Question: What happened to the Amalekites?
(I Samuel 15:7-8,20) Saul completely destroyed the Amalekites
(I Samuel 27:8-9) David completely destroyed the Amalekites.
(I Samuel 30:1-2,17) David destroyed a raiding party of Amalekites. Only 400 men escaped.
(I Chronicles 4:42-43) the Simeonites killed all the Amalekites.
Response: Let's take a look at each of the passages, one at a time:
He took Agag king of the Amalekites alive, and all his people he totally destroyed with the sword.
"But I did obey the LORD," Saul said. "I went on the mission the LORD assigned me. I completely destroyed the Amalekites and brought back Agag their king.
- 1 Samuel 15:7-8,20 (NIV)
In 1 Samuel 15:7-8, it seems to me that Saul destroyed Agag's army - down to the last man. However, there is no claim being made by this verse that every living Amalekite was killed - just the ones in Agag's army. Nothing more, nothing less.
Whenever David attacked an area, he did not leave a man or woman alive, but took sheep and cattle, donkeys and camels, and clothes. Then he returned to Achish.
- 1 Samuel 27:8-9 (NIV)
In this passage it seems clear that "Whenever David attacked an area, he did not leave a man or woman alive." It seems clear that he would have destroyed all of the Amalekites in the area that he attacked. That's what the verse says - it says "area." And that would have pertained to every Amalekite in that "area." Nothing more, nothing less. If there were Amalekites in other areas - areas outside of Israel for example - then this verse would be making no claim in regards to them.
and had taken captive the women and all who were in it, both young and old. They killed none of them, but carried them off as they went on their way.
David fought them from dusk until the evening of the next day, and none of them got away, except four hundred young men who rode off on camels and fled.
- 1 Samuel 30:1-2,17 (NIV)
I don't see anything in these verses that contradict anything in question.
They killed the remaining Amalekites who had escaped, and they have lived there to this day.
- 1 Chronicles 4:42-43 (NIV)
My answer here is the same as it is in previous passages - that these verses are talking about Amalekites in a particular area. Look at 1 Chronicles 4:43, for example. There it talks about how "they have lived there to this day." That's a clear-cut reference to an area, a specific place, meaning the Amalekites that are being referred to are indeed the Amalekites who had formerly lived in that area, that specific place. There is no contradiction in any of these verses, and none of them contradict any of the others.
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