The nation of Amalek sets itself apart as being eternally at war with Gd, (Ex. 17:16). We are commanded to eradicate the memory of Amalek from the world, (Deut 25:19). Yet Maimonides codifies an option for peaceful surrender even to this wicked nation of Amalek, (hil' melachim 6:6).

Does anyone dispute this view? It would appear to be at odds with the M'chilta, (see footnote), where R' Eliezer says that Gd swore upon His Throne that any individuals from the nations that came to Israel seeking to convert would be accepted, except for Amalek. Do any other medieval codes or commentators follow suit?

Inspired by this question.

  • I thought the verse says that it is God who is eternally at war with them. The difference being that although we can make peace with them, God never will (like in Hilkhot Melakhim u-Milchamoteihem 6:7[5]). This might also help reconcile the Mekhilta.
    – Tamir Evan
    Mar 21, 2014 at 10:39
  • @TamirEvan But what does that mean? That we can make peace with them, impress upon them Noahide values, and have them become upstanding people who await eternal damnation?
    – Baby Seal
    Mar 21, 2014 at 10:47
  • Part of the terms of this peaceful surrender is acceptance of subjugation: "... being on a lower level, scorned and humble. They must never raise their heads against Israel, but must remain subjugated under their rule. They may never be appointed over a Jew in any matter whatsoever." (From Eliyahu Touger translation of Hilkhot Melakhim u-Milchamoteihem 6:2[1].)
    – Tamir Evan
    Mar 21, 2014 at 10:47
  • Sefer ha chinuch agrees with Rambam, based on Sifrei
    – Baby Seal
    Mar 21, 2014 at 15:26
  • Rosh says no amalekite converts, citing David killing the amalekite convert in the beginnng of Samuel II. Not sure how he deals with haman
    – Baby Seal
    Mar 21, 2014 at 22:13

1 Answer 1


Kesef Mishnah Understands1 the RABaD to argue with Maimonides and say that even if the Seven Nations or Amalek treat, we must kill them. He clarifies in the next dissention that we did offer peace to the Seven Nations before the conquest began, but that option was off the table after crossing the Jordan, (One must at least concede that, due to the explicit verse in Joshua 11:19, I assume).

1. RaDBaZ understands RABaD differently, in a way that leaves him in agreement with Maimonides, as far as this question is concerned.

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