christine's bible study

The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God stands forever. Isa 40:8

deuteronomy 25:17-19, what is due amalek

Read Deuteronomy 25:17-19 at Bible Gateway.

Previously: deuteronomy 21:1-25:16, do no harm

(Please review the teaching tools of scripture, especially the Hebrew paragraph divisions and chiastic structures. The paragraphs marked by an “s” at their close are weak paragraphs, which indicate a change of facet but not a change of theme or topic. The paragraphs marked by a “p” at their close are strong paragraphs, which indicate the completion of a theme or topic.)

The Tenth Commandment, Do not covet, is explained in Deu 24:10-26:15. There is one Hebrew paragraph division in this fourth section:

Deu 25:17-19 {p} Do not withhold what is justly due to Amalek

“Remember what Amalek did to you on the way as you were coming out of Egypt, how he met you on the way and attacked your rear ranks, all the stragglers at your rear, when you were tired and weary; and he did not fear God. Therefore it shall be, when the Lord your God has given you rest from your enemies all around, in the land which the Lord your God is giving you to possess as an inheritance, that you will blot out the remembrance of Amalek from under heaven. You shall not forget.” Deu 25:17-19

Now Amalek came and fought with Israel in Rephidim. Exo 17:8

Because the LORD has sworn: the LORD will have war with Amalek from generation to generation. Exo 17:16

We have seen from the beginning, that of the two brothers, Cain and Abel, Cain was counted as unrighteous and Abel as righteous. Of the two brothers, Ishmael and Isaac, Ishmael was not chosen heir to Abraham’s promise and covenant with God, while Isaac was. Of the two brothers, Esau and Jacob, Esau was hated, and Jacon loved – by election, Paul teaches us, for God favored Jacob over Esau from their mother’s womb (Rom 9:10-13). In fact, of Esau, the LORD said, “Jacob have I loved, but Esau I hated;” (Mal 1:2-3).

What is it about Esau that the LORD hates? He is the continuation of the line of those who have refused YHVH as their God. He despised his birthright, which was the inheritance of Abraham, including his promise and covenant with God. His desire was to kill his (favored and righteous) brother Jacob, just as Cain killed his (favored and righteous) brother Abel.

Amalek was the grandson of Esau (Gen 36:12). The very next occurrence of Amalek in the Scriptures is in Exo 17, which our passage in Deu refers to. Amalek’s territory was not close by the wilderness that Israel was camping in. They weren’t in any imminent threat of being attacked by Israel. So they had to travel some distance to get to Israel to attack them.

Furthermore, we see from our passage that Amalek did not confront the men of war head on. Rather, he laid in wait to ambush the most vulnerable of the children of Israel, the young, old, or weak among them that were straggling at the rear.

This is always the tactic of God’s enemy Satan. He goes after the most vulnerable, the youngest or weakest in a family or community. He lies in wait to strike, and sets traps and snares. He does not confront the men of war head on. As we go through Scripture, we see that God cares for the weak, vulnerable, and oppressed. Amalek, on the other hand, lies in wait to kill the weak, vulnerable and oppressed.

Amalek shows up prominently in another place in the Scriptures: Haman, in the book of Esther, who worked to have the entire race of the Jews destroyed in Persia, is a descendant of Amalek!

Because God says He will have war with Amalek from generation to generation, we can conclude that Amalek is the spiritual heir of Cain, Ishmael, and Esau. All who do not fear God from generation to generation, all who, like God’s enemy, lie in wait to ambush the vulnerable and weak, are Amalek’s seed, upon whom YHVH will make war until his remembrance is utterly blotted out from under heaven.

There is more to Do not covet than lusting for something we lack. It also includes not withholding something we have, that is however due to another. What is due Amalek, is war until his remembrance is utterly blotted out; therefore, do not withhold it.

Continued: deuteronomy 26:1-15, firstfruits and tithe

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