22:5 And he sent messengers to Balaam 1 son of Beor at Pethor, which is by the Euphrates River 2 in the land of Amaw, 3 to summon him, saying, “Look, a nation has come out of Egypt. They cover the face 4 of the earth, and they are settling next to me.
22:11 “Look, a nation has come out 5 of Egypt, and it covers the face of the earth. Come now and put a curse on them for me; perhaps I will be able to defeat them 6 and drive them out.” 7
1 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 : 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.
2 tn Heb “by the river”; in most contexts this expression refers to the Euphrates River (cf. NAB, NCV, NRSV, TEV, CEV, NLT).
3 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 In this passage the text differs slightly; here it is “the nation that comes out,” using the article on the noun, and the active participle in the attributive adjective usage.
6 tn Here the infinitive construct is used to express the object or complement of the verb “to be able” (it answers the question of what he will be able to do).
7 tn The verb is the Piel perfect with vav (ו) consecutive. It either carries the force of an imperfect tense, or it may be subordinated to the preceding verbs.