Numbers 23:9

9 From the rocky peaks I see them, from the heights I view them. I see a people who live apart and do not consider themselves one of the nations.

Numbers 23:9 in Other Translations

KJV
9 For from the top of the rocks I see him, and from the hills I behold him: lo, the people shall dwell alone, and shall not be reckoned among the nations.
ESV
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!
NLT
9 I see them from the cliff tops; I watch them from the hills. I see a people who live by themselves, set apart from other nations.
MSG
9 From rock pinnacles I see them, from hilltops I survey them: Look! a people camping off by themselves, thinking themselves outsiders among nations.
CSB
9 I see them from the top of rocky cliffs, and I watch them from the hills. There is a people living alone; it does not consider 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 ) .


FOOTNOTES:

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

Numbers 23:9 In-Context

7 Then Balaam spoke his message: “Balak brought me from Aram, the king of Moab from the eastern mountains. ‘Come,’ he said, ‘curse Jacob for me; come, denounce Israel.’
8 How can I curse those whom God has not cursed? How can I denounce those whom the LORD has not denounced?
9 From the rocky peaks I see them, from the heights I view them. I see a people who live apart and do not consider themselves one of the nations.
10 Who can count the dust of Jacob or number even a fourth of Israel? Let me die the death of the righteous, and may my final end be like theirs!”
11 Balak said to Balaam, “What have you done to me? I brought you to curse my enemies, but you have done nothing but bless them!”

Cross References 2

  • 1. Numbers 22:41
  • 2. S Exodus 33:16; S Deuteronomy 32:8; Deuteronomy 33:28