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Agag (king of Amalekites)
Excerpt from the Lexham Bible Dictionary, the most advanced Bible dictionary.
A king of the Amalekites whom Saul captured and Samuel killed (1 Sam 15).The Bible’s portrayal of Agag is unclear because of textual difficulties. The text of 1 Sam 15:32—in which Agag is brought before Samuel—contains two uncertain portions. The word used to describe Agag is obscure. Some possibilities for translation are “confidently” (LEB), “trembling” (NET), or “in chains” (NIV). Which possibility seems the best will depend on the interpretation of the next line.In this next line, Agag says “the bitterness of death is over.” This may mean that he believes that he will not be killed, or that he no longer feels that death will be bitter. The first meaning seems too optimistic; even though he has not yet been killed, ancient peoples often killed their captives (see Josh 10:26). The second meaning shows him as philosophically resigned to death—his family and nation are already dead. This is possible—Adoni-Bezek in Judg 1:7 and Zebah and Zalmunna in Judg 8:21 met their deaths in this way. This line is sometimes interpreted to mean “What a bitter thing it is to die!” (GNB), but this involves changing the text.The book of Esther describes Haman, the enemy of the Jews, as an “Agagite” (Esth 3:1, 10; 8:3, 5; 9:24).
Dictionaries
The Lexham Bible Dictionary
Agag II
Agag II (אֲגַג‎, agag). A king of the Amalekites whom Saul captured and Samuel killed (1 Sam 15).The Bible’s portrayal of Agag is unclear because of textual difficulties. The text of 1 Sam 15:32—in which Agag is brought before Samuel—contains two uncertain portions. The word used to describe Agag is
The Anchor Yale Bible Dictionary
Agag (Person)
AGAG (PERSON) [Heb ʾăgag (אֲגַג)]. The name of two kings of the Amalekites (Num 24:7 and 1 Sam 15:8–9, 20, 32–33), and perhaps a traditional or common name of all their kings—like Pharaoh in Egypt and perhaps Abimelech (Achish) among the Philistines. Though the etymological meaning is not certain, it
Baker Encyclopedia of the Bible
Agag
Agag. 1. Name of an Amalekite king, or perhaps a general title for their kings (like the Egyptian “pharaoh”). Balaam prophesied that Israel’s king would be greater than Agag (Nm 24:7).2. Name of another Amalekite king. God told Samuel to send King Saul to wipe out the Amalekite nation down to the last
The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, Revised
Agag (king of Amalekites)
2. Another Amalekite king defeated by Saul but spared, along with the choicest spoil, in contravention of the divine command (1 S. 15:8f). After rebuking Saul, Samuel himself killed Agag for all the Amalekite atrocities.
Tyndale Bible Dictionary
Agag
AGAG1. Name of an Amalekite king, or perhaps a general title for their kings (like the Egyptian “pharaoh”). Balaam prophesied that Israel’s king would be greater than Agag (Nm 24:7).2. Name of another Amalekite king. God told Samuel to send King Saul to wipe out the Amalekite nation down to the last
The HarperCollins Bible Dictionary (Revised and Updated)
Agag
Agag (ay´gag). The apparent name of two non-Israelite kings, though some scholars speculate that Agag might not be a proper name, but a designation (analogous to “Pharaoh”) for all Amalekite rulers.1 The name of an unknown king referred to in Num. 24:7 (called “Gog” in the lxx). Balaam prophesies that
The Wycliffe Bible Encyclopedia
Agag
AGAG. The king of the Amalekites, who was captured and his life spared by Saul, although the prophet Samuel had commanded that all Amalekites be put to death. When Samuel went out to meet Saul after the king had returned from the victory, the bleating of the sheep belied his claim of perfect obedience.
The New Bible Dictionary, Third Edition
Agag
AGAG. From Balaam’s use of the name (Nu. 24:7, etc.) it would appear to be the common title of the kings of Amalek as ‘Pharaoh’ was in Egypt. In particular, the name is used of the king of the Amalekites taken by Saul and, contrary to God’s command, spared along with the spoil. He was slain by Samuel.
Eerdmans Dictionary of the Bible
Agag
Agag (Heb. ʾăg̱ag̱) (PERSON)Name of two Amalekite kings (Num. 24:7; LXX “Gog”; 1 Sam. 15:8–9, 20, 32–33), or possibly a dynastic name for all their kings. In 1 Sam. 15 Saul’s refusal finally to kill Agag, for Amalek’s cruelty to Israel at the Exodus (Exod. 17:8–16; Deut. 25:17–19), results in Yahweh’s
Eerdmans Bible Dictionary
Agag
Agag [āˊgăg] (Heb. ˒ag̱ag̱, possibly “the raging one”). An Amalekite king whose life, contrary to the express command of the Lord, King Saul spared after having defeated the Amalekites and taken captive their king (1 Sam. 15:1–9). Samuel, however, was more mindful of God’s instructions and on the
Catholic Bible Dictionary
Agag
AGAG The name of two Amalekite kings; it may be a throne name—the name of a dynasty of rulers—rather than a personal name. It is also possible that there is only one king, mentioned in two different times and places. The first is mentioned in Num 24:7, where Balaam predicts that the future kings of Israel
Smith’s Bible Dictionary
Agag
A´gag (flame), possibly the title of the kings of Amalek, like Pharaoh of Egypt. One king of this name is mentioned in Num. 24:7, and another in 1 Sam. 15:8, 9, 20, 32. The latter was the king of the Amalekites, whom Saul spared contrary to Jehovah’s well-known will. Ex. 17:14; Deut. 25:17. For this
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