How long will Asshur take you away captive?”
24:23 Then he uttered this oracle:
“O, who will survive when God does this! 2
and will afflict Asshur, 4 and will afflict Eber,
and he will also perish forever.” 5
1 tc Heb “Nevertheless Cain will be wasted; how long will Asshur take you captive?” Cain was believed to be the ancestor of the Kenites. The NAB has “yet destined for burning, even as I watch, are your inhabitants.” Asshur may refer to a north Arabian group of people of Abrahamic stock (Gen 25:3), and not the Assyrian empire.
2 tc Because there is no parallel line, some have thought that it dropped out (see de Vaulx, Les Nombres, 296).
3 tc The MT is difficult. The Kittim refers normally to Cyprus, or any maritime people to the west. W. F. Albright proposed emending the line to “islands will gather in the north, ships from the distant sea” (“The Oracles of Balaam,” JBL 63 : 222-23). Some commentators accept that reading as the original state of the text, since the present MT makes little sense.
4 tn Or perhaps “Assyria” (so NCV, TEV, CEV, NLT).
5 tn Or “it will end in utter destruction.”