Church of God, New World Ministries

Bible Q & A

Q. In I Samuel 15:3, God commanded Saul to “go and smite Amalek, and utterly destroy all that they have, and spare them not; but slay both man and woman, infant and suckling, ox and sheep, camel and ass.” Why did God have to deal so harshly with these people?
A. God says: “All that do unrighteously, are an abomination unto the Lord thy God. Remember what Amalek did unto thee (Israel) by the way, when ye were come forth out of Egypt; how he met thee by the way, and smote the hindmost of thee, even all that were feeble behind thee, when thou wast faint and weary: and he feared not God” (Deut. 25:16-18).

Notice how harsh and unfair the Amalekites were. First, they waited until their enemy was so weak that it could barely stand up. Even then they attacked from behind, killing the laggers one by one. This is illustrative of the depraved character of the Amalekites.

But why did God slay all of them? Surely there must have been some that were righteous. If so, why didn’t God spare them?

Let’s take another example – of Sodom and Gomorrah! Notice how God dealt with these people. “Wilt thou also destroy the righteous with the wicked?” asked Abraham of God concerning Sodom. “Peradventure there be fifty righteous within the city: wilt thou also destroy and not spare the place for the fifty righteous that are therein? That be far from thee to do after this manner, to slay the righteous with the wicked: and that the righteous should be as the wicked that be far from thee: Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?

“And the Lord said, if I find in Sodom fifty righteous within the city, I will spare all the place for their sakes. Peradventure ten (righteous) shall be found there,” as Abraham. “And he (God) said, I will not destroy it for ten’s sake…” (Gen. 18:23-33).

The same principle applies to the Amalekites! God may have spared the Amalekites if there had been even ten among them that were righteous. But there wasn’t one innocent person among them! The whole society was degenerate!

But understand God’s plan! Are these people lost forever? No – absolutely not! They will be resurrected to mortal flesh and blood and given a chance to live under God’s Government (Rev. 20:12). If they then repent of their evil acts and obey God they will be given eternal life as members of His Family. God put these people out of their misery, all the while realizing that He would resurrect them, and give them their first real chance for salvation. How merciful (Ps. 103:1-18) is God!
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