Divided worlds

The Amalekites — Ninth in a series

The Amalekites were agitators, frequently joining in battle with those who opposed Israel (Ps 83:7), or attacking alone. They never learned.

Even though Saul was mortally wounded by the Philistines and then took his own life by falling on his sword (1 Sam 31:4), an Amalekite took credit for killing him. David had been home in Ziklag only three days when the young and boastful Amalekite escaped from Saul's camp and reported the defeat of Israel and the death of Saul to David. He proved it by giving David Saul's crown and bracelet. Imagine, an Amalekite presented David with the crown of Israel's king!

Lying, he explained, "He said unto me again, Stand, I pray thee, upon me, and slay me: for anguish is come upon me, because my life [is] yet whole in me. So I stood upon him, and slew him, because I was sure that he could not live after that he was fallen: and I took the crown that [was] upon his head, and the bracelet that [was] on his arm, and have brought them hither unto my lord." (2 Sam 1:9, 10)

"How wast thou not afraid to stretch forth thine hand to destroy the LORD'S anointed?" David asked him, and then had one of his men kill him. "Thy blood [be] upon thy head; for thy mouth hath testified against thee, saying, I have slain the LORD'S anointed." (2 Sam 1:14, 16)

Had the Amalekite youth hoped to find a home with David, the legendary warrior? Did he think David would admire him for being Saul's assassin? Did he think he could as easily escape David as Saul, and wished to brag about this death of an enemy? He discovered at his last moment that there are loyalties, ideals, and greater loves and goals than he had known.

David, "persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed;" (2 Cor 4:9) probably looked like a man who would reward a messenger who reported the death of his adversary, and doubly reward the one who killed him. But under the worn out appearance and downcast heart was a different reality.

There is an unseen world inside even the weakest man of God, and David was by no means the weakest. He had been sustained by God's Word, law, promises, Spirit, guidance, close companionship and strengthening love. He had been obedient to the best of his understanding in most instances and had waited on the Lord for his kingship to materialize. Such ideals as respecting the anointed king, patience and long suffering, setting a godly example for his troops, and practicing humility as a way of life, were ways that the Amalekite could not comprehend.

We later discover that David dedicated the silver and gold he took from Amalek as spoils for the Lord, and this went toward building the temple. (2 Sam 8:10-12; 1 Ch 18:11) The shining obedience of David proved he understood who had won all his battles. This, perhaps, the Amalekites could understand, if they would only think.

The heathen and the godly live worlds apart. There is little beyond what is seen that they can both relate to, for what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? … Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord … and I will receive you. (2 Cor 6:17)

Our separation from those who worship false gods and hate the people of the Lord is a principle of our doctrine that was illustrated in the wars of Israel against her enemies. We, too, must war against the Enemy to stand firm in our separate world while living and working in the company of Belial's children.

This means we do not marry or form partnerships with unbelievers, and we are not to "company" with believers who break God's law without repentance. It does not mean we have no friendships or associations with unbelievers. (1 Cor 5:9-13)


We are winding down our study of the Amalekites in the Bible, looking at final mentions.

The Lord is entreated in Psalm 83 to save Israel from Amalek who was confederate with other nations determined to destroy God's nation. Chronologically, Psalm 83 was written following the overthrow of Athaliah, Israel's woman king. (2 Ch 23:12-17)

A last mention of the Amalekites is in I Chronicles. A band of them is noted as those "who were escaped," and were killed by the sons of Simeon during the reign of Hezekiah. (1 Ch 4:43) And there is a final story of those who descended from Amalek by way of King Agag whose life was spared by Saul …