Reading the Text: Haftarah Zachor III
Transcribed and prepared by Anna Beller: And Shaul smote Amalek at this area, and captured the king Agag of Amalek alive, and all the nation, he destroyed by the sword.
Why didn’t he kill Agag? Shaul and the nation had mercy on Agag and on the best of the sheep and cattle and the fat ones, and they did not want to destroy them. But whatever wasn’t choice, that, they destroyed.
Wow! It says they had mercy. It doesn’t mean he wanted to derive any benefit it was mercy. Is that why they captured Agag alive because they had mercy on him? They killed the children. – They captured Agag the king of Amalek alive, the nation they wiped out, and Shaul and the nation had mercy of Agag and on the best of the sheep. Did they capture him alive because they had mercy? They kept him alive from mercy, they captured him alive for a different reason: they didn’t want to kill him, then they wanted to kill him in front of all the Jewish people, so they would know that it had been done. Something changed.
You wipe out the children but you don’t kill the animals? There’s something more going on here, you kill the children but not the king? Who’s having the mercy? Shaul alone? The nation alone? Who didn’t have mercy? The 10,000 men of Yehudah who are not mentioned. So that they don’t have passion somehow allows them to produce King David!
So we don’t really understand, we don’t know what the intention was with the animals: how can you have the compassion on the best of the animals and the ones that weren’t so good they killed. There’s one opinion form the Rishonim that any animal that had been used for the wrong kind of purposes, with relationship with human beings are the ones that they had killed.
How could they kill men, women and children and not the animals. What is the verse saying?? It says vayachmol– they had mercy. It wasn’t because they wanted to show off the king. This verse is mercy.
The key is he had a name; Agag. Everyone else was a nobody, the minute he had a name he couldn’t be killed.
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