Numbers 22:38
And Balaam said unto Balak, Lo, I am come unto thee: have I now any power at all to say any thing? the word that God putteth in my mouth, that shall I speak.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
22:36-41 Balak has now nothing to complain of, but that Balaam did not come sooner. Balaam bids Balak not depend too much upon him. He seems to speak with vexation; but is really as desirous to please Balak, as ever he had pretended to be to please God. See what need we have to pray every day, Our Father which art in heaven, lead us not into temptation. Let us be jealous over our own hearts, seeing how far men may go in the knowledge of God, and yet come short of Divine grace.Go with the men - A command, not a permission merely. Balaam, no longer a faithful servant of God, was henceforth overruled in all his acts so that he might subserve the divine purpose as an instrument.38. the word that God putteth in my mouth, that shall I speak—This appears a pious answer. It was an acknowledgment that he was restrained by a superior power. Any thing, to wit, agreeable to thy expectation or my own inclination.

That shall I speak; I am forced to do so by his superior power, and therefore be not offended with me, if I speak things unpleasing to thee.

And Balaam said unto Balak, lo, I am come unto thee,.... And therefore let nothing more be said of what is past: and as for future things:

have I now any power at all to say anything? that would be agreeable to the king, and answer his purpose in sending for him, namely, to curse the people of Israel; he suggests that he had not, he was under the powerful restraint of God; he could not say what he himself was inclined to say, and what the king would have him say, and he expected he should; he could not say as some in Psalm 12:4, the word

that God putteth in my mouth, that shall I speak; whether agreeable to Balak's will and design or not, and whether for or against Israel: however, it being expressed in such indefinite terms might leave room for Balak to hope it might answer his expectations and wishes.

And Balaam said unto Balak, Lo, I am come unto thee: have I now any power at all to say {s} any thing? the word that God putteth in my mouth, that shall I speak.

(s) On my own I can say nothing, I will only speak what God reveals, whether it is good or bad.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
Numbers 22:38But Balaam, being still mindful of the warning which he had just received from God, replied, "Lo, I am come unto thee now: have I then any power to speak anything (sc., of my own accord)? "The word which God puts into my mouth, that will I speak." With this reply he sought, at the very outset, to soften down the expectations of Balak, inasmuch as he concluded at once that his coming was a proof of his willingness to curse (Hengstenberg). As a matter of fact, Balaam did not say anything different to the king form what he had explained to his messengers at the very first (cf. Numbers 22:18). But just as he had not told them the whole truth, but had concealed the fact that Jehovah, his God, had forbidden the journey at first, on the ground that he was not to curse the nation that was blessed (Numbers 22:12), so he could not address the king in open, unambiguous words.
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