Numbers 24:20
Verse (Click for Chapter)
New International Version
Then Balaam saw Amalek and spoke his message: "Amalek was first among the nations, but their end will be utter destruction."

New Living Translation
Then Balaam looked over toward the people of Amalek and delivered this message: "Amalek was the greatest of nations, but its destiny is destruction!"

English Standard Version
Then he looked on Amalek and took up his discourse and said, “Amalek was the first among the nations, but its end is utter destruction.”

New American Standard Bible
And he looked at Amalek and took up his discourse and said, "Amalek was the first of the nations, But his end shall be destruction."

King James Bible
And when he looked on Amalek, he took up his parable, and said, Amalek was the first of the nations; but his latter end shall be that he perish for ever.

Holman Christian Standard Bible
Then Balaam saw Amalek and proclaimed his poem: Amalek was first among the nations, but his future is destruction.

International Standard Version
Next, Balaam looked directly at Amalek and then uttered this prophetic statement: "Even though Amalek is an international leader, his future is permanent destruction."

NET Bible
Then Balaam looked on Amalek and delivered this oracle: "Amalek was the first of the nations, but his end will be that he will perish."

New Heart English Bible
He looked at Amalek, and took up his parable, and said, "Amalek was the first of the nations, But his latter end shall come to destruction."

GOD'S WORD® Translation
Then Balaam saw the Amalekites and delivered this message: "Amalek was first among the nations, but in the end it will be destroyed."

JPS Tanakh 1917
And he looked on Amalek, and took up his parable, and said: Amalek was the first of the nations; But his end shall come to destruction.

New American Standard 1977
And he looked at Amalek and took up his discourse and said,
            “Amalek was the first of the nations,
            But his end shall be destruction.”



Jubilee Bible 2000
And when he looked on Amalek, he took up his parable, and said, Amalek, head of the Gentiles; but his latter end shall be that he perish for ever.

King James 2000 Bible
And when he looked on Amalek, he took up his oracle, and said, Amalek was the first of the nations; but his latter end shall be that he perish forever.

American King James Version
And when he looked on Amalek, he took up his parable, and said, Amalek was the first of the nations; but his latter end shall be that he perish for ever.

American Standard Version
And he looked on Amalek, and took up his parable, and said, Amalek was the first of the nations; But his latter end shall come to destruction.

Douay-Rheims Bible
And when he saw Amalec, he took up his parable, and said: Amalec the beginning of nations, whose latter ends shall be destroyed.

Darby Bible Translation
And he saw Amalek, and took up his parable, and said, Amalek is the first of the nations, but his latter end shall be for destruction.

English Revised Version
And he looked on Amalek, and took up his parable, and said, Amalek was the first of the nations; But his latter end shall come to destruction.

Webster's Bible Translation
And when he looked on Amalek, he took up his parable, and said, Amalek was the first of the nations, but his latter end shall be that he shall perish for ever.

World English Bible
He looked at Amalek, and took up his parable, and said, "Amalek was the first of the nations, But his latter end shall come to destruction."

Young's Literal Translation
And he seeth Amalek, and taketh up his simile, and saith: 'A beginning of the Goyim is Amalek; And his latter end -- for ever he perisheth.'

Study Bible
Balaam's Final Three Oracles
19"One from Jacob shall have dominion, And will destroy the remnant from the city." 20And he looked at Amalek and took up his discourse and said, "Amalek was the first of the nations, But his end shall be destruction." 21And he looked at the Kenite, and took up his discourse and said, "Your dwelling place is enduring, And your nest is set in the cliff.…
Cross References
Genesis 36:12
Timna was a concubine of Esau's son Eliphaz and she bore Amalek to Eliphaz. These are the sons of Esau's wife Adah.

Exodus 17:8
Then Amalek came and fought against Israel at Rephidim.

Numbers 24:7
"Water will flow from his buckets, And his seed will be by many waters, And his king shall be higher than Agag, And his kingdom shall be exalted.

Numbers 24:19
"One from Jacob shall have dominion, And will destroy the remnant from the city."

Numbers 24:24
"But ships shall come from the coast of Kittim, And they shall afflict Asshur and will afflict Eber; So they also will come to destruction."

1 Samuel 15:2
"Thus says the LORD of hosts, 'I will punish Amalek for what he did to Israel, how he set himself against him on the way while he was coming up from Egypt.

1 Samuel 15:3
'Now go and strike Amalek and utterly destroy all that he has, and do not spare him; but put to death both man and woman, child and infant, ox and sheep, camel and donkey.'"
Treasury of Scripture

And when he looked on Amalek, he took up his parable, and said, Amalek was the first of the nations; but his latter end shall be that he perish for ever.

the Kenites

Genesis 15:19 The Kenites, and the Kenizzites, and the Kadmonites,

Judges 1:16 And the children of the Kenite, Moses' father in law…

Job 29:18 Then I said, I shall die in my nest, and I shall multiply my days as the sand.

(20) And when he looked on Amalek . . . --From the. mountain of Peor, on which Balaam then stood, he had a view of the country of the Amalekites, which lay to the south of the land of Canaan (Numbers 13:29; Genesis 36:12).

Amalek was the first of the nations.--The ancestor of the Amalekites was Eliphaz, the son of Esau (Genesis 36:12). It has been supposed that the Amalekites separated themselves at a very early period from the rest of the Edomites. The word reshith, which is here rendered "first," may denote priority in rank, but more frequently denotes priority in time. The corresponding word in the second clause of the verse, aharith (latter end), may be thought to denote that the reference is to time, not to rank. On the other hand, the reference in Numbers 24:7 to the kings of the Amalekites may be urged in favour of the reference to rank. Some understand the allusion to be to the fact that the Amalekites were the first nation which attacked Israel when they had come out of Egypt (Exodus 17:8). It is possible, however, that there may be a reference both to time and to rank. (Comp. Amos 6:1.)

But his latter end shall be that he perish for ever.--Or, come to destruction. More literally, But his latter end shall be even to one perishing--i.e., he shall come to the position of one who is perishing. The destruction of the Amalekites began in the reign of Saul (1Samuel 14:48; 1Samuel 15:7), was continued by David (1Samuel 27:8; 1Samuel 30:17; 2Samuel 8:12), and was completed by Hezekiah (1Chronicles 4:42-43).

Verse 20. - He looked on Amalek. This looking must have been an inward vision, because the haunts of the Amalekites were far away (see on Genesis 36:12; Exodus 17:8; Numbers 14:25, 45). The first of the nations. Amalek was in no sense a leading nation, nor was it a very ancient nation. It was indeed the very first of the nations to attack Israel, but it is a most arbitrary treatment of the words to understand them in that sense. The prophet Amos (Amos 6:1) uses the same expression of the Jewish aristocracy of his day. As it was in no better position than Amalek to claim it in any true sense, we can but suppose that in either case there is a reference to the vainglorious vauntings of the people threatened; it would be quite in keeping with the Bedawin character if Amalek gave himself out be "the first of nations." And when he looked on Amalek,.... The country of Amalek, which lay to the south of the land of Canaan, Numbers 13:29 and which Balaam had a view of from the mountain of Peor, where he now was:

and he took up his parable, and said; the parable of his prophecy, as the Targum of Jonathan, and pronounced it aloud:

Amalek was the first of the nations; not the first nation in the world, nor the chief and principal for numbers, riches, or strength, but the first that made war with Israel, as all the three Targums paraphrase it, as they did, see Exodus 17:8,

but his latter end shall be that he perish for ever; this was threatened to them by the Lord upon that battle, and is confirmed by this prophecy of Balaam: and after this, orders were given to Israel to blot out their remembrance, Deuteronomy 25:19, and which, in a good measure, though not completely, was done in the times of Saul, 1 Samuel 15:8 and after that they were distressed by David, 1 Samuel 27:9 and the rest of them were smitten by the sons of Simeon, in the days of Hezekiah, 1 Chronicles 4:41, after which we hear of them no more: Amalek may be considered as a type of antichrist, the son of perdition, who shall go into it, shall come to his end, and there shall be none to help him; which will be true of all the antichristian party, the enemies of Christ, who will be destroyed by him, and perish eternally; see Daniel 11:45. 20. Amalek … his latter end shall be that he perish for ever—Their territory was seen at the remote extremity of the desert. (See on [89]Ex 17:13; also 1Sa 15:1-35).24:15-25 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.
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