Bible Commentaries

Numbers 24

Verses 1-25

From the closing sentences in chapter twenty-three we learn that Balaam was taken to yet another place of vision, from whence he looked on the desert. The Spirit of God came upon him and again he uttered only the things which God would have him speak. Here the indexing statement is, How goodly are thy tents, O Jacob, Thy tabernacles, O Israel!

Thus there was given to him the vision of a people victorious and prosperous.

The progressive note of these utterances is self-evident. First, there was revealed a people separated to God, dwelling alone. Second, they were seen as a people governed by God. Finally, they were seen therefore as a people victorious.

All this lead to the fourth and final prophecy of Balaam, the principal note of which is: There shall come forth a star out of Jacob.

Thus the far-distant movements of the divine economy were for a moment laid bare to his vision. He beheld a Person shining as a star, swaying a scepter, and conquering as He goes.

The last word having been spoken, Balaam left Balak and went to his place. Having failed to curse the people of God, he set himself to injure them. As John says in his Apocalypse, he "cast a stumbling-block before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed to idols, and to commit fornication" (Revelation 2:14). How fearfully he succeeded is shown in the subsequent story.