Numbers 24:16
He hath said, which heard the words of God, and knew the knowledge of the most High, which saw the vision of the Almighty, falling into a trance, but having his eyes open:
Jump to: BarnesBensonBICalvinCambridgeClarkeDarbyEllicottExpositor'sExp DctGaebeleinGSBGillGrayGuzikHaydockHastingsHomileticsJFBKDKingLangeMacLarenMHCMHCWParkerPoolePulpitSermonSCOTTBWESTSK
(16) Which heard . . . and knew.—Better, which heareth . . . and knoweth.

Which saw.—Better, he seeth.

24:15-25 Under the powerful influence of the Spirit of prophecy, Balaam foretold the future prosperity and extensive dominion of Israel. Balaam boasts that his eyes are open. The prophets were in old times called seers. He had heard the words of God, which many do who neither heed them, nor hear God in them. He knew the knowledge of the Most High. A man may be full of the knowledge of God, yet utterly destitute of the grace of God. He calls God the Most High and the Almighty. No man could seem to express a greater respect to God; yet he had no true fear of him, love to him, nor faith in him; so far a man may go toward heaven, and yet come short of it at last. Here is Balaam's prophecy concerning Him who should be the crown and glory of his people Israel; who is David in the type; but our Lord Jesus, the promised Messiah, is chiefly pointed at, and of him it is an illustrious prophecy. Balaam, a wicked man, shall see Christ, but shall not see him nigh; not see him as Job, who saw him as his Redeemer, and saw him for himself. When he comes in the clouds, every eye shall see him; but many will see him, as the rich man in hell saw Abraham, afar off. He shall come out of Jacob, and Israel, as a Star and a Sceptre; the former denoting his glory and lustre; the latter his power and authority. Christ shall be King, not only of Jacob and Israel, but of all the world; so that all shall be either governed by his golden sceptre, or dashed in pieces by his iron rod. Balaam prophesied concerning the Amalekites and Kenites, part of whose country he had now in view. Even a nest in a rock will not be a lasting security. Here is a prophecy that looks as far forward as to the Greeks and Romans. He acknowledges all the revolutions of states and kingdoms to be the Lord's doing. These events will make such desolations, that scarcely any will escape. They that live then, will be as brands plucked out of the fire. May God fit us for the worst of times! Thus Balaam, instead of cursing the church, curses Amalek the first, and Rome the last enemy of the church. Not Rome pagan only, but Rome papal also; antichrist and all the antichristian powers. Let us ask ourselves, Do we in knowledge, experience, or profession, excel Balaam? No readiness of speech, even in preaching or prayer, no gifts of knowledge or prophecy, are in themselves different from, or superior to the boasted gifts of him who loved the wages of unrighteousness, and died the enemy of God. Simple dependence on the Redeemer's atoning blood and sanctifying grace, cheerful submission to the Divine will, constant endeavours to glorify God and benefit his people, these are less splendid, but far more excellent gifts, and always accompany salvation. No boasting hypocrite ever possessed these; yet the feeblest believer has something of them, and is daily praying for more of them.And knew, the knowledge of the Most High - With the addition of these words, which point to the greater importance and the more distinctly predictive character of what follows, the introduction to this last parable is the same as the introduction to the preceding parable. 15. he took his parable—or prophecy, uttered in a poetical style. No text from Poole on this verse.

And he took up his parable, and said,.... In this and the following verse; the same preface, in the same words, is made to his prophecy as before; see Gill on Numbers 24:3, Numbers 24:4; only one clause is added, "and knew the knowledge of the Most High"; that Balaam had some knowledge of God is certain from the names by which he calls him, being such that he made himself known by to the patriarchs, and by which he is frequently called in the sacred writings; but then this knowledge of his was merely notional and speculative, and not spiritual and supernatural, and was such as men may have who are destitute of the grace of God: he was one that professed to know him in words, but in works denied him, see 1 Corinthians 13:2 and he also was admitted to much nearness to God, and converse with him, of which he boasted; but then this was not for his own sake, or as a mark of friendship to him, but for the sake of the people of Israel, and to prevent his doing them mischief. His prophecy follows. He hath said, which heard the words of God, and knew the knowledge of the most High, which saw the vision of the Almighty, falling into a trance, but having his eyes open:
Verse 16. - Knew the knowledge of the Most High. Septuagint, ἐπιστάμενος ἐπιστήμην παρὰ Υψίστου. This expression alone distinguishes this introduction of Balaam's mashal from the former one (verses 3, 4), but it is difficult to say that it really adds anything to our understanding of his mental state. If we ask when Balaam had received the revelation which he now proceeds to communicate, it would seem most natural to reply that it was made known to him when "the Spirit of God came upon him," and that Balak's anger had interrupted him in the midst of his mashal, or possibly he had kept it back, as too distasteful to his patron, until he saw that he had nothing more to expect from that quarter. Numbers 24:16Balaam's fourth and last prophecy is distinguished from the previous ones by the fact that, according to the announcement in Numbers 24:14, it is occupied exclusively with the future, and foretells the victorious supremacy of Israel over all its foes, and the destruction of all the powers of the world. This prophecy is divided into four different prophecies by the fourfold repetition of the words, "he took up his parable" (Numbers 24:15, Numbers 24:20, Numbers 24:21, and Numbers 24:23). The first of these refers to the two nations that were related to Israel, viz., Edom and Moab (Numbers 24:17-19); the second to Amalek, the arch-enemy of Israel (Numbers 24:20); the third to the Kenites, who were allied to Israel (Numbers 24:21 and Numbers 24:22); and the fourth proclaims the overthrow of the great powers of the world (Numbers 24:23 and Numbers 24:24). - The introduction in Numbers 24:15 and Numbers 24:16 is the same as that of the previous prophecy in Numbers 24:3 and Numbers 24:4, except that the words, "he which knew the knowledge of the Most High," are added to the expression, "he that heard the words of God," to show that Balaam possessed the knowledge of the Most High, i.e., that the word of God about to be announced had already been communicated to him, and was not made known to him now for the first time; though without implying that he had received the divine revelation about to be uttered at the same time as those which he had uttered before.
Numbers 24:16 Interlinear
Numbers 24:16 Parallel Texts

Numbers 24:16 NIV
Numbers 24:16 NLT
Numbers 24:16 ESV
Numbers 24:16 NASB
Numbers 24:16 KJV

Numbers 24:16 Bible Apps
Numbers 24:16 Parallel
Numbers 24:16 Biblia Paralela
Numbers 24:16 Chinese Bible
Numbers 24:16 French Bible
Numbers 24:16 German Bible

Bible Hub

Numbers 24:15
Top of Page
Top of Page