|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
24:1-9 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.
Verse 3. - Balaam... hath said. Rather, "the utterance of Balaam." נְאֻם is constantly used, as in Numbers 14:28, for a Divine utterance, effatum Dei, but it does not by itself, apart from the context, claim a superhuman origin. The man whose eyes are open. הַגֶּבֶר שְׁתֻם הָעָיִן. The authorities are divided between the rendering in the text and the opposite rendering given in the margin. סָתַם is used in Daniel 8:26, and שָׂתָם in Lamentations 3:8, in the sense of "shut;" but, on the other hand, a passage in the Mishnah distinctly uses שׁתם and סתם in opposite senses. The Vulgate, on the one hand, has obturatus; the Septuagint, on the other, has ὁ ἀληθινῶς ὁρῶν, and this is the sense given by the Targums. Strange to say, it makes no real difference whether we read "open" or "shut," because in any case it was the inward vision that was quickened, while the outward senses were closed.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
And he took up his parable,.... His parable of prophecy, as the Targums, his prophetic speech, which, with a loud voice, he expressed in the hearing of Balak and his nobles:
and said, Balaam the son of Beor hath said; the preface to his prophecy is pompous, and seems to be full of pride and vanity, and so the Targums of Jonathan and Jerusalem represent him;"the man who is more excellent than his father hath said, to whom hidden secrets, even what was hidden from the prophets is revealed to him;''and the Jews have a saying (t) that he that has an evil eye, a haughty spirit, and a large soul, or is covetous, is one of the disciples of Balaam the wicked:
and the man whose eyes are open hath said; or, as some (u) render it, whose eyes were shut, but now open; either the eyes of his body, which were shut when the angel met him, and the ass saw him and not he, but afterwards were open, and he saw him also; or the eyes of his understanding blinded with ambition and covetousness, but were open to see his mistake, at least so far as to be sensible that he could never prevail upon God to allow him to curse Israel; or rather open, by the spirit of prophecy coming on him, whereby he saw and foretold things to come.
(t) Pirke Abot, c. 5. sect. 19. (u) So V. L. Montanus, Tigurine version, &c.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
3. the man whose eyes are open—that is, a seer (1Sa 9:9), a prophet, to whom the visioned future was disclosed—sometimes when falling into a sleep (Ge 15:12-15), frequently into "a trance."
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