|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 3. - Moab was sore afraid of the people. While the Israelites had moved along their eastern and north-eastern border, the Moabites supplied them with provisions (Deuteronomy 2:29), desiring, no doubt, to be rid of them, but not disdaining to make some profit by their presence. But after the sudden defeat and overthrow of their own Amorite conquerors, their terror and uneasiness forced them to take some action, although they dared not commence open hostilities.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
And Moab was sore afraid of the people,.... Lest they should enter into their country and do to them as they had done to Sihon and Og, and their countries; on this account the king of Moab, his nobles, and the people of the land, were in an exceeding great panic, which was a fulfilling of the prophecy of Moses in Exodus 15:15,
because they were many the number of them taken a little after in this place, where they now were, in the plains of Moab, even after 24,000 had died of the plague, was 601,730, Numbers 25:9,
and Moab was distressed because of the children of Israel; though they had no reason for it, had they considered their relation to them, being the descendants of Abraham, the uncle of Lot, whose posterity they were; and that the Israelites had done them service in delivering them from such bad neighbours, who had taken much of their country from them, and were doubtless making continual encroachments on them; and especially had they known the orders the Israelites had from the Lord not to distress them, nor contend with them in battle, Deuteronomy 2:9, but this they were ignorant of, and being of a different religion from the Israelites, had them in abhorrence, or loathed them, as the word signifies; though the meaning rather seems to be, that they had a nausea, a loathing in their stomachs, and could not eat their food, because of the dread of the Israelites that was upon them; or they were weary of their lives, as Jarchi interprets it, and as the word is used, Genesis 27:46.
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