And Balaam said to Balak, Build me here seven altars, and prepare me here seven bullocks and seven rams.
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.
The position of Peor northward from Pisgah, along the Abarim heights, is approximately determined by the extant notices of Beth-peor.
Jeshimon - was the waste, in the great valley below, where stood Beth-jeshimoth, "the house of the wastes."
28. Balak brought Balaam unto the top of Peor—or, Beth-peor (De 3:29), the eminence on which a temple of Baal stood.
that looketh toward Jeshimon—the desert tract in the south of Palestine, on both sides of the Dead Sea.
No text from Poole on this verse.
And Balaam said unto Balak,.... Being willing to try again what could be done, and to gratify the king, and especially to get the wages of unrighteousness, if possible, which he dearly loved, as the apostle says, 2 Peter 2:15
build me here seven altars, and prepare me here seven bullocks and seven rams; which had been done in two places before, Numbers 23:1 the same sort of creatures, and the same number here as there, and these only clean creatures, such as were used in sacrifice by the true worshippers of God, and which, no doubt, Balaam had knowledge of, and therefore judged that those would be most acceptable to the Lord. And Balaam said unto Balak, Build me here seven altars, and prepare me here seven bullocks and seven rams.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
The fellowship of its God, in which Israel rejoiced, and to which it owed its strength, was an actual truth. "For there is no augury in Jacob, and no divination in Israel. At the time it is spoken to Jacob, and to Israel what God doeth." כּי does not mean, "so that, as an introduction to the sequel," as Knobel supposes, but "for," as a causal particle. The fact that Israel was not directed, like other nations, to the uncertain and deceitful instrumentality of augury and divination, but enjoyed in all its concerns the immediate revelation of its God, furnished the proof that it had its God in the midst of it, and was guided and endowed with power by God Himself. נחשׁ and קסם, οἰωνισμός and μαντεία, augurium et divinatio (lxx, Vulg.), were the two means employed by the heathen for looking into futurity. The former (see at Leviticus 19:26
) was the unfolding of the future from signs in the phenomena of nature, and inexplicable occurrences in animal and human life; the latter, prophesying from a pretended or supposed revelation of the Deity within the human mind. כּעת, "according to the time," i.e., at the right time, God revealed His acts, His counsel, and His will to Israel in His word, which He had spoken at first to the patriarchs, and afterwards through Moses and the prophets. In this He revealed to His people in truth, and in a way that could not deceive, what the heathen attempted in vain to discover through augury and divination (cf. Deuteronomy 18:14-19
(Note: "What is here affirmed of Israel, applies to the Church of all ages, and also to every individual believer. The Church of God knows from His word what God does, and what it has to do in consequence. The wisdom of this world resembles augury and divination. The Church of God, which is in possession of His word, has no need of it, and it only leads its followers to destruction, from inability to discern the will of God. To discover this with certainty, is the great privilege of the Church of God" (Hengstenberg).)
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