& Meaning •
Meaning and etymology of the name Amalek
The name Amalek is assigned to a few people in the Bible, but it isn't clear how many different Amaleks there are. The fist Amalek to appear is a son of Eliphaz, a son of Esau, the son of Isaac and Rebekah and the brother of Jacob. This Amalek's mother is called Timna and his grandmother is Adah (Genesis 36:12), and he becomes a chief in Edom (v16). But even though this is the first Amalek to be called by name, there probably was one before him. During the war of Four against Five Kings, a people called the Amalekites is mentioned conquered by the Tetrad Coalition (Genesis 14:7), but it isn't clear whether they were called Amelikites because they descended from a man named Amalek or simply lived in a town or region called that way. During his fourth oracle, the prophet Balaam proclaims Amalek to have been the "first" of the nations, but it isn't clear if he means Amalek's prominence or earliness (Numbers 24:20), or even whether he means the descendants of Esau or the Amalekites who were first trounced by king Chedorlaomer and his three friends.
The word does not really exist, and BDB Theological Dictionary dares not to propose an interpretation. But, says Jones' Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names, as a name it may be a compound of the Hebrew word ('am), people or nation; and the Hebrew verb (laqaq), lap or lick.
The second part of the name Amalek may also have something to do with the Hebrew verb (malaq), nip, as used in Leviticus 5:8 where a bird's head is nipped but not severed, or 'wring off' when it is, as in Leviticus 1:15.
The Amalekites were thus either known as the Nippers or as the Lickers. Perhaps little Amalek when he was born licked more frequently than others, and was named Leq and his people Am-aleq, which then was projected back on their arch father. Or perhaps, since the Amalekites were a bitter enemy of Israel, the descendants of some guy who in retrospect came to be known as Amalek, were known as either the Wrung Off People, or the People That Wring.
Other names that contain the word 'am are
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