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Numbers 24:1-2

Context
Balaam Prophesies Yet Again

24:1 1 When Balaam saw that it pleased the Lord to bless Israel, 2  he did not go as at the other times 3  to seek for omens, 4  but he set his face 5  toward the wilderness. 24:2 When Balaam lifted up his eyes, he saw Israel camped tribe by tribe; 6  and the Spirit of God came upon him.

1 sn For a thorough study of the arrangement of this passage, see E. B. Smick, “A Study of the Structure of the Third Balaam Oracle,” The Law and the Prophets, 242-52. He sees the oracle as having an introductory strophe (vv. 3, 4), followed by two stanzas (vv. 5, 6) that introduce the body (vv. 7b-9b) before the final benediction (v. 9b).

2 tn Heb “it was good in the eyes of the Lord.”

3 tn Heb “as time after time.”

4 tn The word נְחָשִׁים (nÿkhashim) means “omens,” or possibly “auguries.” Balaam is not even making a pretense now of looking for such things, because they are not going to work. God has overruled them.

5 tn The idiom signifies that he had a determination and resolution to look out over where the Israelites were, so that he could appreciate more their presence and use that as the basis for his expressing of the oracle.

6 tn Heb “living according to their tribes.”



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