fighting the Philistines, they attack defenceless, vulnerable people again – Ziklag, to raid their property and enslave the people. This is similar to the activities of the Barbary Corsairs, the North African Muslim maritime jihadis who raided Europe to enslave Christians, and to IS at Sinjar. The Amalekites, in their wanton violence, were just like a gang of thugs who mug an old lady. They were unashamed, having no fear of God – like Mafia hitmen, or like Shamima Begum who was not fazed by severed heads in bins or the Manchester massacre (and note that she has not even mentioned the Yezidis), or like the IS woman who had no problem with the rape of Yezidi slave-girls because the Qur’an permitted it ( Daily Mail, 10.3.2019, ‘It’s not rape in Islam’: ISIS ‘wife’ defends jihadis’ sexual assault and murder of Yazidi women because it is ‘allowed in the Quran’ as the last remaining fighters face being pushed from their final stronghold’, https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-6792049/ISIS-wife-defends-jihadis-rape-murder-Yazidi-women-allowed-Quran.html), or like the IS men who actually raped them. 

That the Amalekites were like this is demonstrated by what happened when they raided Ziklag, 1 Samuel 30:1-3:

Now when David and his men came to Ziklag on the third day, the Amalekites had made a raid against the Negeb and against Ziklag. They had overcome Ziklag and burned it with fire and taken captive the women and all who were in it, both small and great. They killed no one, but carried them off and went their way. And when David and his men came to the city, they found it burned with fire, and their wives and sons and daughters taken captive.

David, of course, immediately went in search of his wives. Note the callousness of the Amalekites evident in the following verses:

11 They found an Egyptian in the open country and brought him to David. And they gave him bread and he ate. They gave him water to drink,12 and they gave him a piece of a cake of figs and two clusters of raisins. And when he had eaten, his spirit revived, for he had not eaten bread or drunk water for three days and three nights.13 And David said to him, “To whom do you belong? And where are you from?” He said, “I am a young man of Egypt, servant to an Amalekite, and my master left me behind because I fell sick three days ago.14 We had made a raid against the Negeb of the Cherethites and against that which belongs to Judah and against the Negeb of Caleb, and we burned Ziklag with fire.”15 And David said to him, “Will you take me down to this band?” And he said, “Swear to me by God that you will not kill me or deliver me into the hands of my master, and I will take you down to this band.”

It would seem that the young Egyptian was a slave – probably captured – to an Amalekite. Note how scared he was of going back to his master – clearly, the latter was very cruel. That cruelty and callousness is demonstrated by the fact that when he fell sick, instead of being nursed by his master, he was abandoned to the elements without food or water – i.e., he was left to die. The master obviously felt that as he would be enjoying fresh, healthy slaves, he need not bother with this sick man, so he abandoned him to his fate. Obviously, none of the Amalekite band objected, so it is clear that they were just as callous and cruel as was he.

This is further evidenced by the following verse: 16 And when he had taken him down, behold, they were spread abroad over all the land, eating and drinking and dancing, because of all the great spoil they had taken from the land of the Philistines and from the land of Judah.’ Just like the IS men rejoiced and gloated over their seizure and rape of the Yezidi girls, the Amalekites were rejoicing over their seizure of the people of Ziklag. They were callously evil. 

The murderous character of the Amalekites is demonstrated by what Samuel says to the Amalekite King Agag in 1 Samuel 15:33: ‘And Samuel said, “As your sword has made women childless, so shall your mother be childless among women.” And Samuel hacked Agag to pieces before YHWH in Gilgal.’ That is, the Amalekites had practised infanticide against their enemies – slaughtering children. Look at the context of this in the previous chapter, where 14.48 states about Saul: ‘And he did valiantly and struck the Amalekites and delivered Israel out of the hands of those who plundered them.’Imagine what a court in Texas would do to a gang who murdered children as part of their robberies. There could only be one fit sentence for such an outrage – the death penalty for the whole gang.  

Further evidence is found in 2 Samuel 1. In 1 Samuel 31, Saul, fatally wounded by the Philistines, had asked his armour-bearer to slay him, but the latter refused:

Then Saul said to his armour-bearer, “Draw your sword, and thrust me through with it, lest these uncircumcised come and thrust me through, and mistreat me.” But his armour-bearer would not, for he feared greatly. Therefore Saul took his own sword and fell upon it.And when his armour-bearer saw that Saul was dead, he also fell upon his sword and died with him.

Later, the Philistines found his body and defiled it:

The next day, when the Philistines came to strip the slain, they found Saul and his three sons fallen on Mount Gilboa.So they cut off his head and stripped off his armour and sent messengers throughout the land of the Philistines, to carry the good news to the house of their idols and to the people.10 They put his armour in the temple of Ashtaroth, and they fastened his body to the wall of Beth-shan.11 But when the inhabitants of Jabesh-gilead heard what the Philistines had done to Saul,12 all the valiant men arose and went all night and took the body of Saul and the bodies of his sons from the wall of Beth-shan, and they came to Jabesh and burned them there.13 And they took their bones and buried them under the tamarisk tree in Jabesh and fasted seven days.

Note that the Israelite soldiers behaved honourably; the same could not be said for this Amalekite in 2 Samuel 1:

After the death of Saul, when David had returned from striking down the Amalekites, David remained two days in Ziklag.And on the third day, behold, a man came from Saul’s camp, with his clothes torn and dirt on his head. And when he came to David, he fell to the ground and paid homage.David said to him, “Where do you come from?” And he said to him, “I have escaped from the camp of Israel.”And David said to him, “How did it go? Tell me.” And he answered, “The people fled from the battle, and also many of the people have fallen and are dead, and Saul and his son Jonathan are also dead.”Then David said to the young man who told him, “How do you know that Saul and his son Jonathan are dead?”And the young man who told him said, “By chance I happened to be on Mount Gilboa, and there was Saul leaning on his spear, and behold, the chariots and the horsemen were close upon him.And when he looked behind him, he saw me, and called to me. And I answered, ‘Here I am.’And he said to me, ‘Who are you?’ I answered him, ‘I am an Amalekite.’And he said to me, ‘Stand beside me and kill me, for anguish has seized me, and yet my life still lingers.’10 So I stood beside him and killed him, because I was sure that he could not live after he had fallen. And I took the crown that was on his head and the armlet that was on his arm, and I have brought them here to my lord.”

Of course, this was a lie, as we know from 1 Samuel 31, though David did not yet know this. The Amalekite was clearly trying to ingratiate himself in the hope of advancement and reward – once again, plunder by other means. Note what the Amalekite did notdo: he did not try to honourably bury his King (Saul), but rather robbed the crown and armlet to impress David in the hope of reward – doubtless financial. What is especially interesting is what he says in answer to David:

13 And David said to the young man who told him, “Where do you come from?” And he answered, “I am the son of a sojourner, an Amalekite.”14 David said to him, “How is it you were not afraid to put out your hand to destroy anointed of YHWH?”15 Then David called one of the young men and said, “Go, execute him.” And he struck him down so that he died.16 And David said to him, “Your blood be on your head, for your own mouth has testified against you, saying, ‘I have killed the anointed of YHWH.’”

The young man’s self-description is revealing – he was the son of an immigrant who had joined the community of Israel. So, he would have been exposed to the teaching of the Torah and the worship of YHWH. Yet he did not balk at claiming to have killed YHWH’s anointed king. Nothing of Biblical values had penetrated his Amalekite heritage, despite being raised and possibly born in Israel. He thought that murder – or at least, assisted suicide – was all right, and that he should be rewarded for it. There was no remorse for his purported action (though he had not done it). Essentially, he boasted of it. To repeat, nought of the values of Biblical Israel had entered into his soul. So, David treated him as he did the other Amalekites he had just fought – by executing him. 

Equally consider Shamima Begum and one of the other Bethnal Green trio – Amira Abase, one the daughter of a Bangladeshi immigrant to Britain, the other a daughter of an Ethiopian immigrant. Despite being raised in Britain, British values did not penetrate them; their Islamic heritage won out. Note that they made hijra to IS only two years after the beheading of Lee Rigby in London – yet Begum was not fazed by severed heads, and Abase reacted with ‘lol’ after the Tunisia massacre which saw over thirty Britons and others murdered. Neither of them showed any empathy for the under-age Yezidi girls raped by Is men. Similarly, British values never penetrated the grooming gangs across the UK who behaved like IS jihadis in raping thousands of white and Sikh girls.

Next is Part 5 – The Judgment of YHWH Upon the Amalekites



Why did God become a man?

Image courtesy of VeronicaRomms

In our previous article we showed how  Allah takes on human form when his Ruh [Spirit] visits Mary “in the form of a man in all respects” (Sura 19:17, Hilali Khan). So if Muslims want to use the objection that a God who takes on human form cannot be God, they need to realise it applies to Allah as well. Even if they they concede that God could become a man, the next question is often – why would he need to?

Right from the beginning in Genesis, it’s clear God has a special affection for human beings. He makes men and women uniquely in His image (Genesis 1:27) and walks and talks with Adam and Eve in perfect relationship (Genesis 3:8). Instead of asking why God became man, ask rather – why ever would God make human beings like God, capable of personally relating with him? Why does He invest us with such dignity and honour? (The Qur’an never says we’re made in God’s image – this is an  important point.)

Disaster strikes when Adam and Eve think they can live independently of their Maker (Genesis 3:6), so God’s image in them becomes tainted. Worse still, as a result of their disobedience, sin and death enter the world. As their descendants  we are all tainted image-bearers, born in sin and subject to death: “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). And just as Adam and Eve were banished from the Garden, so we too are excluded from His presence . Sin is catastrophic: it is so much more serious than the Islamic understanding of sin as just mistakes and weakness- it is a deadly disease no human wisdom can cure. Don’t miss the strong language of Scripture: in our natural state we are “dead in transgressions and sins”  (Ephesians 2:1, Colossians 2:13) and  “objects of wrath” Ephesians 2:3. We are cut off from God and powerless to change our natural state.

And crucially, sin is unique to humanity. A lion doesn’t sin when it eats an antelope. A lion’s taste for antelope may be a consequence of man’s sin, but it was man who fell, not the lion. So it’s man, not the lion, who is deserving of punishment. And yet, God in his extraordinary mercy, decides that it’s men and women, his image-bearers, who in spite of our depravity and rebellion, that He considers pre-eminently worthy of redemption.

How did God redeem his people in the Old Testament? Through the blood of a lamb. At the Passover, the Israelites were commanded to smear the tops and sides of their doors with a lamb’s blood to spare them from the destroying angel. “I will redeem you with an outstretched arm and with mighty acts of judgment” (Exodus 6:6) Forgiveness through blood continued via the  sacrificial system under Mosaic law. But none of these sacrifices could provide perfect redemption. Hebrews 10:1-4

“The law is only a shadow of the good things that are coming—not the realities themselves. For this reason it can never, by the same sacrifices repeated endlessly year after year, make perfect those who draw near to worship. Otherwise, would they not have stopped being offered? For the worshipers would have been cleansed once for all, and would no longer have felt guilty for their sins. But those sacrifices are an annual reminder of sins. It is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins.”

Why was it never going to be enough for a human to be redeemed by an animal? In Genesis 3:15, God hints that the redeemer would be an offspring of the woman – a human – and male. To Satan he says:

And I will put enmity
    between you and the woman,
    and between your offspring and hers;
he will crush your head,
    and you will strike his heel.”

But it is no ordinary human male; it’s a  male who can crush the head of Satan, something only God can do. A God-Man. To re-iterate: the Bible anticipates a God-Man, not a God-Lion or a God-Beetle -because it is mankind who needs redemption, so a like-for-like sacrifice is required.  Note how carefully this is explained in Hebrews 2:11-18

Both the one who makes people holy and those who are made holy are of the same family. So Jesus is not ashamed to call them brothers and sisters.[a] 12 He says,

“I will declare your name to my brothers and sisters;
    in the assembly I will sing your praises.”[b]

13 And again,

“I will put my trust in him.”[c]

And again he says,

“Here am I, and the children God has given me.”[d]

14 Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might break the power of him who holds the power of death—that is, the devil— 15 and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fearof death. 16 For surely it is not angels he helps, but Abraham’s descendants. 17 For this reason he had to be made like them,[e] fully human in every way, in order that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in service to God, and that he might make atonement for the sins of the people. 18″

Now let’s turn back to the Qur’an. But why did Allah visit Mary “in the form of a man in all respects”? Why is it only birth of Jesus – not Muhammad – that warrants a visit from Allah in person? The well-explained (Sura 12:111), clear and detailed Qur’an (16:89) doesn’t tell us.

The Bible doesn’t leave us hanging: it teaches that Jesus needed to be fully human, as well as fully God, to be the perfect sacrifice to redeem mankind. He does this because he loves us so much, He would rather die in our place than let us carry on “dead in our sins.” And not only that, but through Jesus’ redeeming work, not just human beings, but one day the whole of creation will be made new:

“For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope 21 that[a] the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the freedom and glory of the children of God.” Romans 8:20-21

The wolf will live with the lamb, the leopard will lie down with the goat, the calf and the lion and the yearling together; and a little child will lead them.” (Isaiah 11:6)

Freedom, forgiveness, redemption, peace; adopted as sons and daughters and ushers of the new creation.  John is spot-on when he writes “see what great love the Father has lavished on us!” – and at what cost. Muslims repent and believe in Jesus, our “righteousness, holiness and redemption” (I Cor 1:30) and stop worshipping a confusing and unknowable counterfeit.

Next time: Is Jesus the Messiah of the Old Testament?