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Nu 24:1-25. BALAAM FORETELLS ISRAEL'S HAPPINESS.
1. to seek for--that is, to use enchantments. His experience on the two former occasions [Nu 23:3, 15] had taught him that these superstitious accompaniments of his worship were useless, and therefore he now simply looked towards the camp of Israel, either with a secret design to curse them, or to await the divine afflatus.
2. he saw Israel abiding in his tents according to their tribes--that
is, in the orderly distribution of the camp
5-7. How goodly are thy tents, . . . O Israel!--a fine burst of admiration, expressed in highly poetical strains. All travellers describe the beauty which the circular area of Bedouin tents impart to the desert. How impressive, then, must have been the view, as seen from the heights of Abarim, of the immense camp of Israel extended over the subjacent plains.
6. As the valleys--Hebrew, "brooks," the watercourses of the
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.
10-14. Balak's anger was kindled against Balaam, and he smote his hands together--The "smiting of the hands together" is, among Oriental people, an indication of the most violent rage (see Eze 21:17; 22:13) and ignominious dismissal.
15. he took his parable--or prophecy, uttered in a poetical style.
17. I shall see him--rather, "I do see" or "I have seen him"--a
prophetic sight, like that of Abraham
18. Edom shall be a possession--This prophecy was accomplished by
21. Kenites . . . nest in a rock--Though securely established among the clefts in the high rocks of En-gedi towards the west, they should be gradually reduced by a succession of enemies till the Assyrian invader carried them into captivity (Jud 1:16; 4:11, 16, 17; also 2Ki 15:29; 17:6).
23. who shall live when God doeth this!--Few shall escape the desolation that shall send a Nebuchadnezzar to scourge all those regions.
24. Chittim--the countries lying on the Mediterranean, particularly
Greece and Italy
(Da 11:29, 30).
The Assyrians were themselves to be overthrown--first, by the Greeks
under Alexander the Great and his successors; secondly, by the Romans.