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Numbers - Chapter 24

Bible Study Notes

Numbers 24:1-9 Balaam knew that the Lord has blessed Israel, so he did not seek the Lord this last time. He instead set out to see the size of Israel for himself. As he looked at all the tribes, the Spirit of the God came upon him and he said, “How lovely are your tents, O Jacob. Israel’s seed shall be in many waters, his king shall be higher than Agag, and his kingdom exalted. God brings Israel out of Egypt and uses them to punish the nations. Blessed are those who bless you, and cursed are those who curse you.”

Notes: Balaam does not involve himself in divination before giving this third oracle. He is empowered with the Holy Spirit to utter God’s message accurately. “Agag” may be a proper name or a title of Amalekite rulers, like “Pharaoh” in Egypt. The ultimate fulfillment of the Abrahamic Covenant centers upon the coming Messiah. It is the one who blesses Israel who will ultimately reap God’s blessing in the future.

Numbers 24:10-19 Balak was mad that Balaam blessed Israel 3 times. Balak told Balaam to return to his own land. Balaam told Balak that the Lord will not honor Balak and gave him a pronouncement from the Lord what Israel will do to Balak’s people in the latter days. “A star shall come out of Jacob, and a scepter shall rise out of Israel. It shall crush the forehead of Moab and break down all the sons of Sheth. Edom shall be dispossessed along with Seir. One from Jacob shall exercise dominion and destroy the survivors of the cities.

Notes: This oracle begins like the previous one, but it rapidly becomes a prophecy about the rise of the Davidic dynasty, which conquered the surrounding peoples, including Moab.

Numbers 24:20-25 Balaam continued, “Amalek’s end is destruction. Kain shall be burned when Asshur takes you away captive. Ships will come from Kittim and afflict Asshur and Eber and come to destruction.” After the discourse, both Balak and Balaam went their own way.

Notes: All these prophecies therefore seem to find their focus in the time of David. Christians have seen them as extending beyond the time of David to the time of the Second David, Jesus Christ, to whom all nations will bow. But this is not the end of the story of Balaam, for it is later discovered that he advised Balak to send women to seduce Israel and lead them away from allegiance to God. God’s judgment came on Balaam in the war against Midian.

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