Numbers 23:13
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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(13) 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.

23:11-30 Balak was angry with Balaam. Thus a confession of God's overruling power is extorted from a wicked prophet, to the confusion of a wicked prince. A second time the curse is turned into a blessing; and this blessing is both larger and stronger than the former. Men change their minds, and break their words; but God never changes his mind, and therefore never recalls his promise. And when in Scripture he is said to repent, it does not mean any change of his mind; but only a change of his way. There was sin in Jacob, and God saw it; but there was not such as might provoke him to give them up to ruin. If the Lord sees that we trust in his mercy, and accept of his salvation; that we indulge no secret lust, and continue not in rebellion, but endeavour to serve and glorify him; we may be sure that he looks upon us as accepted in Christ, that our sins are all pardoned. Oh the wonders of providence and grace, the wonders of redeeming love, of pardoning mercy, of the new-creating Spirit! Balak had no hope of ruining Israel, and Balaam showed that he had more reason to fear being ruined by them. Since Balaam cannot say what he would have him, Balak wished him to say nothing. But though there are many devices in man's heart, God's counsels shall stand. Yet they resolve to make another attempt, though they had no promise on which to build their hopes. Let us, who have a promise that the vision at the end shall speak and not lie, continue earnest in prayer, Lu 18:1.Balak seems to hope that the prophet's words in 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. 13-15. Come, … with me unto another place, from whence thou mayest see them—Surprised and disappointed at this unexpected eulogy on Israel, Balak hoped that, if seen from a different point of observation, the prophet would give utterance to different feelings; and so, having made the same solemn preparations, Balaam retired, as before, to wait the divine afflatus. He thought the sight of the people necessary both to excite Balaam’s passions, and to strengthen and direct his conjurations; but he would now have him see but a part of the people, and not all, because the sight of all of them might dismay and discourage him, and, as it did before, raise his fancy to an admiration of the multitude and of the felicity of the people, Numbers 23:9,10. And Balak said unto him,.... Seemingly satisfied with his answer, however, he could not help himself, and was willing to make the best of him he could, and try what he could do with him another time and elsewhere:

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.

(h) So Vatablus.

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.
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. Balaam's first saying. - Having come back to the burnt-offering, Balaam commenced his utterance before the king and the assembled princes. משׁל, lit., a simile, then a proverb, because the latter consists of comparisons and figures, and lastly a sentence or saying. The application of this term to the announcements made by Balaam (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.

Numbers 23:7

"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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