Victoria & Albert Museum/Art Resource, NY

Dressed in armor, Joshua (at right) spears an Amalekite while his fellow Israelite soldiers beat their fiercest enemies with clubs. At left, Moses, flanked by Aaron and Hur, watches over the battle. According to Exodus 17, whenever Moses held his rod aloft, the Israelites prevailed; but as he tired, and his arms dropped, the Amalekites gained the field. So, Aaron and Hur sat Moses on a stone to rest and supported his arms. “And Joshua overwhelmed the people of Amalek with the sword.” Moses predicted: “The Lord will be at war with Amalek throughout the ages” (Exodus 17:13, 16). This woodcut appears in the Nuremberg Chronicle, a history of the world produced in 1493, soon after the invention of the printing press.

The Bible presents the Amalekites as Israel’s chief enemy throughout David’s reign, but they are not mentioned afterwards. Thus, Rendsburg argues, the Torah references to the Amalekites as Israel’s chief enemy can be dated no later than the tenth century B.C.E.