|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
22:1-14 The king of Moab formed a plan to get the people of Israel cursed; that is, to set God against them, who had hitherto fought for them. He had a false notion, that if he could get some prophet to pray for evil upon them, and to pronounce a blessing upon himself and his forces, that then he should be able to deal with them. None had so great a reputation as Balaam; and Balak will employ him, though he send a great way for him. It is not known whether the Lord had ever spoken to Balaam, or by him, before this; though it is probable he had, and it is certain he did afterwards. Yet we have abundant proof that he lived and died a wicked man, an enemy to God and his people. And the curse shall not come upon us if there is not a cause, even though men utter it. To prevail with Balaam, they took the wages of unrighteousness, but God laid restraint upon Balaam, forbidding him to curse Israel. Balaam was no stranger to Israel's cause; so that he ought to have answered the messengers at once, that he would never curse a people whom God had blessed; but he takes a night's time to consider what he should do. When we parley with temptations, we are in great danger of being overcome. Balaam was not faithful in returning God's answer to the messengers. Those are a fair mark for Satan's temptation, who lessen Divine restraints; as if to go against God's law were only to go without his leave. The messengers also are not faithful in returning Balaam's answer to Balak. Thus many are abused by the flatteries of those about them, and are prevented from seeing their own faults and follies.
Verse 2. - Balak the son of Zippor. The name Balak is connected with a word "to make waste," and "Zippor" is a small bird. Balak was, as is presently explained, the king of Moab at this time, but not the king from whom Sihon had wrested so much of his territory (Numbers 21:26). He seems to be mentioned by name on a papyrus in the British Museum (see Brugseh, 'Geogr. Inschr.,' 2, page 32). The later Jews made him out to have been a Midianite, but this is nothing but the merest conjecture.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
And Balak the son of Zippor saw all that Israel had done to the Amorites. The word "Amorites" being particularly pointed, shows, as Aben Ezra observes, that Sihon and Og are both meant, and that there were not among the kings of the land of Canaan any so great as they; wherefore when Balak, who was the present king of Moab, saw what Israel had done to them, that they had conquered them, and seized upon their kingdoms: he reasoned within himself, and said, as Jarchi represents him, that if they could not stand before Israel, much less could he and his people; and the rather, since those kings Israel had subdued were too powerful for the king of Moab, and had taken part of his country from him, and yet Israel was too strong for them.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
2. Balak—that is, "empty." Terrified (De 2:25; Ex 15:15) at the approach of so vast a multitude and not daring to encounter them in the field, he resolved to secure their destruction by other means.
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