Wednesday, March 12, 2008

The Amalek Concept

I'm posting an excerpt and link to an article by Harvard's Raymond Ibrahim about the increasing use of the Biblical Amalek concept by Jewish leaders.

This otherwise obscure biblical figure holds great symbolism in Jewish history. In Jewish scriptures and later Talmudic writings, he is often depicted as the archetypal enemy of the Jewish nation. Accordingly, the greatest enemies of the Jewish people—such as Hitler—are often referred to as “Amalek.”

During the Egyptian exodus, the nation of Amalek, the “Amalekites,” attacked the Hebrews; the latter won: “Then the Lord said to Moses, ‘Write this as a memorial in a book and recite it in the ears of Joshua, that I will utterly blot out the memory of Amalek from under heaven.’ And Moses built an altar and called the name of it, The Lord is my banner, saying, and ‘A hand upon the throne of the Lord! The Lord will have war with Amalek from generation to generation.’” (Exodus 15-17.)

Some Israeli Jews have seen the surrounding Palestinians as the descendants—literal or spiritual makes no difference—of the Amalekites, who are to be fought “from generation to generation.” This has been a minority view, often held by ultra-orthodox extremists, but evocations of King Amalek and his nation are becoming more commonplace.

article here

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