Numbers 24:23
Parallel Verses
English Standard Version
And he took up his discourse and said, “Alas, who shall live when God does this?

King James Bible
And he took up his parable, and said, Alas, who shall live when God doeth this!

American Standard Version
And he took up his parable, and said, Alas, who shall live when God doeth this?

Douay-Rheims Bible
And taking up his parable, again he said: Alas, who shall live when God shall do these things?

English Revised Version
And he took up his parable, and said, Alas, who shall live when God doeth this?

Webster's Bible Translation
And he took up his parable, and said, Alas, who shall live when God doeth this!

Numbers 24:23 Parallel
Commentary
Keil and Delitzsch Biblical Commentary on the Old Testament

The prophecy itself commences with a picture from the "end of the days," which rises up before the mental eye of the seer. "I see Him, yet not now; I behold Him, but not nigh. A star appears out of Jacob, and a sceptre rises out of Israel, and dashes Moab in pieces on both sides, and destroys all the sons of confusion." The suffixes to אראנּוּ and עשׁוּרנּוּ refer to the star which is mentioned afterwards, and which Balaam sees in spirit, but "not now," i.e., not as having already appeared, and "not nigh," i.e., not to appear immediately, but to come forth out of Israel in the far distant future. "A star is so natural an image and symbol of imperial greatness and splendour, that it has been employed in this sense in almost every nation. And the fact that this figure and symbol are so natural, may serve to explain the belief of the ancient world, that the birth and accession of great kings was announced by the appearance of stars" (Hengstenberg, who cites Justini hist. xxxvii. 2; Plinii h. n. ii. 23; Sueton. Jul. Caes. c. 78; and Dio Cass. xlv. p. 273). If, however, there could be any doubt that the rising star represented the appearance of a glorious ruler or king, it would be entirely removed by the parallel, "a sceptre arises out of Israel." The sceptre, which was introduced as a symbol of dominion even in Jacob's blessing (Genesis 49:10), is employed here as the figurative representation and symbol of the future ruler in Israel. This ruler would destroy all the enemies of Israel. Moab and (Numbers 24:18) Edom are the first of these that are mentioned, viz., the two nations that were related to Israel by descent, but had risen up in hostility against it at that time. Moab stands in the foremost rank, not merely because Balaam was about to announce to the king of Moab what Israel would do to his people in the future, but also because the hostility of the heathen to the people of God had appeared most strongly in Balak's desire to curse the Israelites. מואב פּאתי, "the two corners or sides of Moab," equivalent to Moab on both sides, from one end to the other. For קרקר, the inf. Pilp. of קוּר or קיר, the meaning to destroy is fully established by the parallel מחץ, and by Isaiah 22:5, whatever may be thought of its etymology and primary meaning. And neither the Samaritan text nor the passage in Jeremiah (Jeremiah 48:45), which is based upon this prophecy, at all warrants an alteration of the reading קרקר into קדקד (the crown of the head), since Jeremiah almost invariably uses earlier writing in this free manner, viz., by altering the expressions employed, and substituting in the place of unusual words wither more common ones, or such as are similar in sound (cf. Kper, Jerem. libror, ss. interpres atque vindex, pp. xii.ff. and p. 43). - כּל־בּני־שׁת does not mean "all the sons of Seth," i.e., all mankind, as the human race is never called by the name of Seth; and the idea that the ruler to arise out of Israel would destroy all men, would be altogether unsuitable. It signifies rather "all the sons of confusion," by which, according to the analogy of Jacob and Israel (Numbers 24:17), Edom and Seir (Numbers 24:18), the Moabites are to be understood as being men of wild, warlike confusion. שׁת is a contraction of שׁאת (Lamentations 3:47), and derived from שׁאה; and in Jeremiah 48:45 it is correctly rendered שׁאון בּני.

(Note: On the other hand, the rendering, "all the sons of the drinker, i.e., of Lot," which Hiller proposed, and v. Hoffmann and Kurtz have renewed, is evidently untenable. For, in the first place, the fact related in Genesis 19:32. does not warrant the assumption that Lot ever received the name of the "drinker," especially as the word used in Genesis 19 is not שׁתה, but שׁקה. Moreover, the allusion to "all the sons of Lot," i.e., the Moabites and Ammonites, neither suits the thoroughly synonymous parallelism in the saying of Balaam, nor corresponds to the general character of his prophecies, which announced destruction primarily only to those nations that rose up in hostility against Israel, viz., Moab, Edom, and Amalek, whereas hitherto the Ammonites had not assumed either a hostile or friendly attitude towards them. And lastly, all the nations doomed to destruction are mentioned by name. Now the Ammonites were not a branch of the Moabites by descent, nor was their territory enclosed within the Moabitish territory, so that it could be included, as Hoffmann supposes, within the "four corners of Moab.")

In the announcement of destruction which is to fall upon the enemies of Israel through the star and sceptre out of the midst of it, Moab is followed by "its southern neighbour Edom."

Numbers 24:23 Parallel Commentaries

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

Chittim

Genesis 10:4 And the sons of Javan; Elishah, and Tarshish, Kittim, and Dodanim.

Isaiah 23:1 The burden of Tyre. Howl, you ships of Tarshish; for it is laid waste, so that there is no house, no entering in...

Daniel 7:19,20 Then I would know the truth of the fourth beast, which was diverse from all the others, exceeding dreadful, whose teeth were of iron...

Daniel 8:5-8,21 And as I was considering, behold, an he goat came from the west on the face of the whole earth, and touched not the ground...

Daniel 10:20 Then said he, Know you why I come to you? and now will I return to fight with the prince of Persia: and when I am gone forth, see...

Daniel 11:30 For the ships of Chittim shall come against him: therefore he shall be grieved, and return...

and shall afflict Eber

Genesis 10:21-25 To Shem also, the father of all the children of Eber, the brother of Japheth the elder, even to him were children born...

Genesis 14:13 And there came one that had escaped, and told Abram the Hebrew; for he dwelled in the plain of Mamre the Amorite, brother of Eshcol...

Daniel 9:26,27 And after three score and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself...

Matthew 24:15 When you therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoever reads...

Luke 20:24 Show me a penny. Whose image and superscription has it? They answered and said, Caesar's.

Luke 23:29-31 For, behold, the days are coming, in the which they shall say, Blessed are the barren, and the wombs that never bore...

John 11:48 If we let him thus alone, all men will believe on him: and the Romans shall come and take away both our place and nation.

and he also

Daniel 2:35,45 Then was the iron, the clay, the brass, the silver, and the gold, broken to pieces together...

Daniel 7:23-26 Thus he said, The fourth beast shall be the fourth kingdom on earth, which shall be diverse from all kingdoms...

Daniel 11:45 And he shall plant the tabernacles of his palace between the seas in the glorious holy mountain; yet he shall come to his end...

Revelation 18:2-24 And he cried mightily with a strong voice, saying, Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, and is become the habitation of devils...

Cross References
Numbers 24:22
Nevertheless, Kain shall be burned when Asshur takes you away captive."

Numbers 24:24
But ships shall come from Kittim and shall afflict Asshur and Eber; and he too shall come to utter destruction."

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