Numbers 24:8
God brought him forth out of Egypt; he hath as it were the strength of an unicorn: he shall eat up the nations his enemies, and shall break their bones, and pierce them through with his arrows.
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(8) God brought him forth out of Egypt.—(Comp. Numbers 23:22, and Note.)

Numbers 24:8-9. He shall eat up the nations, &c. — The expressions in these verses are intended to signify the victories which the Israelites should gain over their enemies, and particularly the Canaanites, and the secure and quiet possession they should have of the land afterward, all which was fulfilled especially in the days of David and Solomon. He couched, he lay down as a lion — It is remarkable that God here put into the mouth of Balaam nearly the same expressions which Jacob had used concerning Judah, (Genesis 49:9,) and Isaac concerning Jacob, Genesis 27:29. And what wonder, considering that all these prophecies proceeded from one and the same spirit?

24:1-9 Now Balaam spake not his own sense, but the language of the Spirit that came upon him. Many have their eyes open who have not their hearts open; are enlightened, but not sanctified. That knowledge which puffs men up with pride, will but serve to light them to hell, whither many go with their eyes open. The blessing is nearly the same as those given before. He admires in Israel, their beauty. The righteous, doubtless, is more excellent than his neighbour. Their fruitfulness and increase. Their honour and advancement. Their power and victory. He looks back upon what had been done for them. Their power and victory. He looks back upon what had been done for them. Their courage and security. The righteous are bold as a lion, not when assaulting others, but when at rest, because God maketh them to dwell in safety. Their influence upon their neighbours. God takes what is done to them, whether good or evil, as done to himself.Balaam's native soil was ordinarily irrigated by water fetched from the neighboring Euphrates, and carried in buckets suspended from the two ends of a pole. Thus the metaphor would import that Israel should have his own exuberant and unfailing channels of blessing and plenty. Some take the word to be predictive of the future benefits which, through the means of Israel, were to accrue to the rest of the world.

Agag - The name, apparently hereditary (compare 1 Samuel 15) to the chieftains of Amalek, means "high." The words point to the Amalekite kingdom as highly prosperous and powerful at the time (compare Numbers 24:20); but also to be far excelled by the future glories of Israel. The Amalekites never in fact recovered their crushing defeat by Saul (1 Samuel 15:2 ff), though they appear again as foes to Israel in the reign of David (1 Samuel 27:1-12 and 30). The remnant of them was destroyed in the reign of Hezekiah 1 Chronicles 4:43.

7. his king shall be higher than Agag—The Amalekites were then the most powerful of all the desert tribes, and "Agag" a title common to their kings. Shall break their bones, or, unbone, or, take out, i.e. shall eat the flesh to the very bones, and then break them also.

God brought him forth out of Egypt, he hath as it were the strength of an unicorn,.... Here he repeats what he had said in a former prophecy; see Gill on Numbers 23:22, he shall eat up the nations his enemies: the seven nations of Canaan, which should be subdued by Israel, and that with as much ease as a lion devours its prey; nor would the Canaanites be able to make any more resistance to them than a creature in the paws of a lion; and the phrase denotes the utter destruction of them:

and shall break their bones; as the lion breaks the bones of such creatures that fall a prey to him; signifying that all their strength should be taken from them, their mighty men slain, and their fortified cities taken:

and pierce them through with his arrows: slay them utterly.

God brought him forth out of Egypt; he hath as it were the strength of an unicorn: he shall eat up the nations his enemies, and shall break their bones, and pierce them through with his arrows.
8. The first two lines are identical (with the exception of ‘him’ for ‘them’) with Numbers 23:22 (E ); and in both traditions the words follow a reference to Israel’s king, and precede the metaphor of the lion and lioness.

And smite them through with his arrows] lit. ‘and (as for) his arrows he shall smite.’ ‘His arrows’ (חִצָּיו) should perhaps be either ‘his oppressors’ (להֲצָיו) or ‘his loins’ (חֲלָצָיו). For the latter cf. Deuteronomy 33:11.

Verse 8. - And shall break their bones. יְגָרֵם (cf. Ezekiel 23:34) seems to mean "crush" or "smash." The Septuagint has ἐκμυελιε1FC0;ι, "shall suck out," i.e., the marrow, but the word does not seem to bear this meaning. Pierce them through with his arrows, or, "dash in pieces his arrows," i.e., the arrows shot at him. חִצָּיו יְמִחָצ. The difficulty is the possessive suffix to "arrows," which is in the singular; otherwise this rendering gives a much better sense, and more in keeping with the rest of the passage The image in Balaam's mind is evidently that of a terrible wild beast devouring his enemies, stamping them underfoot, and dashing to pieces in his fury the arrows or darts which they vainly launch against him (compare the imagery in Daniel 7:7). Numbers 24:8In 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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