The Fourth Book of Moses, Called Numbers

Chapter 24

Balaam, leaving divinations, prophesies the happiness of Israel, 1-9. Balak, in anger, dismisses him, 10-14. He prophesies of the Star of Jacob and the destruction of some nations, 15-25.

1 And when Balaam saw that it pleased the LORD to bless Israel, he did not go, as at other times, to seek for enchantments, but he set his face toward the wilderness. 2 And Balaam lifted up his eyes and he saw Israel abiding in his tents according to their tribes, and the Spirit of God came upon him. 3 And he took up his parable and said,

"Balaam the son of Beor has said,/
and the man whose eyes are open has said,

He has said, who heard the words of God,/
who saw the vision of the Almighty,/
falling into a trance, but having his eyes open:

How beautiful your tents are, O Jacob,/
and your tabernacles, O Israel!

As the valleys they are spread forth,/
as gardens by the river's side,/
as the trees of lign-aloes which the LORD has planted,/
and as cedar-trees beside the waters.

He shall pour the water out of his buckets/
and his seed shall be in many waters,/
and his king shall be higher than Agag/
and his kingdom shall be exalted.

God brought him forth from Egypt./
He has the strength as a wild ox./
He shall eat up the nations his enemies,/
and shall break their bones/
and pierce them through with his arrows.

He couched, he lay down as a lion/
and as a great lion. Who shall rouse him?/
Blessed is he who blesses you/
and cursed is he who curses you."

10 And Balak's anger was kindled against Balaam and he smote his hands together. And Balak said to Balaam, "I called you to curse my enemies, and behold, you have altogether blessed them these three times. 11 And now, flee to your place. I thought to promote you to great honor, but behold, the LORD has kept you back from honor." 12 And Balaam said to Balak, "Did I not speak also to your messengers whom you sent to me, saying, 13 'If Balak would give me his house full of silver and gold, I could not go beyond the commandment of the LORD to do either good or bad of my own mind, but what the LORD says, that I will speak'? 14 And now, behold, I go to my people. Come therefore, I will advise you what this people will do to your people in the latter days."

15 And he took up his parable and said,

"Balaam the son of Beor has said,/
and the man whose eyes are open has said,

16 He has said, who heard the words of God/
and knew the knowledge of the Most High,/
who saw the vision of the Almighty,/
falling into a trance, but having his eyes open:

17 I shall see him, but not now./
I shall behold him, but not near./
There shall come a Star out of Jacob,/
and a Scepter shall rise out of Israel/
and shall smite the corners of Moab/
and destroy all the children of Sheth.

18 And Edom shall be a possession,/
Seir also shall be a possession for his enemies./
And Israel shall do valiantly.

19 Out of Jacob shall come he who has dominion,/
and shall destroy him who remains of the city."

20 And when he looked at Amalek, he took up his parable and said,

"Amalek was the first of the nations,/
but his latter end shall be that he shall perish forever."

21 And he looked at the Kenites and took up his parable and said,

"Your dwelling-place is strong/
and you put your nest in a rock.

22 Nevertheless, the Kenite shall be wasted/
until Asher carries you away captive."

23 And he took up his parable and said,

"Alas! Who shall live when God does this?

24 And ships shall come from the coast of Chittim/
and shall afflict Ashur and shall afflict Eber,/
and he also shall perish forever."

25 And Balaam arose and went and returned to his place. And Balak also went his way.


Matthew Henry Commentary - Numbers, Chapter 24[➚]


[v.7] - "seed" - From the Pulpit Commentary: "It is uncertain in what sense the word 'seed' issued. It may be an image as simple as the last, of seed sown either by or actually upon many waters (cf. Ecclesiastes 11:1), and so securing a plentiful and safe return; or it may stand for the seed, i.e., the posterity, of Israel, which should grow up amidst many blessings (Isaiah 44:4). The former seems most in keeping here."