And Balak said to him, Come, I pray you, with me to another place, from from where you may see them: you shall see but the utmost part of them, and shall not see them all: and curse me them from there.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Thou shalt see but the utmost part of them . . . —If this rendering be correct, it strongly confirms that interpretation of Numbers 22:41 according to which Balaam saw the whole host of Israel from Bamoth-Baal. The words may, however, be rendered thus: Thou seest (i.e., here) but the utmost part of them, and thou dost not see them all. If the interpretation of Numbers 22:41 is adopted, which restricts the view from Bamoth-Baal to the extremity of the host of Israel, the meaning of this verse would seem to be that if Balaam could obtain a full view of the entire army he would not only perceive the ground which existed for Balak’s alarm, but would be induced to put forth more strenuous efforts to deliver him from so formidable an invasion. On the other hand, if that interpretation of Numbers 22:41 be adopted, which implies that from Bamoth-Baal Balaam had a view of the whole of the host of Israel from one extremity of their camps to the other, the meaning of this verse would be that although the sight of so vast and orderly a mass produced so powerful an effect upon Balaam that he was unable to utter the curses which he had desired to pronounce upon Israel, such an effect would not be equally likely to be produced if only a portion of the camps was visible at the same time.Numbers 23:10 reflected the impression conveyed by the scene before him at the moment of the augury; and so that the sight of a mere few straggling Israelites in the utmost part of the camp might induce a different estimate of their resources and prospects. Numbers 23:9,10.
come, I pray thee, with me unto another place, from whence thou mayest see them; for he had a mighty notion that both the sight of the people, and the place from whence they were seen, would greatly contribute to answer the end he had in view, cursing the people:
thou shall see but the utmost part of them, and shalt not see them all; for he thought, either that he was so charmed with so glorious a sight as the regular encampment of such a body of people was, that he could not find in his heart to curse them; or that he was so terrified at the sight of such a vast number of people, that he dared not attempt it; and therefore Balak proposed to have him to a place where he could only see a part of them and not the whole:
and curse me them from thence: that part, hoping that when he had cursed them he would gradually go on till he had cursed them all: but there is this objection to our version, and the sense it directs to, that Balaam had been brought to a place already, where he had seen the utmost part of the people, Numbers 22:41 wherefore some read (h) the middle clause in a parenthesis, and in the past tense "(for thou hast seen but the utmost part of them, and hast not seen them all)"; and therefore would have him come to a place where he might see them all, and curse them from thence.And Balak said unto him, Come, I pray thee, with me unto another place, from whence thou mayest see them: thou shalt see but the utmost part of them, and shalt not see them all: and curse me them from thence.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)13. unto another place] It was a not infrequent practice with soothsayers, if they were unable to obtain an omen according to their wishes, to try several times in hopes of better success. Balak thought that if Balaam went to a more favourable spot, Jehovah might be persuaded to change His mind!
thou shalt see but the extremity of them … not see them all] The words are difficult, because Balaam has already seen only the end of the Israelite host; see Numbers 22:41. If the words are genuine, they may perhaps mean that Balaam would be taken to a spot whence he would still be able to see only a small part of them, but if that failed, he could finally go to a place whence he could see them all. But many writers assign the words to an editor.Verse 13. - Come... unto another place. Balak attributed the miscarriage of his enterprise thus far to something inauspicious in the locality. Thou shalt see but the utmost part of them. אֶפֶס קָצֶהוּ תִרְאֶה. Both the meaning of the nouns and the tense of the verb are disputed. By some "e ephes katsehu" (the end of the last of them) is held equivalent to "the whole of them," which seems to contradict the next clause even if defensible in itself. The ordinary rendering is favoured by the Septuagint (ἀλλ η} μέρος τι αὐτοῦ ὄψει) and by the Targums. On the other hand, some would read the verb in the present tense, and understand Balak's words to refer to the place they were leaving. This is in accordance with the statement in Numbers 22:41, and it would certainly seem as if Balak and Balaam moved each time nearer to that encampment which was for different masons the center of attraction to them both. Numbers 23:7, Numbers 23:18, Numbers 24:3, Numbers 24:15, Numbers 24:20), whereas it is never used of the prophecies of the true prophets of Jehovah, but only of certain songs and similes inserted in them (cf. Isaiah 14:4; Ezekiel 17:2; Ezekiel 24:3; Micah 2:4), is to be accounted for not merely from the poetic form of Balaam's utterances, the predominance of poetical imagery, the sustained parallelism, the construction of the whole discourse in brief pointed sentences, and other peculiarities of poetic language (e.g., בּנו, Numbers 24:3, Numbers 24:15), but it points at the same time to the difference which actually exists between these utterances and the predictions of the true prophets. The latter are orations addressed to the congregation, which deduce from the general and peculiar relation of Israel to the Lord and to His law, the conduct of the Lord towards His people either in their own or in future times, proclaiming judgment upon the ungodly and salvation to the righteous. "Balaam's mental eye," on the contrary, as Hengstenberg correctly observes, "was simply fixed upon what he saw; and this he reproduced without any regard to the impression that it was intended to make upon those who heard it." But the very first utterance was of such a character as to deprive Balak of all hope that his wishes would be fulfilled.
"Balak, the king of Moab, fetches me from Aram, from the mountains of the East," i.e., of Mesopotamia, which was described, as far back as Genesis 29:1, as the land of the sons of the East (cf. Numbers 22:5). Balaam mentions the mountains of his home in contradistinction to the mountains of the land of the Moabites upon which he was then standing. "Come, curse me Jacob, and come threaten Israel." Balak had sent for him for this purpose (see Numbers 22:11, Numbers 22:17). זעמה, for זעמה, imperative (see Ewald, 228, b.). זעם, to be angry, here to give utterance to the wrath of God, synonymous with נקב or קבב, to curse. Jacob: a poetical name for the nation, equivalent to Israel.
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