Who Is the Enemy?

Reuven Firestone

in Holy War in Judaism

Published in print July 2012 | ISBN: 9780199860302
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199950621 | DOI:
Who Is the Enemy?

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The mortal enemies of Israel become schematized in Rabbinic Judaism into two paradigmatic entities: the seven Canaanite nations and the Amalekites, both of which disappeared from history. The Amalekites, although destroyed physically, live on as a metaphor for both the external and internal evil that weakens Israel. Jewish aggression is thus redirected to imagined paradigms rather than real groups, further limiting the possibility of Jewish war in real time. A further limitation is imposed by the rabbis by insisting that a discretionary war may be prosecuted only under the authority of both the king and the Sanhedrin, a court of seventy-one rabbis.

Keywords: Amalek; Amalekites; Canaanite Nations; Seven Nations; King David; Urim vetumim; Sanhedrin

Chapter.  4067 words. 

Subjects: Judaism and Jewish Studies

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