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Tuesday, February 05, 2008

The Amorites - the first suicide attackers?

In a paper about suicide terror written by the Palestinian Human Rights Monitoring Group comes this curious comment:
The earliest reference of a SA outside the context of warfare has been suggested to be the Biblical story of the Amorites attacking the Jews: “The Amorite who dwell on that mountain went out against you and pursued you as the bees would do; they struck you in Seir until Hormah.” The 11th century French rabbi Rashi suggested this to mean that the Amorites attacked like bees do, i.e. stinging and then dying.
Apparently this came from a Wikipedia entry that has since been discarded.

The verse is in Deuteronomy 1:44:
וַיֵּצֵא הָאֱמֹרִי הַיֹּשֵׁב בָּהָר הַהוּא, לִקְרַאתְכֶם, וַיִּרְדְּפוּ אֶתְכֶם, כַּאֲשֶׁר תַּעֲשֶׂינָה הַדְּבֹרִים; וַיַּכְּתוּ אֶתְכֶם בְּשֵׂעִיר, עַד-חָרְמָה.

The Rashi (translated) is
Just as this bee when it stings a person, it [the bee] dies immediately;172 so too when they [the Emorites] touched you, they died immediately.

This seems a bit of a stretch to say that the Amorites purposefully killed themselves to hurt Jews, but it is still noteworthy.