1 Chronicles 4:43
And they smote the rest of the Amalekites that were escaped, and dwelled there to this day.
The reference of the verse is to the remnant that had escaped the great slaughter under King Saul (1 Samuel 15:7, 8). Indications of the existence of scattered portions of this people may be found in 1 Samuel 27:8; 1 Samuel 30:1; 2 Samuel 8:12. The Amalekites are first mentioned in connection with the aggressive expedition of Chedorlaomer (Genesis 14:7). They occupied the country between Palestine, Idumaea, and Mount Sinai, on the elevated plateau now called Er-Rakhmah. They were a nomad people, and their towns were but collections of tents; they were rich in flocks and herds, and seem to have acquired a vast power by their bold predatory habits. They were consequently most dangerous neighbours for Israel to have so close upon their borders. For the Scripture references to the Amalekites, see Exodus 17:8-16; Deuteronomy 25:17-19; Numbers 14:40-45; Numbers 24:20; Judges 3:13; Judges 6:3-5; Judges 12:15.
I. THE SIN OF AMALEK. This is distinctly stated in 1 Samuel 15:2: "I remember that which Amalek did to Israel, how he laid wait for him in the way, when he came up from Egypt." The expressions used appear to indicate some peculiar treachery in the conduct of this tribe. Probably they regarded themselves as having the sole right to the pasture-grounds in the valleys and plains of the higher ranges of Sinai, and so thought to cut off the advancing hosts of Israel, by taking them in detail as they toiled through the several passes. It may also be urged that the knowledge of the deliverance through the Red Sea had spread among the tribes of the desert; it declared this people to be under Jehovah's lead, and increased the responsibility of all who attempted to hinder their progress. Amalek added to its sin by incursions in the time of the judges, and by constant annoyance, which in part may explain the severe manner in which it was dealt with. The principle of the treatment of Amalek's sin may be illustrated by our Lord's words, "Whoso shall offend one of these little ones that believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depths of the sea."
II. THE DIVINE JUDGMENT ON AMALEK. Remarkable for its severity. Explain that the form and degree of Divine judgments must fit into the customs and sentiments of each age, if they are to exert the proper moral influence upon the age. The extermination of a race was not regarded in Saul's time as, with our Christian sentiments, we should regard it now. Human life is less valued in the East, and tribal, dynastic, and national changes have always been more sudden, frequent, and violent. Still, this would be, even in those days, so severe a judgment as to prove a solemn warning to the wilful who would try to force their own will against God.
III. MAN'S EXECUTION OF THE DIVINE JUDGMENT. It is of the utmost importance, for the due understanding of Old Testament Scripture, that God may use any of his creatures as agents in carrying out his judicial sentences; and man may be his executioner as well as plague, famine, or tempest. In such case what the man has to do for God is right, and the man only comes under the judgments of God for the spirit and the way in which he does it. Saul is not judged for slaying the Amalekites, but for not executing his commission fully and faithfully.
IV. MAN'S FAILURE IN EXECUTING THE DIVINE JUDGMENTS. Distinguish between man the agent, and man the individual God looks upon the man, and treats with him in both ways. Man's trusts from God become tests of man for God. And it may be that the more complicated and difficult the trust is, the more satisfactory it may prove as a moral test. Man is honoured in being permitted to carry out God's plans and purposes. He may even, from the gospel standpoint, be a "co-worker together with God." But God will not fail to carry out his plans to perfection, even when men may seem to fail him. - R.T.
Parallel VersesKJV: And they smote the rest of the Amalekites that were escaped, and dwelt there unto this day.