Numbers 24

1 cumque vidisset Balaam quod placeret Domino ut benediceret Israheli nequaquam abiit ut ante perrexerat ut augurium quaereret sed dirigens contra desertum vultum suum
2 et elevans oculos vidit Israhel in tentoriis commorantem per tribus suas et inruente in se spiritu Dei
3 adsumpta parabola ait dixit Balaam filius Beor dixit homo cuius obturatus est oculus
4 dixit auditor sermonum Dei qui visionem Omnipotentis intuitus est qui cadit et sic aperiuntur oculi eius
5 quam pulchra tabernacula tua Iacob et tentoria tua Israhel
6 ut valles nemorosae ut horti iuxta fluvios inrigui ut tabernacula quae fixit Dominus quasi cedri propter aquas
7 fluet aqua de situla eius et semen illius erit in aquas multas tolletur propter Agag rex eius et auferetur regnum illius
8 Deus eduxit illum de Aegypto cuius fortitudo similis est rinocerotis devorabunt gentes hostes illius ossaque eorum confringent et perforabunt sagittis
9 accubans dormivit ut leo et quasi leaena quam suscitare nullus audebit qui benedixerit tibi erit ipse benedictus qui maledixerit in maledictione reputabitur
10 iratusque Balac contra Balaam conplosis manibus ait ad maledicendum inimicis meis vocavi te quibus e contrario tertio benedixisti
11 revertere ad locum tuum decreveram quidem magnifice honorare te sed Dominus privavit te honore disposito
12 respondit Balaam ad Balac nonne nuntiis tuis quos misisti ad me dixi
13 si dederit mihi Balac plenam domum suam argenti et auri non potero praeterire sermonem Domini Dei mei ut vel boni quid vel mali proferam ex corde meo sed quicquid Dominus dixerit hoc loquar
14 verumtamen pergens ad populum meum dabo consilium quid populus tuus huic populo faciat extremo tempore
15 sumpta igitur parabola rursum ait dixit Balaam filius Beor dixit homo cuius obturatus est oculus
16 dixit auditor sermonum Dei qui novit doctrinam Altissimi et visiones Omnipotentis videt qui cadens apertos habet oculos
17 videbo eum sed non modo intuebor illum sed non prope orietur stella ex Iacob et consurget virga de Israhel et percutiet duces Moab vastabitque omnes filios Seth
18 et erit Idumea possessio eius hereditas Seir cedet inimicis suis Israhel vero fortiter aget
19 de Iacob erit qui dominetur et perdat reliquias civitatis
20 cumque vidisset Amalech adsumens parabolam ait principium gentium Amalech cuius extrema perdentur
21 vidit quoque Cineum et adsumpta parabola ait robustum est quidem habitaculum tuum sed si in petra posueris nidum tuum
22 et fueris electus de stirpe Cain quamdiu poteris permanere Assur enim capiet te
23 adsumptaque parabola iterum locutus est heu quis victurus est quando ista faciet Deus
24 venient in trieribus de Italia superabunt Assyrios vastabuntque Hebraeos et ad extremum etiam ipsi peribunt
25 surrexitque Balaam et reversus est in locum suum Balac quoque via qua venerat rediit

Numbers 24 Commentary

Chapter 24

Balaam, leaving divinations, prophesies the happiness of Israel. (1-9) Balak dismisses Balaam in anger. (10-14) Balaam's prophecies. (15-25)

Verses 1-9 Now Balaam spake not his own sense, but the language of the Spirit that came upon him. Many have their eyes open who have not their hearts open; are enlightened, but not sanctified. That knowledge which puffs men up with pride, will but serve to light them to hell, whither many go with their eyes open. The blessing is nearly the same as those given before. He admires in Israel, their beauty. The righteous, doubtless, is more excellent than his neighbour. Their fruitfulness and increase. Their honour and advancement. Their power and victory. He looks back upon what had been done for them. Their power and victory. He looks back upon what had been done for them. Their courage and security. The righteous are bold as a lion, not when assaulting others, but when at rest, because God maketh them to dwell in safety. Their influence upon their neighbours. God takes what is done to them, whether good or evil, as done to himself.

Verses 10-14 This vain attempt to curse Israel is ended. Balak broke out into a rage against Balaam, and expressed great vexation. Balaam has a very full excuse; God restrained him from saying what he would have said, and constrained him to say what he would not have uttered.

Verses 15-25 Under the powerful influence of the Spirit of prophecy, Balaam foretold the future prosperity and extensive dominion of Israel. Balaam boasts that his eyes are open. The prophets were in old times called seers. He had heard the words of God, which many do who neither heed them, nor hear God in them. He knew the knowledge of the Most High. A man may be full of the knowledge of God, yet utterly destitute of the grace of God. He calls God the Most High and the Almighty. No man could seem to express a greater respect to God; yet he had no true fear of him, love to him, nor faith in him; so far a man may go toward heaven, and yet come short of it at last. Here is Balaam's prophecy concerning Him who should be the crown and glory of his people Israel; who is David in the type; but our Lord Jesus, the promised Messiah, is chiefly pointed at, and of him it is an illustrious prophecy. Balaam, a wicked man, shall see Christ, but shall not see him nigh; not see him as Job, who saw him as his Redeemer, and saw him for himself. When he comes in the clouds, every eye shall see him; but many will see him, as the rich man in hell saw Abraham, afar off. He shall come out of Jacob, and Israel, as a Star and a Sceptre; the former denoting his glory and lustre; the latter his power and authority. Christ shall be King, not only of Jacob and Israel, but of all the world; so that all shall be either governed by his golden sceptre, or dashed in pieces by his iron rod. Balaam prophesied concerning the Amalekites and Kenites, part of whose country he had now in view. Even a nest in a rock will not be a lasting security. Here is a prophecy that looks as far forward as to the Greeks and Romans. He acknowledges all the revolutions of states and kingdoms to be the Lord's doing. These events will make such desolations, that scarcely any will escape. They that live then, will be as brands plucked out of the fire. May God fit us for the worst of times! Thus Balaam, instead of cursing the church, curses Amalek the first, and Rome the last enemy of the church. Not Rome pagan only, but Rome papal also; antichrist and all the antichristian powers. Let us ask ourselves, Do we in knowledge, experience, or profession, excel Balaam? No readiness of speech, even in preaching or prayer, no gifts of knowledge or prophecy, are in themselves different from, or superior to the boasted gifts of him who loved the wages of unrighteousness, and died the enemy of God. Simple dependence on the Redeemer's atoning blood and sanctifying grace, cheerful submission to the Divine will, constant endeavours to glorify God and benefit his people, these are less splendid, but far more excellent gifts, and always accompany salvation. No boasting hypocrite ever possessed these; yet the feeblest believer has something of them, and is daily praying for more of them.

Chapter Summary


In this chapter we are told, that Balaam leaving his enchantments, the Spirit of God came on him, and he spake of the happiness of Israel, and prophesied of their future greatness and glory, Nu 24:1-9 which so exasperated Balak, that he ordered him at once to depart from him, Nu 24:10,11. Balaam justified himself in what he said and did, and suggested that before they parted, he had something to say in a prophetic manner, concerning what Israel should do to Moab in "future" times, Nu 24:12-14 and then prophesies concerning the Messiah, and the destruction of Moab, and of some neighbouring nations, and even of some at a greater distance, as the Assyrians and Romans, Nu 24:15-25.

Numbers 24 Commentaries

The Latin Vulgate is in the public domain.