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Numbers 22:15-18

Context
Balaam Accompanies the Moabite Princes

22:15 Balak again sent princes, 1  more numerous and more distinguished than the first. 2  22:16 And they came to Balaam and said to him, “Thus says Balak son of Zippor: ‘Please do not let anything hinder you from coming 3  to me. 22:17 For I will honor you greatly, 4  and whatever you tell me I will do. So come, put a curse on this nation for me.’”

22:18 Balaam replied 5  to the servants of Balak, “Even if Balak would give me his palace full of silver and gold, I could not transgress the commandment 6  of the Lord my God 7  to do less or more.

1 tn The construction is a verbal hendiadys. It uses the Hiphil preterite of the verb “to add” followed by the Qal infinitive “to send.” The infinitive becomes the main verb, and the preterite an adverb: “he added to send” means “he sent again.”

2 tn Heb “than these.”

3 tn The infinitive construct is the object of the preposition.

4 tn The construction uses the Piel infinitive כַּבֵּד (kabbed) to intensify the verb, which is the Piel imperfect/cohortative אֲכַבֶּדְךָ (’akhabbedkha). The great honor could have been wealth, prestige, or position.

5 tn Heb “answered and said.”

6 tn Heb “mouth.”

7 sn In the light of subsequent events one should not take too seriously that Balaam referred to Yahweh as his God. He is referring properly to the deity for which he is acting as the agent.



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