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BEFORE CHRIST 1452.

f ver. 29.

NUMBERS XXIII. 1–26.

1 And Balaam said unto the rocks I see him, and
Balak, Build me here from the hills I behold him:
f
seven altars, and prepare lo, the people shall dwell
me here seven oxen and alone, and shall not be
reckoned among
the

seven rams.

2 And Balak did as tions. Balaam had spoken; and 8 ver. 14, 30. Balak and Balaam of fered on every altar a bullock and a ram.

h ver. 15.

i ch. 24. 1.

solilary.

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10 Who can count the dust of Jacob, and the number of the fourth part of Israel? Let me die + Heb. my the death of the righteous, life. and let my last end be like

t

soul, or, my

Ps. 116. 15.

3 And Balaam said unto Balak, Stand by thy burnt offering, and I will go his! peradventure the LORD will come to meet me and whatsoever he sheweth me done unto me? "I took ch. 22. 11,

11 And Balak said unto Balaam, What hast thou

Or, he went I will tell thee. And he thee to curse mine enemies,
went to an high place. and, behold, thou hast
4k And God met Ba- blessed them altogether.
laam and he said unto
:
12 And he answered and

* ver. 16.

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17. & 24. 10.

him, I have prepared seven said, Must I not take ch. 22. 38.
altars, and I have offered heed to speak that which
upon every altar a bullock the LORD hath put in my
and a ram.

mouth?

5 And the LORD 1put a 13 And Balak said unto Deut. 18. 18. word in Balaam's mouth, him, Come, I pray thee, and said, Return unto Ba- with me unto another lak, and thus thou shalt place, from whence thou speak.

m ver. 18.
ch. 24. 3, 15,
23.

29. 1.

Ps. 78. 2.

6 And he returned unto him, and, lo, he stood by his burnt sacrifice, he, and all the princes of Moab.

mayest see them: thou
shalt see but the utmost
part of them, and shalt not
see them all and curse
me them from thence.

7 And he m took up his 14 And he brought parable, and said, Balak him into the field of Zo

hill.
Y

Job 27.1. & the king of Moab hath phim, to the top of || Pis- Or, The brought me from Aram, gah, and built seven altars, ▾ ver. 1, 2. out of the mountains of the and offered a bullock and a ram on every altar.

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P Isai. 47. 12, 8 P How shall I curse,
whom God hath not cursed?
or how shall I defy, whom
the LORD hath not defied?
9 For from the top of in his mouth, and said, Go

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16. And the LORD met Balaam, and put a word ver. 5.

Y y

ch. 22. 35.

BEFORE CHRIST 1452.

again unto Balak, and say 'and the shout of a king is

thus.

among them.
17 And when he came 22 God brought them
to him, behold, he stood out of Egypt; he hath as
by his burnt offering, and it were the strength of
the princes of Moab with an unicorn.
him. And Balak said
unto him, What hath the
LORD spoken?

a

18 And he took up his Judg. 3. 20. parable, and said, a Rise up, Balak, and hear; hearken unto me, thou son of Zippor:

b1 Sam. 15. 29.

Mal. 3. 6.

Rom. 11. 29.
Jam. 1. 17.
Tit. 1. 2.

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23 Surely there is no enchantment | against Jacob, 1 Or, in. neither is there any divination against Israel: according to this time it shall be said of Jacob and of Israel, What hath God 'Ps. 31. 19. wrought!

24 Behold, the people

k

up

1

k

44. 1.

as a great Gen. 49. 9. himself as

19 b God is not a man, that he should lie; neither shall rise up the son of man, that he lion, and lift should repent: hath he a young lion: 1he shall not 'Gen. 49. 27. said, and shall he not do lie down until he eat of the it? or hath he spoken, and prey, and drink the blood shall he not make it good? of the slain.

20 Behold, I have re- 25 And Balak said ceived commandment to unto Balaam, Neither curse them at all, nor bless them at all.

Gen. 12. 2. bless: and he hath blessed; and I cannot reverse it.

& 22. 17. Numb. 22. 12.

d Rom. 4. 7, 8.

21 d He hath not be

26 But Balaam answered

held iniquity in Jacob, and said unto Balak, Told neither hath he seen per- not I thee, saying, m All verseness in Israel: the that the LORD speaketh, 1 46. & 33 14. LORD his God is with him, that I must do?

• Exod. 13. 21. & 29. 45,

ver. 12.

ch. 22. $8.

Kings 22.

14.

PRAYER. LET US PRAY, that whatever be the curses, the hatred, or the contempt of an unrepentant, apostate, or infidel world, we may ever remain in the communion of the visible Church, and partake of the blessing on God's spiritual Israel. That we never be found among the despisers of God's Religion; but live the life, and die the death, of the righteous. And that we learn from the fulfilment of the prophecies to His ancient Church the certain accomplishment of all God's promises to the soul of the believer, and of all God's threatenings to the soul of the infidel.

ALMIGHTY and merciful God, who didst declare to man at the beginning, that "the seed of the woman should bruise the serpent's head," and didst appoint one holy Church in its three several periods, among the Fathers of the olden time, among Thy people Israel, and among Thy servants the believers in the Gospel of Jesus Christ in these latter ages, to be the keeper and the witness of that one holy truth; we thank Thee for the grace which hath placed us Thine unworthy servants in the communion of this Thy Church. We praise and bless Thy holy name, that the gates of hell shall not prevail to overthrow the truth of Thy word, nor to remove the foundations of Thy holy Church. Continue, we

beseech Thee, Thy mercy to us. Let nothing shake our faith. Let no man take our crown. Amidst the curses of the scorner who derides the believers in the truth of Thy Word, and the permanency of Thy Church-amidst the hatred of those who envy the peace and the happiness of the Christian-amidst the vanity of the philosophy, falsely so called, of the infidel-amidst the corrupt examples of the unrepentant, the apostate, the careless, and the thoughtless,may we ever remember, that he whom Thou blessest is alone blessed; that he whom Thou cursest is alone cursed; that Thy blessing rests in life, in death, and for ever, on those who love and fear Thee; that Thy curse, the curse of continued sin, and of continued wrath, rests alone on those who despise, forsake, and hate Thee. Teach us that no ruin can overtake the Church which is faithful to the service of God; that no ruin can overtake the soul which believes, and trusts, and loves, and serves the Bruiser of the serpent's head. May we ever partake of the blessing which Thy Holy Spirit compelled the lips of the prophet Balaam to utter upon the Church and people of Israel in the wilderness. May we be enabled to dwell alone in the world, but not to be of the world; separated, not from the society, but from the sins, the follies, the maxims, and the irreligion of the enemies of the Church of God. Never may we be found among the rejectors or the despisers of the truth; but may we live the spiritual life, and die the peaceful death, of the righteous, who believe in Thy promise, and love the place where Thine honour dwelleth. We thank Thee for the solemn declaration which Thy Holy Spirit has spoken by the mouth of the prophet, of the unchangeableness of the God of the Church, the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. We believe that the God of truth cannot lie; that what God hath spoken shall certainly come to pass. We praise and bless Thy holy name for the record in Thy word of the prophecies which Thy Holy Spirit imparted respecting Thy people Israel; for the certain accomplishment of those prophecies in the events of history, through all generations, to this our own day. And we pray Thee so to open our understandings, that we may believe and know that all Thy promises, and all Thy threatenings, are only the solemn prophecies to the souls of men, which shall be accomplished and fulfilled both to the righteous and the wicked. When we are tempted to forsake Thy way, to deny Thy truth, to follow the corrupt and evil world around us, O then may the prophecies of Thy Holy Spirit be impressed upon our souls, that we ever remember the declaration, that "whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap;" that "it is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God;" that none can "escape who neglect Thy great salvation," When we are enabled to resist evil, to overcome temptation, to submit to Thy will in sorrow and affliction, in calamity and distress; then fulfil within us all the prophecies which promise the comfort and peace which the world cannot give nor take away. May the prophecies of "the worm that dieth not, and the fire that is never quenched," warn us from sloth in time. May the prophecies of the "rest that remaineth for the people of God," the world where dwell "the spirits of the just made perfect," the innumerable company of angels, Christ the Mediator, and God the Judge of all, attract and invite us to hope for the possession of that better state. Make our knowledge of the prophecies which anticipate the history, and of the history which is the record of the accomplishment of the prophecies respecting Thy visible Church in the world, be unto us a perpetual pledge and token, that every word of God which has been spoken to the soul of the individual believer shall be fulfilled in time, in death, and in immortality. Make our knowledge of Thy word the personal, practical, holy, influential, and perpetual excitement and motive to persevering obedience

to Thy will, and the source of perpetual hope and trust in Thee, the God and Father of Jesus Christ our Lord. In His name we ask all, in His words we sum up our petitions, calling Thee

Our Father, &c.

The grace

of our Lord, &c.

NOTES.

NOTE 1. On the proper translation of erroneously rendered in our Version," He went to an high place." Numb. xxiii. 3.

I have observed, in the Introduction, that these words cannot be rendered as our Translation has it," and he went to an high place:" Balaam was already upon "a high place." The rendering in the margin, "and he went solitary," is countenanced by Onkelos, and by the Arabic version of Erpenius; but it is scarcely preferable to the authorized translation. The LXX have ἐπορεύθη εὐθεῖαν, which will not give a better sense, because, so far as a place for a good prospect, or a place fit for offering sacrifices upon, was concerned, Balaam had already come from one that was well adapted to his purpose (Numb. xxii. 41; xxiii. 1.4). The Vulgate has "velociter;" this suits the case exactly: "He went in a hurry." It marks the headlong eagerness of that covetous man, who deems every moment lost that stands between him and the filthy lucre that he longed to clutch. The whole picture is painted in the most vivid colours by a master-hand: Οὐαὶ αὐτοῖς· ὅτι τῇ πλάνῃ τοῦ Βαλαὰμ μισθοῦ ἐξεχύOnav. Who sees not that the expression of Moses was in the mind of the Apostle Jude when he penned that most graphical sentence (ver. 11) ?

NOTE 2. On the proper meaning of the words, "He hath not seen perverseness in Israel," &c. Numb. xxiii. 21.

"God saw no sin in Jacob, nor transgression in Israel," says our authorized version. "This cannot be the meaning of the place, because it evidently," says Gataker, "crosseth the main tenor of the story and the truth of God's word. For how could God but see those sins in that people which so oft He grievously complaineth of 2, professeth to take notice of 3, and to be highly displeased with, threateneth to avenge 5 Yea, not threatened alone so to do, but severely, and that frequently also, punished, by plagues and judgments of sundry sorts; yea, for which he destroyed in

1 See on the History of Balaam the beautiful Dissertation of Faber.

2 Exod. xxxii. 8; xxxiii. 3. Numb. xiv. 11.

3 Exod. xxxii. 9. Deut. ix. 13.

4 Deut. ix. 19. Numb. xi. 1. 10. 5 Exod. xxxii. 10; 23.35

xxxiii. 34. Numb. xiv. 12. 22,

6 Exod. xxxii. 35. Numb. xi. 1. 33; xvi. 49; xxi. 6; xxv. 9.

the wilderness the main body of that people which he had brought out of Egypt, reserving only their issue to enter upon and enjoy the land promised them in their stead? Or what reasonable creature can be induced to believe that all this should by God be done, when He had so hoodwinked and blindfolded Himself, that He neither did nor could see that for which He did all this? Secondly, Balaam did not so understand these words, which appears by the advice which he gave to Balak. For Balaam, well witting that no advantage could be gotten against that people, whereby the enemy might be enabled to have the better of them, but by making a breach between them and their God, advised Balak, therefore, by the enticements of the daughters of his people, to endeavour to induce them to fornication and superstition, to adultery and idolatry (two sins that are wont to go hand in hand together); that so the wrath of God being incensed against them, and His protection withdrawn from them, they might either lie open to the enemy, or be delivered up by God to them, to be scourged and punished for their sin. But in vain had it been for Balaam to give such counsel to Balak, or for Balak to have practised what Balaam suggested, had God been so affected towards this people, that He could not or would not see what was done amiss by them.

"It cannot be said that this people kept free from idols and idolatry while they abode in the wilderness; for besides that the story of the golden calf evidently evinceth the contrary, and Aaron's words (Exod. xxxii. 22) would further enforce it; God, both by Moses and Amos (Deut. xxxii. 17; Amos v. 25, 26), expressly upbraids them therewith. Whereby it appears, not only that they were faulty therein, but that God also so saw it, as to take notice of it; that which the sequel of the present history more fully confirmeth, where (Numb. xxv. 4,5. 9) four and twenty thousand of them are at once taken away for this very sin of idolatry.

"The scope of Balaam seems to be (Numb. xxiii. 21. 24) the setting out of the goodly, glorious, potent, and impregnable condition of that people, as having God Himself residing as their sovereign in the midst of them; and as, with great state and pomp, as commanderin-chief, conducting them, and marching along with them; so protecting them against all

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the might and malice of their adversaries, enabling them to prevail against them, and rendering them successful and victorious in all their undertakings.

"The text soundeth word for word thus in the original: 'He hath not beheld wrong against Jacob, nor hath He seen grievance against Israel;' and may more fully and familiarly to an English ear be thus rendered: "He hath not beheld,' or ' He doth not,' or will not behold wrong offered to Jacob; nor hath He seen,' or 'nor doth He,' or 'will He see grievance done to Israel.'

"First, the words x and y here used, do neither of them, either properly or generally, signify sin; but the former of them doth properly signify affliction, and iniquity, or wrong rather (from wring), as it is a means of affliction to the wronged; as that which causeth them (by putting them in pain) ab, dolere, lugere. The latter,, signifieth labour, travail, trouble, grievance, vexation; nor is ever found simply taken for SIN.

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"The second thing to be considered is, who they be that are here styled Jacob and Israel. By Jacob is meant the issue and posterity of the Patriarch, called sometimes (Ps. lxxvii. 15) the sons' and (Ps. cv. 6) the seed of Jacob;' sometimes (Ps. cxlviii. 14) 'the sons' and (Isa. xlv. 25) the seed of Israel;' and sometimes (Numb. xxiii. 7. 23; xxiv. 5. 17; Isa. ix. 8) Jacob' and 'Israel' simply, as here.

"But secondly, seeing that the Apostle (Rom. ix. 6) saith that they are not all Israel that are of Israel,' and, by way of eminency, termeth some 'the Israel of God' (Gal. vi. 16), he thereby implieth that there is a twofold Israel-an Israel after the flesh' (1 Cor. x. 18), and an Israel after the spirit' (Rom. ii. 29; Phil. iii. 3). To which of these two does Balaam refer? To the

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Israel that God brought out of Egypt, the main body of the people that was thence brought forth, consisting as well of unfaithful as faithful; as well of those whose carcases, for their disobedience and rebellion, fell in the wilderness,' as of those who, continuing stedfast in covenant with God, either deceased by the way, or entered into the land of promise.

"The third question is, concerning the signification of the particle before the names of Jacob and Israel, prefixed and affixed thereunto. It is usually, indeed, taken subjectivè, as denoting the subject of some attribute; but it is taken also sometimes objectivè, as denoting the object or matter whereabout something is employed. Thus is this particle also frequently used; as where it is said, 'God fights against Egypt

, for Israel' (Exod, xiv. 25); 'Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour,' (Exod. xx. 16); 'Miriam and Aaron spake against Moses' (Numb. xii. 1)

D. The wrong and grievance of Jacob and Israel, by Balaam here spoken of, seems to be, not that which they had exercised or did exercise on others, but that which by others was or might be exercised on them, Thus I suppose the particle here to be used, because I find it within a verse or two by Balaam himself so used (ver. 22): 'There is no enchantment AGAINST Jacob, neither is there any divination AGAINST Israel.' And in like manner here, no iniquity or wrong done to Jacob, nor grievance, molestation, or vexation offered to Israel, either projected and plotted, or attempted and practised against him, that God can endure to see "."

7 From Gataker's Discourse, entitled, "God's Eye on his Israel," p. 3-17.

SECTION CLX.

NUMBERS XXIII. 27, TO THE END. XXIV. XXXIII. 49. TITLE.-Patriarchism, Judaism, and Christianity are but as the bud, the flower, and the fruit of the tree of life, which shall eventually satisfy the earth with its spiritual food. All the prophets, and Balaam amongst them, spake under the same influence, on the same plan, for the same end. The third and fourth prophecies of Balaam are a declaration of the power of ancient Israel, and the final establishment of the spiritual kingdom of Christ. The fifth and last prophecy of Balaam is the summary of all prophecy in its regular history and order

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