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Although the descendants of Esau were, on the whole, known as Edomites, one group of Esau’s descendants developed separately and were known as the Amalekites (Genesis 36:1; Genesis 36:9; Genesis 36:12; Exodus 17:8; Judges 3:13; 1 Samuel 15:2; 1 Samuel 15:15). They were a race of wild desert nomads who were scattered in an area extending from the far south of Canaan across the Sinai peninsular.

When the Israelites were escaping from Egypt, the Amalekites raided the weak and defenceless who were lagging behind in the procession. Because of this, God commanded that when the people of Israel were established in Canaan they were to wipe out the Amalekites (Exodus 17:8-16; Deuteronomy 25:17-19).

In the meantime the Amalekites continued to attack the Israelites, both before they entered Canaan and after they had settled there (Numbers 14:45; Judges 3:13; Judges 6:3; Judges 6:33; Judges 10:12). Saul was commanded to destroy them completely, but although he won a notable victory, he failed to carry out the task fully (1 Samuel 15:1-33). Those who survived continued their bandit-like raids, but with less frequency and less effect. Gradually the Amalekites were absorbed into other groups in the region and eventually the race died out (1 Samuel 30:1-20; 1 Chronicles 4:41-43).

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These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of Used by Permission.

Bibliography Information
Fleming, Don. Entry for 'Amalekites'. Bridgeway Bible Dictionary. 2004.

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