Numbers 22:16
And they came to Balaam, and said to him, Thus said Balak the son of Zippor, Let nothing, I pray you, hinder you from coming to me:
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
22:15-21 A second embassy was sent to Balaam. It were well for us, if we were as earnest and constant in prosecuting a good work, notwithstanding disappointments. Balak laid a bait, not only for Balaam's covetousness, but for his pride and ambition. How earnestly should we beg of God daily to mortify such desires in us! Thus sinners stick at no pains, spare no cost, and care not how low they stoop, to gratify their luxury, or their malice. Shall we then be unwilling to do what is right? God forbid! Balaam's convictions charged him to keep to the command of God; nor could any man have spoken better. But many call God theirs, who are not his, not truly because not only his. There is no judging men by their words; God knows the heart. Balaam's corruptions at the same time inclined him to go contrary to the command. He seemed to refuse the temptation; but he expressed no abhorrence of it. He had a strong desire to accept the offer, and hoped that God might give him leave to go. He had already been told what the will of God was. It is a certain evidence of the ruling of corruption in the heart, to beg leave to sin. God gave Balaam up to his own heart's lusts. As God sometimes denies the prayers of his people in love, so sometimes he grants the desires of the wicked in wrath.Balak, like the ancient pagan world generally, not only believed in the efficacy of the curses and incantations of the soothsayers, but regarded their services as strictly venal. Hence, when his first offer was declined, he infers at once that he had not bid high enough. 13-15. the Lord refuseth to give me leave to go with you—This answer has an appearance of being good, but it studiously concealed the reason of the divine prohibition [Nu 22:12], and it intimated his own willingness and desire to go—if permitted. Balak despatched a second mission, which held out flattering prospects, both to his avarice and his ambition (Ge 31:30). No counsel nor suggestion either of God or man. And they came to Balaam,.... Though men of such rank and dignity, they did not decline the embassy, being sent by their king; nor did they think it below them to wait upon this soothsayer:

and said unto him, thus saith Balak the son of Zippor; representing their master, and addressing the diviner in his name, as his ambassadors; at the same time doing honour to Balak that sent them, of whom they speak respectfully, and to Balaam, to whom they were sent:

let nothing, I pray thee, hinder thee from coming unto me; no business, though ever so important, that might be upon his hands; nor any want of respect to him he might imagine; nor if the rewards offered were not thought sufficient; nor any persuasions of men to the contrary; and if it could be thought he knew anything of the prohibition of God, that may be included; so urgent was he upon his coming to him.

And they came to Balaam, and said to him, Thus saith Balak the son of Zippor, {h} Let nothing, I pray thee, hinder thee from coming unto me:

(h) The wicked seek by all means to further their naughty enterprises, though they know that God is against them.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
When the elders of Moab and Midian came to him with wages of divination in their hand, he did not send them away, but told them to spend the night at his house, that he might bring them word what Jehovah would say to him. קסמים, from קסם, soothsaying, signifies here that which has been wrought or won by soothsaying - the soothsayer's wages; just as בּשׂרה, which signifies literally glad tidings, is used in 2 Samuel 4:10 for the wages of glad tidings; and פּעל, פּעלּה, which signifies work, is frequently used for that which is wrought, the thing acquired, or the wages. If Balaam had been a true prophet and a faithful servant of Jehovah, he would at once have sent the messengers away and refused their request, as he must then have known that God would not curse His chosen people. But Balaam loved the wages of unrighteousness. This corruptness of his heart obscured his mind, so that he turned to God not as a mere form, but with the intention and in the hope of obtaining the consent of God to his undertaking. And God came to him in the night, and made known His will. Whether it was through the medium of a dream or of a vision, is not recorded, as this was of no moment in relation to the subject in hand. The question of God in Numbers 22:9, "Who are these men with thee?" not only served to introduce the conversation (Knobel), but was intended to awaken "the slumbering conscience of Balaam, to lead him to reflect upon the proposal which the men had made, and to break the force of his sinful inclination"' (Hengstenberg).
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