Numbers 24:14
And now, behold, I go to my people: come therefore, and I will advertise you what this people shall do to your people in the latter days.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(14) I go unto my people.—Such was, probably, the intention of Balaam when he spoke these words. The account of the death of Balaam, however, shows that he still lingered amongst the Moabites.

I will advertise thee . . . —The word which is here employed generally means to advise. The announcement which Balaam made to Balak virtually included advice, inasmuch as it foretold the supremacy of Israel over all their foes, and, consequently, implied the folly of opposition to their progress. It does not appear whether it was or was not at this time that Balaam “taught Balac to cast a stumbling block before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed unto idols, and to commit fornication(Revelation 2:14). In any case, there does not appear to be any reference to such advice in this verse, although it is inserted in the Targum of Palestine in this place.

In the latter days.—Literally, in the end of the days. (See Genesis 49:1, where the same expression occurs, and Note.) The prophecy which follows refers exclusively to the future; and it is divided into four parts by the recurrence of the words “He took up his parable” at Numbers 24:15; Numbers 24:20-21; Numbers 24:23.

24:10-14 This vain attempt to curse Israel is ended. Balak broke out into a rage against Balaam, and expressed great vexation. Balaam has a very full excuse; God restrained him from saying what he would have said, and constrained him to say what he would not have uttered.I will advertise thee - i. e., "I will advise thee," words which refer to the ensuing prophecy. 10-14. Balak's anger was kindled against Balaam, and he smote his hands together—The "smiting of the hands together" is, among Oriental people, an indication of the most violent rage (see Eze 21:17; 22:13) and ignominious dismissal. Advertise thee, or inform thee, to wit, concerning future things, as it here follows, for this word seems inseparably joined with the following. Others, give thee counsel, and tell thee what this people, &c. So it is a short and defective speech, such as we have Exodus 4:5 13:8. And by counsel. they understand that which is related Numbers 25:1,2, which was done by Balaam’s counsel, Numbers 31:16 Revelation 2:14. But the former sense is more unforced and agreeable to the following words as they lie.

In the latter days: not in thy time, therefore thou hast no reason to fear, but in succeeding ages, as 2 Samuel 8:2, &c. And now, behold, I go unto my people,.... According to thine order, I shall not stay to make thee uneasy with my company, only I crave thy patience to hear me a little before we part:

come therefore, and I will advertise thee; about some things that shall come to pass in future time, respecting this people, and thine, and other nations, both near and remote; and he hoped by this to bring him into a better temper, and part good friends: or "I will counsel thee"; what thou shall do, as the Targum of Onkelos, and so makes a sentence of this of itself, independent of, and distinct from what follows, beginning the next clause thus:

and I will show them what this people, &c. referring the former to the counsel Balaam gave to Balak, how to seduce the people into idolatry; and the Targum of Jonathan expresses it at large;"come, I will counsel thee, go and prepare victualling houses, and place lewd women there to sell food and drink at a low price, and bring this people to eat, and drink, and be drunken; and let them lie with them, and deny their God, and they will be delivered into thine hands in a little time, and many of them will fall;''which advice was followed, Numbers 25:1 and is referred to, Numbers 31:16 but though Balaam did give him such advice before he left him, which is highly probable, yet it is not what is intended here, since what follows is closely connected with the above clause, and contains the thing he advertised or advised him of:

what this people shall do to thy people in the latter days; not what the Moabites should do to the Israelites now, as the Vulgate Latin version, quite contrary to the original text, but what the Israelites should do to the Moabites in future times; not only in the times of David, by whom they were subdued, 2 Samuel 8:2 but in much later times, even in the times of Alexander, or King Jannaeus, who overcame them, as Josephus (b) relates. Now this might be said to Balak to make him easy, that it would not be until the latter days, many hundreds of years hence, ere the people of Israel would fight with Moab, and subdue it; and therefore he need be under no concern about them, since he would meet with no trouble from them in his time, nor his people for years to come.

(b) Antiqu. l. 13. c. 13. sect. 5.

And now, behold, I go unto my people: come therefore, and I will {h} advertise thee what this people shall do to thy people in the latter days.

(h) He gave also wicked counsel to cause the Israelites to sin, that God might forsake them, Nu 31:16.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
14. I will advertise thee] I will counsel thee. ‘Advertise’ is an archaism, meaning ‘inform’; cf. Ruth 4:4 (A.V. [Note: .V. The Authorised Version.] ).Verse 14. - I will advertise thee. אִיעָצְך has properly the meaning "advise" (Septuagint, συμβουλεύσω), but it seems to have here the same subordinate sense of giving information which "advise" has with us. The Vulgate here has followed the surmise of the Jewish commentators, who saw nothing in Balaam but the arch-enemy of their race, and has actually altered the text into "dabo consilium quid populus tuus populo huic faciat" (cf. Numbers 31:16). In Numbers 24:8 and Numbers 24:9, Balaam proclaims still further: "God leads him out of Egypt; his strength is as that of a buffalo: he will devour nations his enemies, and crush their bones, and dash them in pieces with his arrows. He has encamped, he lies down like a lion, and like a lioness: who can drive him up? Blessed be they who bless thee, and cursed they who curse thee!" The fulness of power that dwelt in the people of Israel was apparent in the force and prowess with which their God brought them out of Egypt. This fact Balaam repeats from the previous saying (Numbers 23:22), for the purpose of linking on to it the still further announcement of the manner in which the power of the nation would show itself upon its foes in time to come. The words, "he will devour nations," call up the image of a lion, which is employed in Numbers 24:9 to depict the indomitable heroic power of Israel, in words taken from Jacob's blessing in Genesis 49:9. The Piel גּרם is a denom. verb from גּרם, with the meaning to destroy, crush the bones, like שׁרשׁ, to root out (cf. Ges. 52, 2; Ewald, 120, e.). הצּיו is not the object to ימחץ; for מחץ, to dash to pieces, does not apply to arrows, which may be broken in pieces, but not dashed to pieces; and the singular suffix in חצּיו can only apply to the singular idea in the verse, i.e., to Israel, and not to its enemies, who are spoken of in the plural. Arrows are singled out as representing weapons in general.

(Note: The difficulty which many feel in connection with the word חצּיו cannot be removed by alterations of the text. The only possible conjecture חלציו (his loins) is wrecked upon the singular suffix, for the dashing to pieces of the loins of Israel is not for a moment to be thought of. Knobel's proposal, viz., to read קמיו, has no support in Deuteronomy 33:11, and is much too violent to reckon upon any approval.)

Balaam closes this utterance, as he had done the previous one, with a quotation from Jacob's blessing, which he introduces to show to Balak, that, according to words addressed by Jehovah to the Israelites through their own tribe-father, they were to overcome their foes so thoroughly, that none of them should venture to rise up against them again. To this he also links on the words with which Isaac had transferred to Jacob in Genesis 27:29 the blessing of Abraham in Genesis 12:3, for the purpose of warning Balak to desist from his enmity against the chosen people of God.

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