The Character And Prophecies Of Balaam. Numbers 22-24 -- By: R. D. C. Robbins

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 003:12 (Nov 1846)
Article: The Character And Prophecies Of Balaam. Numbers 22-24
Author: R. D. C. Robbins


The Character And Prophecies Of Balaam. Numbers 22-241

R. D. C. Robbins

Librarian, Theol. Sem. Andover.

[Continued from No. X, p. 378.]

The Second Prophecy

As soon as Balaam had finished his first message, Balak cried out with astonishment and terror, What hast thou done to me? Instead of cursing Israel, for which I sent for thee, thou hast even pronounced a blessing upon him. This insinuation of Balak, that Balaam had betrayed the trust placed in him, he attempts to disprove by the plea that he acted from constraint: I would gladly have complied with your wishes and cursed this people, but must I not2 speak what Jehovah putteth into my mouth? This double part which the soothsayer is attempting to play, his apparent readiness to submit to the commands of Jehovah and his wish, at the same time, to minister to the wicked desire of his employer, will ere long bring certain ruin upon him. His determination to obey the letter of the command with the utmost scrupulousness, is of no avail, so long as in inclination he sins against its whole meaning and design.

Balak is satisfied that he has the heart of Balaam on his side, and therefore looks about him for expedients to enable the soothsayer to withstand the power of the divinity, and to pour out curses upon his enemies. It does not appear that Balak desired him to act counter to the will of his God, but to bring his will into conformity with his own. This power was supposed to be-

long to the class of men among whom Balaam was reckoned. The influence of circumstances, such as position and the manner of offering sacrifices, was supposed to avail much with them. The view of the camp of Israel spread out before Balaam, his employer thought, might have given occasion to the blessing. He now, therefore, takes him to a more eastern part of Pisgah, called the watcher’s field3 , where only the extreme part of the Israelitish camp could be seen. Here, as before, altars were constructed and the victims laid in order upon them, and Balaam again uttered the words which Jehovah had committed to him :

Verse 18. Stand up, Balak, and hear,
Listen to me, son of Zippor.

19. God is not man, that he should lie,
Nor a son of man, that he should repent.
Hath he promised and shall he not perform?
Hath he spoken and shall he not make it good?

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