I was just reviewing the Rashi on the parsha and I was struck by a couple very unusual juxtapositions.

17:14 reads "... Write this as a remembrance in the Book and place it in the ears of Yehoshua, for I shall surely wipe out the memory of Amalek from under the heavens."

Rashi: "Place it in the ears of Yehoshua" - The one who brings Israel into the Land.

There is currently no decree preventing Moshe from coming to Israel (which was supposed to happen in a couple months), so at this point, wasn't Moshe under the assumption that he himself would bring them into the land?

Rashi notes that "Here it is hinted to Moshe that Yehoshua would bring Yisroel into the land." Why specifically by this mitzvah?

But there's a bigger problem: According to Rashi in the previous possuk, Yehoshua specifically did NOT kill all of Amalek when he had the chance, and "from here we learn that he acted by the word of the Shechinah/Divine Presence."

Why would Hashem essentially command Yehoshua to leave them alive now if he was to wipe them out later (which, as Hashem surely knew, would be unsuccessful)? Is there a source which discusses this confusing passage and explains why it demarcates the transition between Moshe and Yehoshua and Hashem stopping Yehoshua from "finishing the job" right then and there?

  • Regarding the 1st concern, it's possible that G-d was saying the Yehosuhua would LEAD them into Israel, meaning that the leadership would pass to him by that time. I'm assuming that you are concerned that there was a hint to Moshe that he wouldn't make it there, but, that's not obvious in the question.
    – DanF
    Feb 10, 2017 at 16:32
  • Re 2nd question - Maybe this leads to a generality. IF Amalek had been completely wiped out, how would one reconcile that with the mitzvah in Ki Tavo that says to wipe them out? How could one perform such a mitzvah? Perhaps, for some reason, G-d wanted to make this a specific mitzvah?
    – DanF
    Feb 10, 2017 at 16:35
  • @DanF If we understand Moshe to have the concept of Malchus (as much of Chazal do) and "Ain malchut maga bichaverta afilu kimlo nima" then it is inevitable that Moshe must predecease Yehoshua assuming the leadership (much like what happened with Aharon). Feb 10, 2017 at 19:58
  • @DanF re your second comment: Fulfilling the destruction preemptively would obviate the need for the later mitzvah. See Rambam and his understanding of the Mishkan being a tikkun for Eigel Hazahav for a similar example where something became a mitzvah as a response to an event. Feb 10, 2017 at 20:00
  • @DanF this sort of ties into a running theme I've noticed - that Hashem "sets up" future conflict, as it were... Feb 10, 2017 at 20:01

2 Answers 2


The Medrash Rabba at the end of Parshas Shemois (literally the last sentence) says on Perek 6 Possuk 1 that you Moshe will see the Milchamois of Paroh and is Medayek that you wont see he Milchamois of the 31 Kings of Canaan and then sums up "Mikaan" that Moshe would not enter into Eretz Yisroel 3 Sedras earlier to what it says in Parshas Beshalach

You have made an assumption that "currently there is no decree preventing Moshe from coming to Israel" that does not fit in with the Medrash.

  • This could be greatly improved by noting that Rashi actually follows this Midrash in his comments to 6:1. Good find!
    – DonielF
    Apr 2, 2018 at 21:05
  • wonderful find! but that still doesn't answer the questions asked - why here, and why is yehoshua stopped from killing out all of Amalek in order to leave them alive to cause later problems? Side point: One might argue that there is a distinction between the EVENT (where Moshe was not yet told of this decree) and the later transcription of this event (presumably after the decree was passed)... Apr 3, 2018 at 19:08

the mitzva of erasing amalek has a pre condition as it says. והיה בהניח לך מכל אוביל. and that includes the splitting of the land appropriately. In fact the first person who met that condition was shaul hamelech and he was able and chosen by god to do it. “ yet he failed “. and his granddaughter ester ha malka fixed his mistake (by haman ). one thing yehoshua shaul and esther had in common was their yichus from BINYAMIN which is helpful in winning amalek which explains why by this mitzva god chose to start using yehoshua (it was his first)

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