Numbers 23:4
And God met Balaam: and he said to him, I have prepared seven altars, and I have offered on every altar a bullock and a ram.
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23:1-10 With the camps of Israel full in view, Balaam ordered seven altars to be built, and a bullock and a ram to be offered on each. Oh the sottishness of superstition, to imagine that God will be at man's beck! The curse is turned into a blessing, by the overruling power of God, in love to Israel. God designed to serve his own glory by Balaam, and therefore met him. If God put a word into the mouth of Balaam, who would have defied God and Israel, surely he will not be wanting to those who desire to glorify God, and to edify his people; it shall be given what they should speak. He who opened the mouth of the ass, caused the mouth of this wicked man to speak words as contrary to the desire of his heart, as those of the ass were to the powers of the brute. The miracle was as great in the one case as in the other. Balaam pronounces Israel safe. He owns he could do no more than God suffered him to do. He pronounces them happy in their distinction from the rest of the nations. Happy in their numbers, which made them both honourable and formidable. Happy in their last end. Death is the end of all men; even the righteous must die, and it is good for us to think of this with regard to ourselves, as Balaam does here, speaking of his own death. He pronounces the righteous truly blessed, not only while they live, but when they die; which makes their death even more desirable than life itself. But there are many who desire to die the death of the righteous, but do not endeavour to live the life of the righteous; gladly would they have an end like theirs, but not a way like theirs. They would be saints in heaven, but not saints on earth. This saying of Balaam's is only a wish, not a prayer; it is a vain wish, being only a wish for the end, without any care for the means. Many seek to quiet their consciences with the promise of future amendment, or take up with some false hope, while they neglect the only way of salvation, by which a sinner can be righteous before God.God met Balaam - God served His own purposes through the arts of Balaam, and manifested His will through the agencies employed to seek it, dealing thus with Balaam in an exceptional manner. To God's own people auguries were forbidden Leviticus 19:26.

I have prepared seven altars - And therefore Balaam expected that God on His part would do what was desired by the donor; compare Numbers 22:15 note.

4-6. God met Balaam—not in compliance with his incantations, but to frustrate his wicked designs and compel him, contrary to his desires and interests, to pronounce the following benediction [Nu 23:8-10]. God met Balaam, not to comply with Balaam’s charms, nor to gratify, but to oppose, his wicked desires, and to fierce him against his own inclination and interest to utter the following words.

A bullock and a ram, which I pray thee accept, and give me leave to curse thy people, as their abundant wickedness deserves. And God met Balaam,.... Not in a kind and gracious manner; not out of any respect to him and his offerings; not to indulge him with any spiritual communion with him; nor to communicate his mind and will to him as a friend of his; not to gratify his desires, and grant the request of the king of Moab, or to smile upon and succeed the scheme that they had concerted; but for the sake of his people Israel, to counterwork the designs of their enemies; to blast and confound them, and turn their curses into blessings; and particularly to oblige Balaam to bless the people he was so desirous of cursing for the sake of gain:

and he said unto him; in a bragging boasting way, in order to gain his favour, and carry his point:

I have prepared seven altars, and I have offered upon every altar a bullock and a ram: that is, to him the Lord; for had they been offered to Baal, he could never have had the nerve to have spoken of them to God; and which he could never have proposed as a reason why he should be regarded by him, or expect on account of them any favour from him: and indeed these altars and sacrifices were not at his expense, though they were prepared and offered at a motion of his; nor were they offered in a right manner, nor with a right end, nor from a right principle, and were far from being acceptable unto God, yea, were abominable unto him; see Proverbs 21:27.

And God {b} met Balaam: and he said unto him, I have prepared seven altars, and I have offered upon every altar a bullock and a ram.

(b) Appeared to him.

Verse 4. - I have prepared seven altars. Balaam, acting for the king of Moab, his heathen patron, in this difficult business, points out to God that he had given him the full quota of sacrifices to begin with. It was implied in this reminder that God would naturally feel disposed to do something for Balaam in return. He then went with Balak to Kirjath-Chuzoth, where the king had oxen and sheep slaughtered in sacrifice, and sent flesh to Balaam as well as to the princes that were with him for a sacrificial meal, to do honour to the soothsayer thereby. The sacrifices were not so much thank-offerings for Balaam's happy arrival, as supplicatory offerings for the success of the undertaking before them. "This is evident," as Hengstenberg correctly observes, "from the place and time of their presentation; for the place was not that where Balak first met with Balaam, and they were only presented on the eve of the great event." Moreover, they were offered unquestionably not to the Moabitish idols, from which Balak expected no help, but to Jehovah, whom Balak wished to draw away, in connection with Balaam, from His own people (Israel), that he might secure His favour to the Moabites. The situation of Kirjath-Chuzoth, which is only mentioned here, cannot be determined with absolute certainty. As Balak went with Balaam to Bamoth-baal on the morning following the sacrificial meal, which was celebrated there, Kirjath-Chuzoth cannot have been very far distant. Knobel conjectures, with some probability, that it may have been the same as Kerioth (Jeremiah 48:24), i.e., Kereijat or Krriat, at the foot of Jebel Attarus, at the top of which Bamoth-baal was situated (see at Numbers 21:19).
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