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Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature

Agag

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(Heb. Agag, אֲגִג , perh. flame, from an Arab. root, in 1 Samuel always written אֲגָג ; Sept. Ἀγάγ, but Γώγ in Numbers.), the name of two kings of the Amalekites, and probably a common name of all their kings (Hengstenberg, Pentat. 2, 307), like Pharaoh in Egypt, and Achish or Abimelech among the Philistines. (See AGAGITE).

1. The king apparently of one of the hostile neighboring nations, at the time of the Exode (B.C. 1618), referred to by Balaam (Numbers 24:7) in a manner implying that the king of the Amalekites was, then at least, a greater monarch, and his people a greater people, than is commonly imagined. (See AMALEKITE).

2. A king of the Amalekites, who was spared by Saul, contrary to the solemn vow of devotement to destruction, (See ANATHEMA), whereby the nation, as such, had of old precluded itself from giving any quarter to that people (Exodus 17:14; Numbers 14:45). Hence when Samuel arrived in the camp of Saul he ordered Agag to be brought forth. He came "pleasantly," deeming secure the life which the king had spared. But the prophet ordered him to be cut in pieces; and the expression which he employed "As thy sword hath made women childless, so shall thy mother be childless among women" indicates that apart from the obligations of the vow, some such example of retributive justice was intended as had been exercised in the case of Adonibezek; or, in other words, that Agag had made himself infamous by the same treatment of some prisoners of distinction (probably Israelites) as he now received from Samuel (see Diedrichs, Hinrichtung Agag s, Gott. 1776). The unusual mode in which his death was inflicted strongly supports this conclusion (1 Samuel 15:8-33). B.C. cir. 1070. (See SAMUEL).


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Bibliography Information
McClintock, John. Strong, James. Entry for 'Agag'. Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature. https://www.studylight.org/encyclopedias/tce/a/agag.html. Harper & Brothers. New York. 1870.

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