The Guardian says:

The story of Saul and the Amalekites is a case in point. It's not a pretty story, and it is often used by people who don't intend to do pretty things. In the book of 1 Samuel (15:3), God said to Saul:

"Now go, attack the Amalekites, and totally destroy all that belongs to them. Do not spare them; put to death men and women, children and infants, cattle and sheep, camels and donkeys."

Saul dutifully exterminated the women, the children, the babies and all of the men – but then he spared the king. He also saved some of the tastier looking calves and lambs. God was furious with him for his failure to finish the job.

The story of the Amalekites has been used to justify genocide throughout the ages. According to Pennsylvania State University Professor Philip Jenkins, a contributing editor for the American Conservative, the Puritans used this passage when they wanted to get rid of the Native American tribes.

This book says:

English conceptualization of Indian apostasy, and the figuring of Indians as Amalekites, was advanced through the depiction of Indians as remnants of the Ten Lost Tribes of Israel.

This book says:

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Are there any historical records that say Christian colonizers viewed the American Indians as Amalekites?

  • Might get better answers on christianity.stackexchange.com.
    – user11643
    Commented Jan 6, 2017 at 1:41
  • This is a bit of a wishy-washy claim. It seems impossible to prove that (a) zero people ever used the story, (b) some did, but it was an insignificant number, or (c) some did, and it was a significant number. What sort of evidence would it take to convince you either way?
    – Oddthinking
    Commented Jan 6, 2017 at 3:09
  • 3
    If your questions is "Was there deliberate use of biological weapons against Native Americans?" it is a duplicate. If your question is "Did colonials commit deliberate genocide against Native Americans?", that's better answered at History.SE.
    – Oddthinking
    Commented Jan 6, 2017 at 7:35
  • 2
    @Mohammad Sakib Arifin: There's a difference between war and genocide. Your percentages are also distorted by the addion of tens of millions of immigrants (and their offspring) to the population. It's a plain fact that there are a good many Indians today, and many more Americans who, like me, are of mixed descent. If there was ever a deliberate policy of genocide, there wouldn't be.
    – jamesqf
    Commented Jan 6, 2017 at 8:17
  • 1
    @Sklivvz If Mohammad asks "Did Christian colonizers refer to the American Indians as Amalekites" instead of "...view the American Indians as Amalekites", would that be more reopenable?
    – DavePhD
    Commented Jan 10, 2017 at 13:06

1 Answer 1


In 1702 Cotton Mather, a Christian colonial minister, wrote Magnalia Christi Americana: Or the Ecclesiatical History of New England from its first planting in the year 1620 unto the year of our Lord, 1698, a seven book work.

In this work, there are two statements viewing Indians as Amalekites.

The first statement is in book III, at page 64. This is in a section of the book which is about Thomas Hooker.

Nor was the wonderful Success of his Prayer, upon special Concerns, unobserved by the whole Colony; who reckoned him the Moses, which turned away the Wrath of God from them, and obtained a Blast from Heaven upon their Indian Amalekites, by his uplifted Hands, in those remarkable Deliverances which they sometimes experienced. It was very particularly observed, when there was a Battel to be fought between the Narraganset and the Menhegin Indians, in the Year 1643. The Narraganset Indians had complotted the Ruine of the English, but the Monhegin were Confederate with us...

This passage goes on to describe the defeat of the Narragansett Indians by the Mohegan Indians. In other words, the colonists allied with the Mohegan against the Narragansett, and the prayer of Hooker was being credited for the defeat of the Narragansett.

In the above passage, "who reckoned him the Moses, which turned away the Wrath of God from them, and obtained a Blast from Heaven upon their Indian Amalekites, by his uplifted Hands", is a reference not to the bible verse indicated in the OP, but instead to Exodus 17:11 :

And it came to pass, when Moses held up his hand, that Israel prevailed: and when he let down his hand, Amalek prevailed.

The second statement is in Book VII at page 116. It is in a section titled "The History of ten years rouled away under the great Calamities of the War with Indian-savages, repeated and improved in a sermon at Boston Lecture 27d.7m. 1698":

Let us keep our Hands lifted up in Prayer, for a Total Dissipation of those Amalekites, which have thus long and thus far prevailed against us !

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