Numbers 23:9

9 For from the top of the crags 1I see him, from the hills I behold him; behold, 2a people dwelling alone, and 3not counting itself among the nations!

Numbers 23:9 Meaning and Commentary

Numbers 23:9

For from the top of the rocks I see him, and from the hills I
behold him
That is, Israel in their camps; Balaam being at this time on the top of a rock, or on an high hill, from whence he had a view of Israel, encamped in the plains of Moab below him:

lo, the people shall dwell alone;
this certainly respects their dwelling in the land of Canaan, where they dwelt a separate people from all others, distinguished by their language, religion, laws, customs, and manner of living, being different both in their clothing, and in their food, from other people; nor had they dealings, nor did they company with those of other nations; see ( Esther 3:8 ) ( John 4:9 ) ( Acts 10:28 ) "or shall dwell safely" F26, or securely, not so much because of the situation of their country, but because of the protection of the Almighty; see ( Deuteronomy 33:28 )

and shall not be reckoned among the nations;
as belonging to them, shall not be made of any account by them, but be despised and reproached for their religion chiefly; nor reckon themselves of them, nor mix with them; so the Targum of Jerusalem,

``they shall not be mixed;''

or, as Jonathan,

``they shall not be led in the laws of the people;''

and though they are now scattered among the people and nations of the world, yet they are not mixed with them, nor reckoned to be a part of them; nor do they reckon themselves to be of them, but are a separate distinct people from them. Thus Israel, or the people of God in a spiritual sense, dwell alone; not solitarily, or without company, in every sense, for they have the company of Father, Son, and Spirit, of angels and saints; but they dwell in God, in Christ, in the house of God, and with one another, separately and distinctly from the world: they are a separate people in the love of God; in the choice of them in Christ; in the covenant of grace made with them in him; in redemption by him; in his intercession for them; in effectual calling; as they will be in the resurrection morn, and in heaven to all eternity: and they shall dwell safely, God being around them; Christ the rock and fortress of them; the Spirit in them being greater than he that is in the world; angels their guardians, and they in a strong city, whose walls and bulwarks are salvation: nor are they reckoned among the nations; they are chosen, redeemed, and called out of them, and are not accounted of by them any other than the refuse and offscouring of all things; nor do they reckon themselves to be of the world, but as pilgrims and strangers in it. Baal Hatturim refers this prophecy to the days of the Messiah; see ( Jeremiah 23:5 Jeremiah 23:6 ) .


F26 (rdbl) "confidenter", Pagninus; "securus", Vatablus.

Numbers 23:9 In-Context

7 And Balaam took up his discourse and said, "From Aram Balak has brought me, the king of Moab from the eastern mountains: 'Come, curse Jacob for me, and come, denounce Israel!'
8 How can I curse whom God has not cursed? How can I denounce whom the LORD has not denounced?
9 For from the top of the crags I see him, from the hills I behold him; behold, a people dwelling alone, and not counting itself among the nations!
10 Who can count the dust of Jacob or number the fourth part of Israel? Let me die the death of the upright, and let my end be like his!"
11 And Balak said to Balaam, "What have you done to me? I took you to curse my enemies, and behold, you have done nothing but bless them."

Cross References 3

  • 1. [Numbers 24:17]
  • 2. Deuteronomy 32:28
  • 3. Exodus 33:16; [Ezra 9:2; Esther 3:8; Ephesians 2:14]
The English Standard Version is published with the permission of Good News Publishers.