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Numbers 24:6

6 “Like valleys they spread out, like gardens beside a river, like aloes planted by the LORD, like cedars beside the waters.

Read Numbers 24:6 Using Other Translations

As the valleys are they spread forth, as gardens by the river's side, as the trees of lign aloes which the LORD hath planted, and as cedar trees beside the waters.
Like palm groves that stretch afar, like gardens beside a river, like aloes that the LORD has planted, like cedar trees beside the waters.
They spread before me like palm groves, like gardens by the riverside. They are like tall trees planted by the LORD, like cedars beside the waters.

What does Numbers 24:6 mean?

John Gill's Exposition of the Bible
Numbers 24:6

As the valleys are they spread forth
Long and broad, lying between several mountains, and reaching from hill to hill; so the armies of Israel lay encamped in the plains and villages of Moab, making a very considerable length and breadth; the camp of Israel is said to be twelve miles long, and twelve miles broad; so the Targum on ( Numbers 2:3 ) and this may denote the lowness of the saints and people of God in their own eyes, and their largeness in themselves; and especially when the place of their tents shall be enlarged, and the curtains of their habitations be stretched forth in the latter day; and also their fruitfulness, meads, and valleys abounding with herbs and flowers, as the churches of God do with the fruits of the Spirit, grace, and righteousness, and with plants of the Lord's right hand planting. Some render it as brooks and torrents of water, so the Targum of Jonathan; which diffuse and spread themselves, and on the banks of which stand beautiful trees in goodly order:

as gardens by the river's side:
laid out in a delightful manner, full of flowers, plants, and trees, and well watered; like to these, in several spots, were the people of Israel formed into several camps; and to these may the churches of God be compared, who are distinguished and enclosed by sovereign grace, full of trees of righteousness of the Lord's planting, watered by the river of divine love, and from Christ the fountain of gardens; see ( Song of Solomon 4:12-15 ) ( Psalms 1:3 ) :

as the trees of lign aloes, which the Lord hath planted:
which are not planted and raised by the art and industry of man, but grow up without culture, as the mere produce of nature, under a divine providence; these are called lign wood or tree aloes, to distinguish them from another sort of aloes, which are no other than plants; but these are what the Indians call Calambra or Calembac, and, physicians Xyloaloes and Agallochium, and are of a very aromatic and fragrant scent. This tree is said to be about eight or ten feet high; at the head of it is a large bunch of leaves, which are thick and indented, broad at bottom, but growing narrower towards the point, and about four feet in length; the blossom of it is red, intermixed with yellow, and double like a pink; from this blossom comes fruit, round like a large pea, white and red; the juice of these leaves is drawn out by cutting them with a knife, and received into bottles; the smell of the wood is exquisite {w}. P. Martyr F24 speaks of a trunk of lign aloes, which being cut, a sweet savour proceeds from it. It may be observed what Isidore F25 remarks, that it grows in Arabia, as well as in India, and so might be well known to Balaam. And to these the Israel of God may be compared for their fragrancy, being clothed with the righteousness of Christ, all whose garments smell of or like these aloes, ( Psalms 45:8 ) and having the graces of the Spirit of God in them, the smell of which is preferable to all spices, and they themselves are signified by the same, ( Song of Solomon 4:10 Song of Solomon 4:14 ) :

and as cedar trees beside the waters;
which are tall and high, large and spreading, durable lasting, to which the righteous are compared, (See Gill on Psalms 92:12).


FOOTNOTES:

F23 See Calmet's Dictionary, and the Supplement to Chamber's Dictionary, in the word "Aloes".
F24 Decad. 1. l. 2.
F25 Origin. l. 17. c. 8.
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