Numbers 24:4

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:

Numbers 24:4 Meaning and Commentary

Numbers 24:4

He hath said, which heard the words of God
God speaking to him, which he did several times, and with which he was greatly elated, see ( Numbers 22:9 Numbers 22:20 ) ( Numbers 23:4 Numbers 23:5 Numbers 23:16 ) :

which saw the vision of the Almighty;
not that he had a sight of any similitude of God, though the angel that appeared to him, which was Christ the uncreated angel, might appear in an human form, for some visible form was seen both by the ass and him; but rather this respects the visions of God to him in the night; it may be in a dream, as has been already observed, and which the following words seem to confirm:

falling into a trance, but having his eyes open:
or falling into a deep sleep, and yet the eyes of his body open, which sometimes is the case with persons asleep; or the eyes of his mind open, to receive the instructions given him in a dream or vision of the night; unless this is to be understood of his falling on his face, when he had his vision, as sometimes the prophets did, see ( Ezekiel 1:28 ) ( Deuteronomy 8:17 ) ( Revelation 1:17 ) , so the Targums of Jonathan and Jerusalem paraphrase it; and the latter says, he prophesied of himself, that he should fall by the sword; which is better than to interpret it of his falling when his ass lay down with him, as some do: so men may have a great deal of light and knowledge in their heads, and yet not have true grace in their hearts; great gifts, which puff up with pride and vanity, but not sanctifying grace, which is of an humbling nature, ( 1 Corinthians 8:1 1 Corinthians 8:2 ) ( 1 Corinthians 13:1 1 Corinthians 13:2 1 Corinthians 13:3 ) , what he said under a spirit of prophecy follows.

Numbers 24:4 In-Context

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!
6 Like palm groves that stretch far away, like gardens beside a river, like aloes that the Lord has planted, like cedar trees beside the waters.

Footnotes 1

  • [a]. Traditional rendering of Heb [Shaddai]