Numbers 22:13
And Balaam rose up in the morning, and said to the princes of Balak, Get you into your land: for the LORD refuses to give me leave to go with you.
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Numbers 22:13. The Lord refuseth to give me leave to go with you — He ought to have informed them that the Lord had strictly forbidden him to curse this people, and assured him that they were blessed. Such a declaration would probably have prevented any further message from Balak, and have preserved Balaam from running into more sin. God, however, overruled it all to his own glory and the good of his people Israel.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.Balaam must surely have known that God's blessing was on the people with whose marvelous march forth from Egypt he was acquainted Exodus 15:14; Exodus 18:1; Joshua 2:9, and from whom he had himself probably learned much (compare the language of Numbers 23:12 with Genesis 13:6, and that of Numbers 24:9 with Genesis 49:9). But his reply to the messengers next morning Numbers 22:13, betrays the desire to venture to the utmost of that which God would not forbid rather than to carry out God's will in hearty sincerity. 13-15. the Lord refuseth to give me leave to go with you—This answer has an appearance of being good, but it studiously concealed the reason of the divine prohibition [Nu 22:12], and it intimated his own willingness and desire to go—if permitted. Balak despatched a second mission, which held out flattering prospects, both to his avarice and his ambition (Ge 31:30). He conceals the principal things, to wit, the reason of God’s prohibition, which might have given a stop to their further course and counsels in this matter, and secretly intimates his own goodwill and readiness to comply with them, if God had not hindered him. And Balaam rose up in the morning,.... With the impression of the dream upon his mind, and of what had passed between God and him in it:

and said unto the princes of Balak; which shows what the elders were that were sent, of what honour and dignity, and may include both those of Moab and of Midian:

get you into your land; as soon as you can; set forward on your journey, it is to no purpose to stay here:

for the Lord refuseth to give me leave to go with you; he only relates one part of the answer he had from the Lord, respecting his going with them, but says not a word of his being forbid to curse Israel, and of the reason given why he should not; had he reported this, in all probability it would have prevented any further application to him, and so any attempt to get this done, which Balaam seemed aware of; and therefore, by concealing this, hoped for fresh solicitations and entreaties, and that in time the Lord might be prevailed on to let him go and curse them; he having a covetous desire of riches, honour, and preferment, in Balak's court.

And Balaam rose up in the morning, and said unto the princes of Balak, Get you into your land: for the LORD refuseth to give {g} me leave to go with you.

(g) Or else he would have been willing, covetousness had so blinded his heart.

13. Balaam may have felt regret at being unable to win the offered rewards, but there is no hint of it in the narrative. He could not know that Balak would send again.When the elders of Moab and Midian came to him with wages of divination in their hand, he did not send them away, but told them to spend the night at his house, that he might bring them word what Jehovah would say to him. קסמים, from קסם, soothsaying, signifies here that which has been wrought or won by soothsaying - the soothsayer's wages; just as בּשׂרה, which signifies literally glad tidings, is used in 2 Samuel 4:10 for the wages of glad tidings; and פּעל, פּעלּה, which signifies work, is frequently used for that which is wrought, the thing acquired, or the wages. If Balaam had been a true prophet and a faithful servant of Jehovah, he would at once have sent the messengers away and refused their request, as he must then have known that God would not curse His chosen people. But Balaam loved the wages of unrighteousness. This corruptness of his heart obscured his mind, so that he turned to God not as a mere form, but with the intention and in the hope of obtaining the consent of God to his undertaking. And God came to him in the night, and made known His will. Whether it was through the medium of a dream or of a vision, is not recorded, as this was of no moment in relation to the subject in hand. The question of God in Numbers 22:9, "Who are these men with thee?" not only served to introduce the conversation (Knobel), but was intended to awaken "the slumbering conscience of Balaam, to lead him to reflect upon the proposal which the men had made, and to break the force of his sinful inclination"' (Hengstenberg).
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