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Balaam Prophesies Again

18 Balaam[a] uttered[b] his oracle, and said,

“Rise up,[c] Balak, and hear;
Listen to me, son of Zippor:
19 God is not a man, that he should lie,
nor a human being,[d] that he should change his mind.
Has he said, and will he not do it?
Or has he spoken, and will he not make it happen?[e]
20 Indeed, I have received a command[f] to bless;
he has blessed,[g] and I cannot reverse it.[h]

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Footnotes

  1. Numbers 23:18 tn Heb “he.” The antecedent has been supplied in the translation for clarity.
  2. Numbers 23:18 tn Heb “took up.”
  3. Numbers 23:18 tn The verb probably means “pay attention” in this verse.
  4. Numbers 23:19 tn Heb “son of man.”
  5. Numbers 23:19 tn The verb is the Hiphil of קוּם (qum, “to cause to rise; to make stand”). The meaning here is more of the sense of fulfilling the promises made.
  6. Numbers 23:20 tn The Hebrew text simply has “I have received [to] bless.” The infinitive is the object of the verb, telling what he received. Balaam was not actually commanded to bless, but was given the word of blessing so that he was given a divine decree that would bless Israel.
  7. Numbers 23:20 sn The reference is probably to the first speech, where the Lord blessed Israel. Balaam knows that there is nothing he can do to reverse what God has said.
  8. Numbers 23:20 tn The verb is the Hiphil of שׁוּב (shuv), meaning “to cause to return.” He cannot return God’s word to him, for it has been given, and it will be fulfilled.

18 Then he spoke his message:(A)

“Arise, Balak, and listen;
    hear me, son of Zippor.(B)
19 God is not human,(C) that he should lie,(D)
    not a human being, that he should change his mind.(E)
Does he speak and then not act?
    Does he promise(F) and not fulfill?
20 I have received a command to bless;(G)
    he has blessed,(H) and I cannot change it.(I)

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