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The Amalekites, Hitler, And The Book Of Esther

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#1 Fred Williams

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Posted 13 December 2005 - 04:42 PM

Often critics of the Bible ask how a loving God could wipe out innocent women and children. They often refer to the story of the Amalekites, where Saul was commanded:

“Now go and attack Amalek, and utterly destroy all that they have, and do not spare them. But kill both man and woman, infant and nursing child, ox and sheep, camel and donkey.'” 1 Sam 15:3

Here’s one response: Most Christian apologists will rightly point out that no one is innocent (Psalm 14:2-3, Romans 3:10-12), and God can do as He wills with His creation. Christians can understand a God who does what He wills with His creation, and do not view it as evil because the Biblical worldview on our existence is three dimensional, while the skeptics’ is two-dimensional. The Bible teaches that all man were created to exist for eternity - This life on earth is just the beginning. We are all on the front porch, when we die we enter the house. If we accept Christ as our personal Lord and Savior, we get to go upstairs. If we reject Christ, we go downstairs into the smoking section. :) :) So God has every right to decide when our passage into the house occurs, it is not murder, or capriciousness. Since most Bible critics begin with the assumption that this life is all there is, they of course overlook this and quickly view passages like 1 Sam 15:3 in a skewed, inaccurate light that makes God some evil, murderous tinkerer with his creation. This two-dimensional thinking of Bible critics causes them to miss the truth and put something onto God that is both illogical and unreasonable.

But there is more to the story of the Amalekites. Saul did not obey the command to wipe out all the Amalekites, which really angered God and caused Saul to lose his divine favor:

“He also took Agag king of the Amalekites alive, and utterly destroyed all the people with the edge of the sword. But Saul and the people spared Agag and the best of the sheep, the oxen, the fatlings, the lambs, and all that was good, and were unwilling to utterly destroy them. But everything despised and worthless, that they utterly destroyed”. 1 Sam 15:8-9

I submit the “all that was good” must have included some people, perhaps strong men for slaves and beautiful women, since we know that not only did Agag survive, but others as well. For example, consider the man who bragged about putting Saul out of his misery (for another example, see 1 Samuel 30:13 ):

Then David said to the young man who told him, "Where are you from?" And he answered, "I am the son of an alien, an Amalekite." So David said to him, "How was it you were not afraid to put forth your hand to destroy the LORD's anointed?" Then David called one of the young men and said, "Go near, and execute him!" And he struck him so that he died. So David said to him, "Your blood is on your own head, for your own mouth has testified against you, saying, 'I have killed the LORD's anointed.' " 2 Sam 1:13-16

So now the plot thickens. The Book of Esther introduces the Hitler of the Old Testament, Haman. Haman wanted to wipe out all the Jews (Esther 3). Who was Haman? A descendant on the royal line of the Amalekites!

Est 3:1 After these things King Ahasuerus promoted Haman, the son of Hammedatha the Agagite

The following is from Wikipedia:

“In Jewish tradition, the Amalekites came to represent the archetypal enemy of the Jews. For example, Haman, from the Book of Esther, is called the Agagite, which is interpreted as being a descendant of the Amalekite king Agag. The term has been used metaphorically to refer to enemies of Judaism throughout history, including the Nazis, and controversially, by some to refer to the Arabs.”

God knew the Amalekites would produce the Hitler of the Old Testament and He wanted to protect the Jews, and chose to do it by requiring the trust of His chosen people to carry out His plan. There are plenty of examples in the Bible where God likes to test our faith in Him by using us to carry out His desired outcome. In the case of Saul, he did not trust God’s wisdom and knowledge, and instead relied on his own reasoning and personal desires. It ultimately led to his downfall. Saul claimed some of the plunder he was supposed to destroy was kept as offerings to the LORD, for which Samuel replied:

"Has 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 heed than the fat of rams. For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, And stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because you have rejected the word of the LORD, He also has rejected you from being king." 1 Sam 15:22-23

Ironically, as we saw earlier it was an Amalekite who ultimately slayed Saul! (2 Samuel 1).

The consequences for Saul’s disobedience could have been disastrous, but God’s ultimate plan to protect the Jews would not be thwarted, and so enters the Book of Esther. With the help of Mordacai, Esther trusted God and carried out His plan to protect the Jews from the evil Amalekites, by risking their lives (Esther 7). Haman and the final remnant of the wicked Amalekites were finally “blotted out” forever at the end of the Book of Esther.

We are allowed to thwart God’s will as far as it pertains to our salvation (see Isaiah 5:4, 2 Peter 3:9, etc) or our work for the Lord (see above), but we cannot thwart God from any plan He says he will bring to pass (Isaiah 46:11, etc). If Esther had not listened to God, then God would have chosen another vessel to work with, and perhaps there would have been a 67th book of the Bible (the Book of Bob? :)) written about someone who did listen to and have faith in God and carry out His plan.

In Christ,
Fred Williams

#2 Dave



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Posted 13 December 2005 - 06:36 PM


That was very well put. Coincidentally, I just this very day finished reading (actually re-reading for the umpteenth time) 1 Samuel during my morning Bible time. And I am still amazed at the apparent brutality of life back then, much of it at the command of God. Like you, however, I see the big picture, and realize that God had reasons for all that slaughter. That's born out in seeing the consequences when someone who was supposed to be God's agent disobeyed his command and spared those who God intended to punish. This you so aptly pointed out in the correlation between Saul's disobedience and the almost tragic consequences during the time of Esther.

Oh, what lessons mankind could learn if he would only listen and heed God's word.

Thank you for sharing that with us.


#3 Guest_George R_*

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Posted 24 January 2006 - 08:09 PM

Fred, thanks for the very informative and candid study of the Amelekites.

The term "Amelekite" is not necessarily just a tribe.

It could also be like the name "thug" - originally from the hated and notorious Indian Thug society. A name so evil that it was applied automatically to label any other very evil clan.

Perhaps wrongly (maybe I am out to lunch completely), I associate the Amelekites with these things:

1) Human sacrifice for Worship of the Moloch Baal (and all that ritual infant sacrifice) implied by their name: a MELEKite.

Passing through the fire Melek/Moloch is not a small matter. It is an abomination (Leviticus 20.2–5:).

Human sacrifice of the first born - This despicable Canaanite practice was spread to Hebrews and polluted them with idolatry and foul acts.

It is not just Amelekites that are condemned to death BTW .. it is anybody who permits this vile practice among the Hebrews as well.

2) Pirates of the Desert (who attacked Joshua) who pillaged, scavenged, and slaughtered all wanderers and caravans of the wilderness ... in fact nothing less than a criminal gang (like the secret Thugs society in India who slaughtered without mercy) whose SWORN RELIGIOUS PURPOSE is slaughter and pillage of innocents.

3) Dark valleys of the hills around Jerusalem where criminal gangs could hide.

4) Psalm 23 (no kidding)

If you were leading Israeli/Hebrew travellers though "the shadow of death" (such as... valleys plagued by Amelekite gangs) ... one reason to "fear no evil" is that evil has been eradicated.. and you can feast only in the presence of the (defeated or dead) enemy who have been dealt with by the staff of the Lord.

Does it really make sense to feast in the presence of an armed enemy that can slaughter your family?

PS23 may be a call to praise the Lord who can let you rest safely in green valleys near still waters at last... because demon-inspired people like the Amelkites are no longer a threat... you are protected.

PS23 may indeed be a victory praise in a very literal sense. Maybe David's victory over the Amelekites, through the Lord.

In this context, mercy to Amelekites, especially mercy for gain (keeping the best for one self, and the king as a hostage)... is a dark sin that perpetuates a dark enemy.

#4 Fred Williams

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Posted 25 January 2006 - 01:12 PM

All great points George!

I especially thought your connection of the wicked Amelekites to Meleck/Moloch and infant sacrifice was very good. Your closing sentence gets right to the heart of the matter why God was so angry with Saul. Thanks for sharing this with us!


#5 Adam Nagy

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Posted 20 January 2009 - 10:06 AM

Thanks for the insights here Fred. I admit that I still have prayerful questions on this issue. I think what you presented is the best perspective and I appreciate and respect it but this is one area I certainly lean not upon my own understanding.

20 Moreover the law entered that the offense might abound. But where sin abounded, grace abounded much more, 21 so that as sin reigned in death, even so grace might reign through righteousness to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

16 And of His fullness we have all received, and grace for grace. 17 For the law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. 18 No one has seen God at any time. The only begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, He has declared Him.

Without pretending that I feel totally comfortable with this issue I place my whole trust in Christ. I'm certain that this life experience will be transformed into eternal joy and rejoicing. The questions of trying to consider life without God will be permanently snuffed out by our temporary taste of life without Him.

Praise be to God and I continue to pray for our eyes to be openned.

Thanks again, Fred. Great reference.

#6 trilobite



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Posted 11 May 2009 - 11:52 AM

God chooses whom He chooses. That's where I end up. I agree with a limited dimentional veiw. Without God and Christ there is blindness. These are such large topics. Without the Word of God being read and accepted there is no discussion on the issue. 'God is a murderer' will continue to be a tool for poeple to deny God and urge others to do so. This makes me eager to look for the opportunities God provides to share the Gospel.

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