Balaam inspired by God, blesses Israel again, ver. 1 - 9.
Answers Balak's reproof, ver. 10 - 13.
Utters several prophecies, ver. 14 - 24
Goes home, ver. 25.
1: At other times - In former times. Toward the wilderness - Where
Israel lay encamped, expecting what God of his own accord would suggest
to him concerning this matter.
2: Came upon him - Inspired him to speak the following words.
3: Whose eyes are open - Heb. Who had his eyes shut, but now open.
The eyes of his mind, which God had opened in a peculiar and prophetical
manner, whence prophets are called Seers, (1Sa 9:9). It implies
that before he was blind and stupid, having eyes, but not seeing nor
4: The vision - So called properly, because he was awake when this
was revealed to him: A trance - Or, extasy, fainting and falling upon
the ground, as the prophets used to do.
6: As the valleys - Which often from a small beginning are spread
forth far and wide. As gardens - Pleasant and fruitful and secured by
a fence. As lign - aloes - An Arabian and Indian tree of a sweet
smell, yielding shade and shelter both to man and beast; such is Israel,
not only safe themselves, but yielding shelter to all that join themselves
to them. Which the Lord hath planted - Nature, not art.
7: He shall pour the water - That is. God will abundantly water the
valleys, gardens, and trees, which represent the Israelites;
he will wonderfully bless his people, not only with outward blessings, of
which a chief one in those parts was plenty of water, but also with higher
gifts and graces, with his word and spirit, which are often signified by
water, and at last with eternal life, the contemplation whereof made
Balaam desire to die the death of the righteous. His seed shall be
in many waters - This also may be literally understood of their seed,
which shall be sown in waterish ground, and therefore bring forth a better
increase. His King - That is, the King of Israel, or their chief
governor. Than Agag - Than the King of the Amalekites, which King and
people were famous and potent in that age, as may be guessed by their bold
attempt upon so numerous a people as Israel. And it is probable, that
Agag was the common name of the Amalekitish Kings, as Abimelech
was of the Philistines, and Pharaoh of the Egyptians, and
Caesar of the Romans.
9: He lay down - Having conquered his enemies the Canaanites,
and their land, he shall quietly rest and settle himself there.
11: The Lord - Whose commands thou hast preferred before my desires
and interest; and therefore seek thy recompence from him, and not from me.
17: I shall see him - Or, I have seen, or do see the star, and
sceptre as it here follows, that is, a great and eminent prince, which
was to come out of Israel's loins, the Messiah, as both Jewish and
Christian interpreters expound it, who most eminently and fully performed
what is here said, in destroying the enemies of Israel or of God's
church, here described under the names of the nearest and fiercest enemies
of Israel: And to him alone agrees the foregoing verb properly, I
shall see him, in my own person, as every eye shall see him, when he
comes to judgment. Not now - Not yet, but after many ages. A star - A
title often given to, princes and eminent persons, and particularly to the
Messiah, (Re 2:28,22:16).
A sceptre - That is, a sceptre - bearer, a king or ruler, even that sceptre
mentioned (Ge 49:10).
The corners - The borders, which are often used in scripture for the whole
country to which they belong. Of Sheth - This seems to be the name of
some then eminent, though now unknown place or prince in Moab; there
being innumerable instances of such places or persons sometime famous, but
now utterly lost as to all monuments and remembrances of them.
18: A possession - Which was also foretold, (Ge 25:23), and in
part fulfilled, (2Sa 8:14,1Ch 18:13), but more fully by Christ,(Am 9:12,Ob 1:18), who shall subdue and possess all his enemies;
here signified by the name of Edom, as Jacob or Israel, his
brother, signifies all his church and people. Seir - A part and, mountain
19: Out of Jacob - Out of Jacob's loins. He that shall have
dominion - David, and especially Christ. Of the city - Or
from or out of this city, that is, the cities, the singular number for
the plural. He shall not subdue those Moabites and Edomites which
meet him in the field, but he shall pursue them even to their strongest
holds and cities.
20: He looked on Amalek - From the top of Pisgah, which was
exceeding high, and gave him the prospect of part of all these kingdoms.
The first - Heb. the firstfruits; so called either, because they were
the first of all the neighbouring nations which were embodied together in
one government: or, because he was the first who fought against Israel
and was vanquished by them. That victory was an earnest and first - fruit of
the large harvest of victories which the Israelites should in due time
get over all their enemies. He shall perish for ever - He began with God
and with Israel, but God will end with him, and the firm purpose of God
is, that he shall be utterly destroyed; so that Saul lost his kingdom
for not executing this decree, and God's command pursuant thereunto.
21: The Kenites - The posterity or kindred of Jethro; not that
part of them which dwelt among the Israelites, to whom the following
words do not agree, but those of them who were mingled with the
Amalekites and Midianites. Thy nest - Thy dwelling - place, so
called, either because it was in an high place, as nests commonly are: or
in allusion to their name, for ken in Hebrew signifies a nest.
22: The Kenite - Heb. Kain, that is, the Kenite, so called,
either by a transposition of letters, which is very usual in the Hebrew
tongue; or from the name of some eminent place where they lived, or person
from whom they were descended, though now the memory of them be utterly
lost, as it hath fared with innumerable other places and persons, famous in
their generations, mentioned in ancient Heathen writers. Shall be
wasted - Shall be by degrees diminished by the incursions of divers
enemies, till at last the Assyrian comes to compleat the work and
carries them into captivity. For the Kenites who lived partly among
the ten tribes, and partly with the two tribes, were carried captive with
them, part by Salmaneser, the King of Assyria, and part by
Nebuchadnezzar, who also is called an Assyrian,(Ezr 6:22,Isa 52:4).
23: Who shall live - How calamitous and miserable will the state of
the world be, when the Assyrian, and after him the Chaldean, shall
over - turn all these parts of the world? Who will be able to keep his heart
from fainting under such grievous pressures? Nay, how few will escape the
24: Chittim - A place or people so called from Chittim the son of
Javan, (Ge 10:4), whose posterity were very numerous, and were
first seated in the lesser Asia, and from thence sent forth colonies
into the islands of the Aegean sea, and into Cyprus, afterwards into
Macedonia and other parts of Greece, and then into Italy.
Whence it comes to pass that by this name is understood sometimes
Macedonia, as 1Mac. i. 1, and 1Mac. viii. 5, sometimes
Italy, as (Da 11:29,30), and sometimes both, as in this place: for
he speaks here of the scourge that God hath appointed for the Assyrian
after he had done God's work in punishing of his people and the bordering
nations. Now although the Assyrian and Chaldean empire was subdued
by the Medes and Persians, yet the chief afflictions of that people
came from two hands, both beyond the sea and brought to them by ships; first
from the Grecians under Alexander and his successors, by whom that
people were grievously oppressed and wasted; then from the Romans, who
subdued all the Grecian empire, one great part whereof were the
Assyrians largely so called. Eber - The posterity of Eber, the
Hebrews, who were the chief and flower of Eber's children. He
also - Not the Hebrews: they shall have a better end; all Israel shall
be saved; but the afflicter or scourge of Ashur and Eber,
namely, the Grecian and Roman empire. Thus Balaam, instead of
cursing the church, curses Amalek, the first, and Rome, the last
enemy of it!
25: To his place - To Mesopotamia; tho' afterwards he returned
to the Midianites, and gave them that devilish counsel which was put in
practice, (Nu 25:16-18).