“Balak, the king of Moab, brought me 4 from Aram,
out of the mountains of the east, saying,
‘Come, pronounce a curse on Jacob for me;
come, denounce Israel.’ 5
1 tn The Hebrew text draws the vividness of the scene with the deictic particle הִנֵּה (hinneh) – Balaam returned, and there he was, standing there.
2 tn Heb “he”; the referent (Balaam) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
3 tn Heb “took up.”
4 tn The passage calls for a past tense translation; since the verb form is a prefixed conjugation, this tense should be classified as a preterite without the vav (ו). Such forms do occur, especially in the ancient poetic passages.
5 sn The opening lines seem to be a formula for the seer to identify himself and the occasion for the oracle. The tension is laid out early; Balaam knows that God has intended to bless Israel, but he has been paid to curse them.