Numbers 22:15
And Balak sent yet again princes, more, and more honourable than they.
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22:15-21 A second embassy was sent to Balaam. It were well for us, if we were as earnest and constant in prosecuting a good work, notwithstanding disappointments. Balak laid a bait, not only for Balaam's covetousness, but for his pride and ambition. How earnestly should we beg of God daily to mortify such desires in us! Thus sinners stick at no pains, spare no cost, and care not how low they stoop, to gratify their luxury, or their malice. Shall we then be unwilling to do what is right? God forbid! Balaam's convictions charged him to keep to the command of God; nor could any man have spoken better. But many call God theirs, who are not his, not truly because not only his. There is no judging men by their words; God knows the heart. Balaam's corruptions at the same time inclined him to go contrary to the command. He seemed to refuse the temptation; but he expressed no abhorrence of it. He had a strong desire to accept the offer, and hoped that God might give him leave to go. He had already been told what the will of God was. It is a certain evidence of the ruling of corruption in the heart, to beg leave to sin. God gave Balaam up to his own heart's lusts. As God sometimes denies the prayers of his people in love, so sometimes he grants the desires of the wicked in wrath.Balak, like the ancient pagan world generally, not only believed in the efficacy of the curses and incantations of the soothsayers, but regarded their services as strictly venal. Hence, when his first offer was declined, he infers at once that he had not bid high enough. 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). No text from Poole on this verse.

And Balak sent yet again princes more, and more honourable than they. More in number, and greater in quality, princes of the first rank in his court; supposing that Balaam thought he was not treated with respect enough, they being princes of the meaner sort, and but few, that were sent unto him before, which he imagined was the reason, at least one reason, why he refused to come with them; persons of Balaam's character in those days being highly revered. And Balak sent yet again princes, more, and more honorable than they.
15. Balak treats the prophet’s reason for not coming as a mere excuse. Balaam, being a famous diviner, required, as he thought, to be treated with greater respect.

Verse 15. - More, and more honourable than they. Balak rightly judged that Balaam was not really unwilling to come, and that it was only needful to ply him with more flattery and larger promises. The heathens united a firm belief in the powers of the seer with a very shrewd appreciation of the motives and character of the seer. Compare the saying of Sophocles ('Antig.,' 1055), τὸ μαντικὸν γὰρ πᾶν φιλάργυρον γένος. Numbers 22:15The answer with which Balaam had sent the Moabitish messengers away, encouraged Balak to cherish the hope of gaining over the celebrated soothsayer to his purpose notwithstanding, and to send an embassy "of princes more numerous and more honourable than those," and to make the attempt to overcome his former resistance by more splendid promises; whether he regarded it, as is very probable, "as the remains of a weakly fear of God, or simply as a ruse adopted for the purpose of obtaining better conditions" (Hengstenberg). As a genuine heathen, who saw nothing more in the God of Israel than a national god of that people, he thought that it would be possible to render not only men, but gods also, favourable to his purpose, by means of splendid honours and rich rewards.

(Note: Compare the following remarks of Pliny (h. n. xxviii. 4) concerning this belief among the Romans: "Verrius Flaccus auctores ponit, quibus credat, in oppugnationibus ante omnia solitum a Romanis sacerdotibus evocari Deum, cujus in tutela id oppidum esset, promittique illi eundem aut ampliorem apud Romanos cultum. Et durat in Pontificum disciplina id sacrum, constatque ideo occultatum, in cujus Dei tutela Roma esset, ne qui hostium simili modo agerent;" - and the further explanations of this heathen notion in Hengstenberg's Balaam and his Prophecies.)

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