Numbers 23:25
And Balak said unto Balaam, Neither curse them at all, nor bless them at all.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
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.Enchantment ... divination - More strictly "augury" and "soothsayer's token," or the omen that was superstitiously observed. "Soothsayer" is the term applied to Balaam in Joshua 13:22.

The verse intimates that the seer was at last, through the overruling of his own auguries, compelled to own what, had he not been blinded by avarice and ambition, he would have discerned before - that there Was an indisputable interference of God on Israel's behalf, against which all arts and efforts of man must prove vain. The sense suggested by margin (i. e., that the soothsayer's art was not practiced in Israel) would be strictly true (compare the Numbers 23:4 note).

According ... - Rather, in due time it shall be told to Jacob, etc. God will, through His own divinely appointed means (e. g. the Urim and Thummim), reveal to Israel, as occasion may require, His will and purposes.

23. Surely there is no enchantment against Jacob—No art can ever prevail against a people who are under the shield of Omnipotence, and for whom miracles have been and yet shall be performed, which will be a theme of admiration in succeeding ages. No text from Poole on this verse.

And Balak said unto Balaam, neither curse them at all, nor bless them at all. Signifying that it would be as well or better to do nothing at all, than to do what he did; but the sense is not, that he would not have him curse them, that he could never say, since he had pressed it both before and after this; wherefore the words should be rendered, as they are by some (p), "if in cursing thou dost not curse", or will not curse, "neither in blessing bless", or, however, do not bless: if he could not or would not curse Israel, he would not have him bless them on any account; if he could do him and his people no good in ridding them of their enemies, yet he desires him by no means to do them any harm by discouraging them and encouraging Israel.

(p) So Fagius, Vatablus; with which agree the Arabic version, and Noldius, p. 221. No. 1024.

And Balak said unto Balaam, Neither curse them at all, nor bless them at all.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
25, 26. Balak in his anger refuses to allow Balaam to make any further utterances about Israel, either to curse or to bless. Balaam reminds him of his reiterated statement that he could only say what Jehovah commanded him (Numbers 22:38, Numbers 23:3; Numbers 23:12). Balaam’s relations with Balak, therefore, as recorded in E , are now at an end. The sequel (Numbers 23:27-30; Numbers 23:24) is not really a sequel, but a parallel account from J .

Numbers 23:25Balaam's Last Words. - Numbers 23:25-30. Balak was not deterred, however, from making another attempt. At first, indeed, he exclaimed in indignation at these second sayings of Balaam: "Thou shalt neither curse it, nor even bless." The double גּם with לא signifies "neither - nor;" and the rendering, "if thou do not curse it, thou shalt not bless it," must be rejected as untenable. In his vexation at the second failure, he did not want to hear anything more from Balaam. But when he replied again, that he had told him at the very outset that he could do nothing but what God should say to him (cf. Numbers 22:38), he altered his mind, and resolved to conduct Balaam to another place with this hope: "peradventure it will please God that thou mayest curse me them from thence." Clericus observes upon this passage, "It was the opinion of the heathen, that what was not obtained through the first, second, or third victim, might nevertheless be secured through a fourth;" and he adduces proofs from Suetonius, Curtius, Gellius, and others.
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