[b-hebrew] Amalekites exist OUTSIDE the scripture sources???

Yigal Levin leviny1 at mail.biu.ac.il
Sun Aug 8 07:43:45 EDT 2004


I repeat what I said before. There is NO reference to the Amalekites outside
the Bible. Any identification of any tribe that is mentioned in other
sources with the Amalekites is purely conjectural. When you write "All these
identified with Amalekites", I ask, identified by whom? On what evidence?

However, I never said that the Amalekites were "mythological", just because
they are mentioned only in the Bible. What is "mythological", in a sense, is
their descent from Esau. Just like the Israelites' descent from Jacob,
genealogies are often used as a literary means of describing the
relationship between groups, as reflected at the time the genealogies were
written down. When were the "Toledoth" of Esau written - who knows? They are
usually attributed to the Priestly school ("P"). In any case, what they
reflect is a Judahite writer trying to "classify" the various tribes and
villages of the south and to fit them into the "family" of nations that
surrounded Israel.

As far as the ONE mention of "the field of the Amalekites" in Gen. 14:7, in
a story that is connected to Abraham: the same chapter also mentions Zoar
(verse 2), which would only be given that name in Gen. 19:22, and Dan (verse
14), which would only be given that name in Josh. 19:47, when it would be
named after Abraham's great-grandson! The book of Genesis in particular is
full of such "anachronisms", in which a "later" name, which would have been
familiar at the time the story was written. We could understand "the field
of the Amalekites" as meaning the area in which the Amalakites would live
later on.
All other references to the Amalekites make them contemporaries of the
Israelite wanderings up until the early monarchy. Based on the Bible alone,
it would have been David who finally "broke" them.


----- Original Message -----
From: "wattswestmaas" <wattswestmaas at eircom.net>
To: "B-Hebrew" <b-hebrew at lists.ibiblio.org>
Sent: Sunday, August 08, 2004 12:09 PM
Subject: [b-hebrew] Amalekites exist OUTSIDE the scripture sources???

> Hallo all,
> I can not remember who it was but when I posted a message asking about
> extra-biblical sources for the Amalekites I was told that there were none.
> I am surprised to read that the Amalekites existed at the time of Abraham
> and probably before which then makes the Amalekites NOT the descendants of
> Amalek from ESAU.  Also that there are references to the following:  the
> babylonian 'sute';  the Egyptian 'sittiu';  and in the Amarna tablets -
> 'Khabbti'  (plunderers).  All these identified with Amalekites.
> I must also add that the same source says that some proffessionals
> amalekites to be mythological, but that is without question an absurd
> conclusion.
> Can anyone confirm this information?
> Chris.
> PS thankyou to everyone who responded about the English translation
> question.
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