22:38 Balaam said to Balak, “Look, I have come to you. Now, am I able 1 to speak 2 just anything? I must speak 3 only the word that God puts in my mouth.”
or how can I denounce one whom the Lord has not denounced?
1 tn The verb is אוּכַל (’ukhal) in a question – “am I able?” But emphasizing this is the infinitive absolute before it. So Balaam is saying something like, “Can I really say anything?”
2 tn The Piel infinitive construct (without the preposition) serves as the object of the verb “to be able.” The whole question is rhetorical – he is saying that he will not be able to say anything God does not allow him to say.
3 tn The imperfect tense is here taken as an obligatory imperfect.
4 tn The figure is erotesis, a rhetorical question. He is actually saying he cannot curse them because God has not cursed them.
5 tn The imperfect tense should here be classified as a potential imperfect.