This nomadic nation was, in ancient times, Israel's eternal foe. Shortly after the Israelites left Egypt and were wondering the desert, the Amalekites attacked the weary nation, slaughtering the weak and elderly. The Israelites, under the leadership of Joshua, later avenged the attack and defeated the Amalekites, but failed to completely eradicate the nation. Israel was then plagued with raids Amalekite raids. Today, the name Amalek is a symbol for evil and hatred against Jews, and Haman, the Persian leader who vowed to destroy all Jews, is considered a descendant of Agag, king of the Amalekites.
Sources: Bridger, David. Ed. The
New Jewish Encyclopedia. NY: Behrman House, Inc. 1976.