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Numbers 22:3-5

Context
22:3 And the Moabites were greatly afraid of the people, because they were so numerous. The Moabites were sick with fear because of the Israelites.

22:4 So the Moabites said to the elders of Midian, “Now this mass of people 1  will lick up everything around us, as the bull devours the grass of the field. Now Balak son of Zippor was king of the Moabites at this time. 22:5 And he sent messengers to Balaam 2  son of Beor at Pethor, which is by the Euphrates River 3  in the land of Amaw, 4  to summon him, saying, “Look, a nation has come out of Egypt. They cover the face 5  of the earth, and they are settling next to me.

1 tn The word is simply “company,” but in the context he must mean a vast company – a horde of people.

2 sn There is much literature on pagan diviners and especially prophecy in places in the east like Mari (see, for example, H. B. Huffmon, “Prophecy in the Mari Letters,” BA 31 [1968]: 101-24). Balaam appears to be a pagan diviner who was of some reputation; he was called to curse the Israelites, but God intervened and gave him blessings only. The passage forms a nice complement to texts that deal with blessings and curses. It shows that no one can curse someone whom God has blessed.

3 tn Heb “by the river”; in most contexts this expression refers to the Euphrates River (cf. NAB, NCV, NRSV, TEV, CEV, NLT).

4 tn Heb “in the land of Amaw” (cf. NAB, NRSV, TEV); traditionally “in the land of the sons of his people.” The LXX has “by the river of the land.”

5 tn Heb “eye.” So also in v. 11.



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