Numbers 24:3

3 and he uttered his oracle, saying: "The oracle of Balaam son of Beor, the oracle of the man whose eye is clear,

Numbers 24:3 Meaning and Commentary

Numbers 24:3

And he took up his parable
His parable of prophecy, as the Targums, his prophetic speech, which, with a loud voice, he expressed in the hearing of Balak and his nobles:

and said, Balaam the son of Beor hath said;
the preface to his prophecy is pompous, and seems to be full of pride and vanity, and so the Targums of Jonathan and Jerusalem represent him;

``the man who is more excellent than his father hath said, to whom hidden secrets, even what was hidden from the prophets is revealed to him;''

and the Jews have a saying F20 that he that has an evil eye, a haughty spirit, and a large soul, or is covetous, is one of the disciples of Balaam the wicked:

and the man whose eyes are open hath said;
or, as some F21 render it, whose eyes were shut, but now open; either the eyes of his body, which were shut when the angel met him, and the ass saw him and not he, but afterwards were open, and he saw him also; or the eyes of his understanding blinded with ambition and covetousness, but were open to see his mistake, at least so far as to be sensible that he could never prevail upon God to allow him to curse Israel; or rather open, by the spirit of prophecy coming on him, whereby he saw and foretold things to come.


FOOTNOTES:

F20 Pirke Abot, c. 5. sect. 19.
F21 So V. L. Montanus, Tigurine version

Numbers 24:3 In-Context

1 Now Balaam saw that it pleased the Lord to bless Israel, so he did not go, as at other times, to look for omens, but set his face toward the wilderness.
2 Balaam looked up and saw Israel camping tribe by tribe. Then the spirit of God came upon him,
3 and he uttered his oracle, saying: "The oracle of Balaam son of Beor, the oracle of the man whose eye is clear,
4 the oracle of one who hears the words of God, who sees the vision of the Almighty, who falls down, but with eyes uncovered:
5 how fair are your tents, O Jacob, your encampments, O Israel!

Footnotes 1