Numbers 23:9
Parallel Verses
English Standard Version
For from the top of the crags I see him, from the hills I behold him; behold, a people dwelling alone, and not counting itself among the nations!

King James Bible
For from the top of the rocks I see him, and from the hills I behold him: lo, the people shall dwell alone, and shall not be reckoned among the nations.

American Standard Version
For from the top of the rocks I see him, And from the hills I behold him: lo, it is a people that dwelleth alone, And shall not be reckoned among the nations.

Douay-Rheims Bible
I shall see him from the tops of the rocks, and shall consider him from the hills. This people shall dwell alone, and shall not be reckoned among the nations.

English Revised Version
For from the top of the rocks I see him, And from the hills I behold him: Lo, it is a people that dwell alone, And shall not be reckoned among the nations.

Webster's Bible Translation
For from the top of the rocks I see him, and from the hills I behold him: lo, the people shall dwell alone, and shall not be reckoned among the nations.

Numbers 23:9 Parallel
Commentary
Keil and Delitzsch Biblical Commentary on the Old Testament

After the offering of the sacrifices, Balaam directed the king to stand by his burnt-offering, i.e., by the sacrifices that had been offered for him upon the seven altars, that he might go out for auguries. The meaning of the words, "I will go, peradventure Jehovah will come to meet me," is apparent from Numbers 24:1 : and "he went no more to meet with the auguries" (נחשׁים, see at Leviticus 19:26). Balaam went out to look for a manifestation of Jehovah in the significant phenomena of nature. The word which Jehovah should show to him, he would report to Balak. We have here what is just as characteristic in relation to Balaam's religious stand-point, as it is significant in its bearing upon the genuine historical character of the narrative, namely, an admixture of the religious ideas of both the Israelites and the heathen, inasmuch as Balaam hoped to receive or discover, in the phenomena of nature, a revelation from Jehovah. Because heathenism had no "sure word of prophecy," it sought to discover the will and counsel of God, which are displayed in the events of human history, through various signs that were discernible in natural phenomena, or, as Chryssipus the Stoic expresses it in Cicero de divin. ii. 63, "Signa quae a Diis hominibus portendantur."

(Note: See the remarks of Ngelsbach and Hartung on the nature of the heathen auspices, in Hengstenberg's Balaam and his Prophecies (pp. 396-7). Hartung observes, for example: "As the gods did not live outside the world, or separated from it, but the things of time and space were filled with their essence, it followed, as a matter of course, that the signs of their presence were sought and seen in all the visible and audible occurrences of nature, whether animate or inanimate. Hence all the phenomena which affected the senses, either in the elements or in the various creatures, whether sounds or movements, natural productions or events, of a mechanical or physical, or voluntary or involuntary kind, might serve as the media of revelation." And again (p. 397): "The sign in itself is useless, if it be not observed. It was therefore necessary that man and God should come to meet one another, and that the sign should not merely be given, but should also be received.")

To look for a word of Jehovah in this way, Balaam betook himself to a "bald height." This is the only meaning of שׁפי, from שׁפה, to rub, to scrape, to make bare, which is supported by the usage of the language; it is also in perfect harmony with the context, as the heathen augurs were always accustomed to select elevated places for their auspices, with an extensive prospect, especially the towering and barren summits of mountains that were rarely visited by men (see Hengstenberg, ut sup.). Ewald, however, proposes the meaning "alone," or "to spy," for which there is not the slightest grammatical foundation.

Numbers 23:9 Parallel Commentaries

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

the people. They shall ever be a distinct nation. This prophecy has been literally fulfilled, through a period of

3300 years, to the present day. dwell alone

Exodus 19:5,6 Now therefore, if you will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then you shall be a peculiar treasure to me above all people...

Exodus 33:16 For wherein shall it be known here that I and your people have found grace in your sight? is it not in that you go with us?...

Deuteronomy 33:28 Israel then shall dwell in safety alone: the fountain of Jacob shall be on a land of corn and wine...

Esther 3:8 And Haman said to king Ahasuerus...

2 Corinthians 6:17 Why come out from among them, and be you separate, said the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you.

Titus 2:14 Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify to himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.

1 Peter 2:9 But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people...

shall not

Deuteronomy 32:8 When the Most High divided to the nations their inheritance, when he separated the sons of Adam...

Ezra 9:2 For they have taken of their daughters for themselves, and for their sons...

Jeremiah 46:28 Fear you not, O Jacob my servant, said the LORD: for I am with you...

Amos 9:9 For, see, I will command, and I will sift the house of Israel among all nations, like as corn is sifted in a sieve...

Romans 15:8-10 Now I say that Jesus Christ was a minister of the circumcision for the truth of God, to confirm the promises made to the fathers...

Ephesians 2:12-14 That at that time you were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise...

Cross References
Deuteronomy 32:8
When the Most High gave to the nations their inheritance, when he divided mankind, he fixed the borders of the peoples according to the number of the sons of God.

Deuteronomy 33:28
So Israel lived in safety, Jacob lived alone, in a land of grain and wine, whose heavens drop down dew.

Jeremiah 49:31
"Rise up, advance against a nation at ease, that dwells securely, declares the LORD, that has no gates or bars, that dwells alone.

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