Numbers 22:21
And Balaam rose up in the morning, and saddled his ass, and went with the princes of Moab.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
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.Ye also - i. e., as the other envoys before you. Had Balaam possessed a sincere spirit of obedience, he would have found in the first instructions Numbers 22:12 a final decision upon the matter. His hypocritical importunity with God when the fresh messengers came from Balak demonstrates his aversion to God's declared will. Nu 22:21-41. The Journey.

21. Balaam … saddled his ass—probably one of the white sprightly animals which persons of rank were accustomed to ride. The saddle, as usually in the East, would be nothing more than a pad or his outer cloak.

No text from Poole on this verse. And Balaam rose up in the morning,.... Early, not waiting for the call of the princes, which showed how eager he was to be gone, and how intent upon the journey:

and saddled his ass; which, if he did himself, as Jarchi suggests, this is a further proof of the haste he was in; though, as he had two servants with him, it is more likely that they did it by his order: the same is said of Abraham, Genesis 22:3, it was usual for persons of note and figure, in those times and countries, to ride on asses, Judges 5:10 and went with the princes of Moab; in company with them, and with as good a will as they, his heart and theirs being alike, as Jarchi notes; though it seems by what follows that by some means or another they soon parted company; for when the affair of the ass happened, Balaam was alone, only attended by his two servants.

And Balaam rose up in the morning, and saddled his ass, and went with the princes of Moab.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
The 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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