Now Amalek came and fought with Israel in Rephidim. Exo 17:8
Because the LORD has sworn: the LORD will have war with Amalek from generation to generation. Exo 17:16
We have seen from the beginning, that of the two brothers, Cain and Abel, Cain was unrighteous and Abel righteous. Of the two brothers, Ishmael and Isaac, Ishmael was unrighteous, and Isaac righteous. Of the two brothers, Esau and Jacob, Esau was unrighteous, and Jacob righteous – by election, Paul teaches us, for God favored Jacob over Esau from their mother’s womb (Rom 9:10-13). In fact, of Esau, the LORD said, “Jacob have I loved, but Esau I hated;” (Mal 1:2-3).
What is it about Esau that the LORD hates? He is the continuation of the line of those in the earth who have refused YHVH as their God. His desire is to kill his (favored and righteous) brother Jacob, just as Cain killed his (favored and righteous) brother Abel.
Amalek was the grandson of Esau (Gen 36:12), and the very next occurrence of Amalek in the Scriptures is right here in today’s reading! Amalek’s territory was not close by the wilderness that Israel was camping in. They weren’t in any imminent threat of being attacked by Israel. So they had to travel some distance to get to Israel to attack them. Furthermore,
“Remember what Amalek did to you on the way as you were coming out of Egypt, how he met you on the way and attacked your rear ranks, all the stragglers at your rear, when you were tired and weary; and he did not fear God.” Deu 25:17-18
As we go through Torah, we will see that God cares for the weak, vulnerable, and oppressed. Amalek, on the other hand, lies in wait to kill the weak, vulnerable and oppressed. Amalek shows up prominently at another place in the Scriptures: Haman, in the book of Esther, who worked to have the entire race of the Jews destroyed in Persia, is a descendant of Amalek!
Amalek is in fact the spiritual heir of Cain, Ishmael, and Esau. All who do not fear God, from generation to generation, are Amalek’s seed, upon whom YHVH will make war until his remembrance is utterly blotted out from under heaven.
For further study: The lack of water at Massah and Meribah sounds like another incident we have just read – the lack of drinkable water at Marah (Exo 15:22-26). How are these incidents similar? Are they the two bookends of a chiastic structure? Fill in the structure and find the central axis. Why has Scripture put neon flashing lights around this passage?
Finding Messiah: The rock from which the water flowed (Exo 17:1-7), Paul tells us, was Messiah:
Moreover, brethren, I do not want you to be unaware that all our fathers were under the cloud, all passed through the sea, all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea, all ate the same spiritual food, and all drank the same spiritual drink. For they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them, and that Rock was Christ. 1 Cor 10:1-4
For further reading:
The LORD will have war with Amalek from generation to generation (aish.com)
The Tares Among the Wheat by Brad Scott