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Numbers 23:20

Context

23:20 Indeed, I have received a command 1  to bless;

he has blessed, 2  and I cannot reverse it. 3 

Numbers 23:23

Context

23:23 For there is no spell against 4  Jacob,

nor is there any divination against Israel.

At this time 5  it must be said 6  of Jacob

and of Israel, ‘Look at 7  what God has done!’

1 tn The Hebrew text simply has “I have received [to] bless.” The infinitive is the object of the verb, telling what he received. Balaam was not actually commanded to bless, but was given the word of blessing so that he was given a divine decree that would bless Israel.

2 sn The reference is probably to the first speech, where the Lord blessed Israel. Balaam knows that there is nothing he can do to reverse what God has said.

3 tn The verb is the Hiphil of שׁוּב (shuv), meaning “to cause to return.” He cannot return God’s word to him, for it has been given, and it will be fulfilled.

4 tn Or “in Jacob.” But given the context the meaning “against” is preferable. The words describe two techniques of consulting God; the first has to do with observing omens in general (“enchantments”), and the second with casting lots or arrows of the like (“divinations” [Ezek 21:26]). See N. H. Snaith, Leviticus and Numbers (NCB), 295-96.

5 tn The form is the preposition “like, as” and the word for “time” – according to the time, about this time, now.

6 tn The Niphal imperfect here carries the nuance of obligation – one has to say in amazement that God has done something marvelous or “it must be said.”

7 tn The words “look at” are not in the Hebrew text but have been added in the translation for clarity.



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