David defeated the Amalekites, and Saul was defeated by the Philistines. David was busy with his battle and had not heard about Saul’s defeat for several days. 2 Samuel 1:2-4 tells us of the news. “And on the third day, behold, a man came from Saul’s camp, with his clothes torn and dirt on his head. And when he came to David, he fell to the ground and paid homage. David said to him, ‘Where do you come from?’ And he said to him, ‘I have escaped from the camp of Israel.’ And David said to him, ‘How did it go? Tell me.’ And he answered, ‘The people fled from the battle, and also many of the people have fallen and are dead, and Saul and his son Jonathan are also dead.’” The messenger from the camp of Israel described Saul’s death. The story continues, “Then David said to the young man who told him, ‘How do you know that Saul and his son Jonathan are dead?’ And the young man who told him said, ‘By chance, I happened to be on Mount Gilboa, and there was Saul leaning on his spear, and behold, the chariots and the horsemen were close upon him. And when he looked behind him, he saw me and called to me. And I answered, Here I am. And he said to me, ‘Who are you?’ I answered him, ‘I am an Amalekite.’And he said to me, ‘Stand beside me and kill me, for anguish has seized me, and yet my life still lingers.’ So I stood beside him and killed him because I was sure that he could not live after he had fallen.’”

Saul lived a tragic life! It had an even more tragic end.  If the story the Amalekite tells David is true, Saul was killed by an enemy he was supposed to have defeated long ago. There is reason to believe that the Amalekite was lying, and if that is the case, then we still can say an Amalekite took credit for Saul’s demise. Regardless of which view you take, the Amalekites were the enemies of God’s people along with the rest of the Canaanites that resisted Israel taking possession of the promised land. The Amalekites were exceptionally odious to Israel because they waited until Israel was weak and occupied with other problems before they attacked. During all periods of Israel’s history, the Amalekites were treacherous in their attacks on Israel. It began with Esau and Jacob. Amalek was the Grandson of Esau. His father was Eliphaz, and his mother was the concubine Timna. Esau and Jacob’s constant struggle began in their mother Rebekah’s womb. The conflict between the descendants of each has never ended. Amalek hated the Jews, and Israel constantly had to defend itself against him. It raised its head when Israel left Egypt. In Deuteronomy 25:17-18, Israel was told to “Remember what Amalek did to you on the way as you came out of Egypt, how he attacked you on the way when you were faint and weary.” This Amalekite killed Saul when he was faint and weary. It seems I come under attack when I’m faint and weary. But Moses promised the Israelites rest. The passage goes on in verse 19 to say, “Therefore when the Lord your God has given you rest from all your enemies around you, in the land that the Lord your God is giving you for an inheritance to possess, you shall blot out the memory of Amalek from under heaven; you shall not forget.”

The Amalekites have all been absorbed into other ethnic groups. The last one we might know of was Haman from the book of Esther, who hated the Jews and plotted their demise. He built a hangman’s scaffold for the Jew Mordecai but ended up hanging from it himself. But the absence of the ethnic group doesn’t mean there aren’t any Amalekites anymore. Amalek is alive and well today but in a spiritual form. My Amalekites are not “flesh and blood” but are often just as real. The world system around me and the flesh nature within me are both used by the Devil to war against me and keep me out of any experience of the promised land. I’m attacked at my most vulnerable times. When I’m weary and tired. I try, and I fail. I try, and I fail. I try again, and I fail. I soon learn I’m doomed to failure. The task of righteousness is too hard for me. Then Jesus calls us, “Come to me all you who are weary and heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”