Or number 4 the fourth part of Israel?
“Amalek was the first 11 of the nations,
but his end will be that he will perish.”
1 tn The question is again rhetorical; it means no one can count them – they are innumerable.
2 tn The perfect tense can also be classified as a potential nuance. It does not occur very often, but does occur several times.
3 sn The reference in the oracle is back to Gen 13:16, which would not be clear to Balaam. But God had described their growth like the dust of the earth. Here it is part of the description of the vast numbers.
4 tn Heb “and as a number, the fourth part of Israel.” The noun in the MT is not in the construct state, and so it should be taken as an adverbial accusative, forming a parallel with the verb “count.” The second object of the verse then follows, “the fourth part of Israel.” Smr and the LXX have “and who has numbered” (וּמִסְפָּר, umispar), making this colon more parallel to the preceding one. The editor of BHS prefers this reading.
5 tn The use of נֶפֶשׁ (nefesh) for the subject of the verb stresses the personal nature – me.
6 sn Here the seer’s words link with the promise of Gen 12:3, that whoever blesses Israel will be blessed. Since the blessing belongs to them, the upright (and not Balak), Balaam would like his lot to be with them.
7 tn Heb “my latter end.”
8 tn Heb “his.”
9 tn Heb “he”; the referent (Balaam) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
11 sn This probably means that it held first place, or it thought that it was “the first of the nations.” It was not the first, either in order or greatness.