Exodus 17:14
Parallel Verses
English Standard Version
Then the LORD said to Moses, “Write this as a memorial in a book and recite it in the ears of Joshua, that I will utterly blot out the memory of Amalek from under heaven.”

King James Bible
And the LORD said unto Moses, Write this for a memorial in a book, and rehearse it in the ears of Joshua: for I will utterly put out the remembrance of Amalek from under heaven.

American Standard Version
And Jehovah said unto Moses, Write this for a memorial in a book, and rehearse it in the ears of Joshua: that I will utterly blot out the remembrance of Amalek from under heaven.

Douay-Rheims Bible
And the Lord said to Moses: Write this for a memorial in a book, and deliver it to the ears of Josue: for I will destroy the memory of Amalec from under heaven.

English Revised Version
And the LORD said unto Moses, Write this for a memorial in a book, and rehearse it in the ears of Joshua: that I will utterly blot out the remembrance of Amalek from under heaven.

Webster's Bible Translation
And the LORD said to Moses, Write this for a memorial in a book, and rehearse it in the ears of Joshua: for I will utterly blot out the remembrance of Amalek from under heaven.

Exodus 17:14 Parallel
Commentary
Keil and Delitzsch Biblical Commentary on the Old Testament

The want of water had only just been provided for, when Israel had to engage in a conflict with the Amalekites, who had fallen upon their rear and smitten it (Deuteronomy 25:18). The expansion of this tribe, that was descended from a grandson of Esau (see Genesis 36:12), into so great a power even in the Mosaic times, is perfectly conceivable, if we imagine the process to have been analogous to that which we have already described in the case of the leading branches of the Edomites, who had grown into a powerful nation through the subjugation and incorporation of the earlier population of Mount Seir. The Amalekites had no doubt come to the neighbourhood of Sinai for the same reason for which, even in the present day, the Bedouin Arabs leave the lower districts at the beginning of summer, and congregate in the mountain regions of the Arabian peninsula, viz., because the grass is dried up in the former, whereas in the latter the pasturage remains green much longer, on account of the climate being comparatively cooler (Burckhardt, Syr. p. 789). There they fell upon the Israelites, probably in the Sheikh valley, where the rear had remained behind the main body, not merely for the purpose of plundering or of disputing the possession of this district and its pasture ground with the Israelites, but to assail Israel as the nation of God, and if possible to destroy it. The divine command to exterminate Amalek (Exodus 17:14) points to this; and still more the description given of the Amalekites in Balaam's utterances, as גּוים ראשׁית, "the beginning," i.e., the first and foremost of the heathen nations (Numbers 24:20). In Amalek the heathen world commenced that conflict with the people of God, which, while it aims at their destruction, can only be terminated by the complete annihilation of the ungodly powers of the world. Earlier theologians pointed out quite correctly the deepest ground for the hostility of the Amalekites, when they traced the causa belli to this fact, "quod timebat Amalec, qui erat de semine Esau, jam implendam benedictionem, quam Jacob obtinuit et praeripuit ipsi Esau, praesertim cum in magna potentia venirent Israelitae, ut promissam occuparent terram" Mnster, C. a Lapide, etc.). This peculiar significance in the conflict is apparent, not only from the divine command to exterminate the Amalekites, and to carry on the war of Jehovah with Amalek from generation to generation (Exodus 17:14 and Exodus 17:16), but also from the manner in which Moses led the Israelites to battle and to victory. Whereas he had performed all the miracles in Egypt and on the journey by stretching out his staff, on this occasion he directed his servant Joshua to choose men for the war, and to fight the battle with the sword. He himself went with Aaron and Hur to the summit of a hill to hold up the staff of God in his hands, that he might procure success to the warriors through the spiritual weapons of prayer.

The proper name of Joshua, who appears here for the first time in the service of Moses, as Hosea (הושׁע); he was a prince of the tribe of Ephraim (Numbers 13:8, Numbers 13:16; Deuteronomy 32:44). The name יהושׁע, "Jehovah is help" (or, God-help), he probably received at the time when he entered Moses' service, either before or after the battle with the Amalekites (see Numbers 13:16, and Hengstenberg, Dissertations, vol. ii.). Hur, who also held a prominent position in the nation, according to Exodus 24:14, in connection with Aaron, was the son of Caleb, the son of Hezron, the grandson of Judah (1 Chronicles 2:18-20), and the grandfather of Bezaleel, the architect of the tabernacle (Exodus 31:2; Exodus 35:30; Exodus 38:22, cf. 1 Chronicles 2:19-20). According to Jewish tradition, he was the husband of Miriam.

The battle was fought on the day after the first attack (Exodus 17:9). The hill (גּבעה, not Mount Horeb), upon the summit of which Moses took up his position during the battle, along with Aaron and Hur, cannot be fixed upon with exact precision, but it was probably situated in the table-land of Fureia, to the north of er Rahah and the Sheikh valley, which is a fertile piece of pasture ground (Burckhardt, p. 801; Robinson, i. pp. 139, 215), or else in the plateau which runs to the north-east of the Horeb mountains and to the east of the Sheikh valley, with the two peaks Umlanz and Um Alawy; supposing, that is, that the Amalekites attacked the Israelites from Wady Muklifeh or es Suweiriyeh. Moses went to the top of the hill that he might see the battle from thence. He took Aaron and Hur with him, not as adjutants to convey his orders to Joshua and the army engaged, but to support him in his own part in connection with the conflict. This was to hold up his hand with the staff of God in it. To understand the meaning of this sign, it must be borne in mind that, although Exodus 17:11 merely speaks of the raising and dropping of the hand (in the singular), yet, according to Exodus 17:12, both hands were supported by Aaron and Hur, who stood one on either side, so that Moses did not hold up his hands alternately, but grasped the staff with both his hands, and held it up with the two. The lifting up of the hands has been regarded almost with unvarying unanimity by Targumists, Rabbins, Fathers, Reformers, and nearly all the more modern commentators, as the sign or attitude of prayer. Kurtz, on the contrary, maintains, in direct opposition to the custom observed throughout the whole of the Old Testament by all pious and earnest worshipers, of lifting up their hands to God in heaven, that this view attributes an importance to the outward form of prayer which has no analogy even in the Old Testament; he therefore agrees with Lakemacher, in Rosenmller's Scholien, in regarding the attitude of Moses with his hand lifted up as "the attitude of a commander superintending and directing the battle," and the elevation of the hand as only the means adopted for raising the staff, which was elevated in the sight of the warriors of Israel as the banner of victory. But this meaning cannot be established from Exodus 17:15 and Exodus 17:16. For the altar with the name "Jehovah my banner," and the watchword "the hand on the banner of Jehovah, war of the Lord against Amalek," can neither be proved to be connected with the staff which Moses held in his hand, nor be adduced as a proof that Moses held the staff in front of the Israelites as the banner of victory. The lifting up of the staff of God was, no doubt, a banner to the Israelites of victory over their foes, but not in this sense, that Moses directed the battle as commander-in-chief, for he had transferred the command to Joshua; nor yet in this sense, that he imparted divine powers to the warriors by means of the staff, and so secured the victory. To effect this, he would not have lifted it up, but have stretched it out, either over the combatants, or at all events towards them, as in the case of all the other miracles that were performed with the staff. The lifting up of the staff secured to the warriors the strength needed to obtain the victory, from the fact that by means of the staff Moses brought down this strength from above, i.e., from the Almighty God in heaven; not indeed by a merely spiritless and unthinking elevation of the staff, but by the power of his prayer, which was embodied in the lifting up of his hands with the staff, and was so far strengthened thereby, that God had chosen and already employed this staff as a medium of the saving manifestation of His almighty power. There is no other way in which we can explain the effect produced upon the battle by the raising and dropping (הניח) of the staff in his hands. As long as Moses held up the staff, he drew down from God victorious powers for the Israelites by means of his prayer; but when he let it fall through the exhaustion of the strength of his hands, he ceased to draw down the power of God, and Amalek gained the upper hand. The staff, therefore, as it was stretched out on high, was not a sign to the Israelites that were fighting, for it is by no means certain that they could see it in the heat of the battle; but it was a sign to Jehovah, carrying up, as it were, to God the wishes and prayers of Moses, and bringing down from God victorious powers for Israel. If the intention had been the hold it up before the Israelites as a banner of victory. Moses would not have withdrawn to a hill apart from the field of battle, but would either have carried it himself in front of the army, or have given it to Joshua as commander, to be borne by him in front of the combatants, or else have entrusted it to Aaron, who had performed the miracles in Egypt, that he might carry it at their head. The pure reason why Moses did not do this, but withdrew from the field of battle to lift up the staff of God upon the summit of a hill, and to secure the victory by so doing, is to be found in the important character of the battle itself. As the heathen world was now commencing its conflict with the people of God in the persons of the Amalekites, and the prototype of the heathen world, with its hostility to God, was opposing the nation of the Lord, that had been redeemed from the bondage of Egypt and was on its way to Canaan, to contest its entrance into the promised inheritance; so the battle which Israel fought with this foe possessed a typical significance in relation to all the future history of Israel. It could not conquer by the sword alone, but could only gain the victory by the power of God, coming down from on high, and obtained through prayer and those means of grace with which it had been entrusted. The means now possessed by Moses were the staff, which was, as it were, a channel through which the powers of omnipotence were conducted to him. In most cases he used it under the direction of God; but God had not promised him miraculous help for the conflict with the Amalekites, and for this reason he lifted up his hands with the staff in prayer to God, that he might thereby secure the assistance of Jehovah for His struggling people. At length he became exhausted, and with the falling of his hands and the staff he held, the flow of divine power ceased, so that it was necessary to support his arms, that they might be kept firmly directed upwards (אמוּנה, lit., firmness) until the enemy was entirely subdued. And from this Israel was to learn the lesson, that in all its conflicts with the ungodly powers of the world, strength for victory could only be procured through the incessant lifting up of its hands in prayer. "And Joshua discomfited Amalek and his people (the Amalekites and their people) with the edge of the sword" (i.e., without quarter. See Genesis 34:26).

Exodus 17:14 Parallel Commentaries

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

memorial

Exodus 12:14 And this day shall be to you for a memorial; and you shall keep it a feast to the LORD throughout your generations...

Exodus 13:9 And it shall be for a sign to you on your hand, and for a memorial between your eyes, that the LORD's law may be in your mouth...

Exodus 34:27 And the LORD said to Moses, Write you these words: for after the tenor of these words I have made a covenant with you and with Israel.

Deuteronomy 31:9 And Moses wrote this law, and delivered it to the priests the sons of Levi, which bore the ark of the covenant of the LORD...

Joshua 4:7 Then you shall answer them, That the waters of Jordan were cut off before the ark of the covenant of the LORD...

Job 19:23 Oh that my words were now written! oh that they were printed in a book!

Haggai 2:2,3 Speak now to Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and to Joshua the son of Josedech, the high priest...

for I will

Numbers 24:20 And when he looked on Amalek, he took up his parable, and said, Amalek was the first of the nations...

Deuteronomy 25:17-19 Remember what Amalek did to you by the way, when you were come forth out of Egypt...

1 Samuel 15:2,3,7,8,18 Thus said the LORD of hosts, I remember that which Amalek did to Israel, how he laid wait for him in the way...

1 Samuel 27:8,9 And David and his men went up, and invaded the Geshurites, and the Gezrites, and the Amalekites...

1 Samuel 30:1,17 And it came to pass, when David and his men were come to Ziklag on the third day, that the Amalekites had invaded the south, and Ziklag...

2 Samuel 1:1,8-16 Now it came to pass after the death of Saul, when David was returned from the slaughter of the Amalekites...

2 Samuel 8:12 Of Syria, and of Moab, and of the children of Ammon, and of the Philistines, and of Amalek, and of the spoil of Hadadezer...

1 Chronicles 4:43 And they smote the rest of the Amalekites that were escaped, and dwelled there to this day.

Ezra 9:14 Should we again break your commandments, and join in affinity with the people of these abominations?...

the remembrance

Job 18:17 His remembrance shall perish from the earth, and he shall have no name in the street.

Psalm 9:6 O you enemy, destructions are come to a perpetual end: and you have destroyed cities; their memorial is perished with them.

Proverbs 10:7 The memory of the just is blessed: but the name of the wicked shall rot.

Cross References
Exodus 17:13
And Joshua overwhelmed Amalek and his people with the sword.

Exodus 24:4
And Moses wrote down all the words of the LORD. He rose early in the morning and built an altar at the foot of the mountain, and twelve pillars, according to the twelve tribes of Israel.

Exodus 32:33
But the LORD said to Moses, "Whoever has sinned against me, I will blot out of my book.

Exodus 34:27
And the LORD said to Moses, "Write these words, for in accordance with these words I have made a covenant with you and with Israel."

Numbers 33:2
Moses wrote down their starting places, stage by stage, by command of the LORD, and these are their stages according to their starting places.

Deuteronomy 25:19
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.

1 Samuel 15:3
Now go and strike Amalek and devote to destruction all that they have. Do not spare them, but kill both man and woman, child and infant, ox and sheep, camel and donkey.'"

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