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nations to be the keepers of his holy oracles, and to be the
The king of Moab, from the mountains of the East.
8. How can I curse? God hath not cursed !
How can I execrate? Jehovah hath not execrated!
9. Surely, from the top of the rocks I see him,
And from the hills I behold him!
Lo! a nation that shall dwell alone,
10. Who shall count the dust of Jacob?
Or number the mass of Israel?
May I die the death of the righteous,
This prediction evidently points out the peculiar character of this people; the immense and countless multitudes it must one day produce according to the promise made to Abraham. In the last verse, the wicked prophet is made to see the happiness of the righteous persons (for the word is plural) who die in Israel; that is, who, walking in the footsteps of Abraham's faith, are justified as he was, and, though they “ die, not having received the promise,” yet die in faith, and shall, with all the spiritual seed of Israel,
* Numbers, xxiii.
be heirs of the world, at some future season. This makes the unfaithful prophet exclaim, “ May my last end be like his!” That is, not, my death like Israel's death: that would have scarcely any meaning in this connexion : but, in the last day, when the Redeemer shall stand upon the earth, when all that believe, the whole Israel of God, shall be blessed with faithful Abraham, to whom - to his seed the promise is given, that he should be the heir of the world-O then might but my last end be like Israel's!
Again the unwilling prophet, while he seeks the wages of unrighteousness, is made to deliver to his employers the unwelcome truth:
18. Arise, Balak, and hear,
Hearken unto me, son of Zippor:
Nor child of man that he should change his mind :
Or speak, and not perform? 20. Lo! I received a blessing,
And I have blessed, and I cannot reverse it. 21. No vanity can I see' in Jacob,
No fruitless toil can I behold in Israel.
Such I believe to be the true meaning of these lines; the prophet is compelled to own that the religious hope which now actuates Israel is no vain superstition. The undertaking in which they are now embarked is no mad scheme of human ambition, nor contrivance of human policy, so
I The Samaritan and Syriac, as also Onkelos and the Tar
gums, read the verb in the first person.
often ending in disappointment, and proving in the sequel vanity and vexation of spirit. No:
Jehovah his Elohim is with him,
As though the prophet would say, No vanity, but the Eternal God is in yon tabernacle: methinks I hear in the vision of future ages, a royal salutation, a shout as of “ numbers without numbers” saluting the promised KING, coming at length in his kingdom. In the view of this great event, and in order to its destined manifestation,
22. God is bringing him up from Egypt,
He reareth himself like the rhinoceros ?: 23. Truly there is no augury in Jacob,
Neither is there divination in Israel ;
This nation is possessed of a true spirit of prophecy- no vain augury of soothsaying, as in the nations around, is practised in Israel ; but God hath committed to them his sacred oracles, and will cause them to foretel things to come, as his wisdom sees necessary, for the comfort of his people. God having destined this nation to such a
I “ The sound of a royal trumpet is with him.”— HORSLEY.
? « Elationes sui ipsius: qualis est animalis, oxy, (abelatione dicti)." Simon. The allusion seems to be to the manner in which these animals toss and lift up themselves, in their irresistible course, over
turning all that dare to oppose them. Perhaps this verse should follow the 23d.
Bishop Horsleythinks this verse an interpolation here.
* See Delgado, in Boothroyd's notes.
purpose, of course it will be dangerous for any people to oppose
its settlement, or molest it in its course : 24. Lo, the people riseth up as a lioness;
Like a lion he lifteth himself up:
This, at least, will serve to represent the final issue of all the struggles of Israel with their enemies. Again, as we read in the twenty-fourth chapter,
“ The Spirit of God is upon Balaam,” and he takes up his parable and says: 3. Balaam the son of Beor hath spoken,*
The man whose eyes were closed hath spoken ;'
And received the instructions of the Most High;
• Who' fell, and his eyes were opened :
Thy tabernacles, O Israel!
As the gardens by the rivers' side!
* Numb, xxiv.
• “ The man strong in the secret eye.”- HORSLEY.
Dobox, aloe trees, or lign aloes, as our translation rightly renders it. “A sort of tree,” says Calmet, « which comes from the East
Indies, of about eight or ten feet high. At the head of it is a large bunch of leaves, which are thick and indented, broad at bottom, but growing narrower towards the point, and about four feet in
7. He shall pour water“ profusely' from his urn',
And his seed shall become a multitude of waters :
And his kingdom shall be exalted.
He reareth himself like the rhinoceros;
And they are cursed who curse thee. This prophecy may form a comment upon the original blessing given to Abraham and Jacob; the multiplication of their seed, the high exaltation of one of them, of royal dignity, is clearly marked; and if the reading of
length.” “ It is manifest that a paraphrase of these and the two large number of these trees, grow following lines together :-“There ing regularly together, and viewed shall come a man of his seed, and from an eminence, would look not shall be lord of many nations. And unlike an encampment; and to the kingdom shall be exalted above these Balaam compares the tents Gog, and his kingdom shall be of Israel." PARKHURST
increased." The Samaritan agrees So Geddes, who abides by with the Sept. in reading Gog, the present text. As these two instead of Agag. lines now stand, they appear to 'yn, prop. pars secta. ynra, agicontain a prophecy of the great tavit, percussit pede terram. increase of the seed, or progeny of SIMON. Israel: but the reading of the Sep We should not, as many transtuagint has led some to imagine lators, lose sight of the metaphor: that the present text is corrupt. it is still the rhinoceros tearing his It appears to me, however, that the
prey. Septuagint have rather given a loose