The verse says (Shemos 17:13): And Yehoshua weakened Amalek and his nation in accordance with the sword.

Who did he weaken exactly - what's the difference between Amalek and his nation? Or is there a different antecedent of "his"?

Also why לפי חרב, if the meaning is with the sword, בחרב is much clearer?

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    In order to call better attention to it so it gets answers, I recommend you relive the last paragraph from here (it's really a separate question) and ask it separately.
    – msh210
    Commented Feb 1, 2015 at 16:41

1 Answer 1


What's the difference between Amalek and his nation?

On “Amalek and his nation” Seforno says “who were collected from another people to fight”.

I understand him to mean that the “nation” were his in the sense that he assembled them to fight with him but that they were not amalekites (may their name be erased).

The Sefer שערי אהרון quotes the שכל טוב to say that the expression לפי חרב implies that he decapitated them and cut them in small pieces. Maybe this is the power of the word לפי expressing special sharpness?

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    IIRC correctly he also suggests that Amalek was the name (or possibly referent) of the King of Amalek. Commented Feb 1, 2015 at 20:03
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    @YeZ These ideas (i.e. the one in the answer and the one in your comment) are actually mentioned by the Ibn Ezra (Sh'mos 17:14): ויש אומרים כי היה שם המלך בעבור שאמר הכתוב ואת עמו או עם אחר נתחבר עמו. The Seforno gives only the explanation in this answer (הַמְקֻבָּץ מֵעַם אַחֵר לְהִלָּחֵם).
    – Fred
    Commented Feb 2, 2015 at 2:37

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