Numbers 24:11
Therefore now flee you to your place: I thought to promote you to great honor; but, see, the LORD has kept you back from honor.
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(11) The Lord hath kept thee back from honour.—These words may have been spoken ironically, or Balak may have been convinced of the supernatural influence under which the words of Balaam were uttered. (See Numbers 23:27, and Note.)

24:10-14 This vain attempt to curse Israel is ended. Balak broke out into a rage against Balaam, and expressed great vexation. Balaam has a very full excuse; God restrained him from saying what he would have said, and constrained him to say what he would not have uttered.Balaam's native soil was ordinarily irrigated by water fetched from the neighboring Euphrates, and carried in buckets suspended from the two ends of a pole. Thus the metaphor would import that Israel should have his own exuberant and unfailing channels of blessing and plenty. Some take the word to be predictive of the future benefits which, through the means of Israel, were to accrue to the rest of the world.

Agag - The name, apparently hereditary (compare 1 Samuel 15) to the chieftains of Amalek, means "high." The words point to the Amalekite kingdom as highly prosperous and powerful at the time (compare Numbers 24:20); but also to be far excelled by the future glories of Israel. The Amalekites never in fact recovered their crushing defeat by Saul (1 Samuel 15:2 ff), though they appear again as foes to Israel in the reign of David (1 Samuel 27:1-12 and 30). The remnant of them was destroyed in the reign of Hezekiah 1 Chronicles 4:43.

10-14. Balak's anger was kindled against Balaam, and he smote his hands together—The "smiting of the hands together" is, among Oriental people, an indication of the most violent rage (see Eze 21:17; 22:13) and ignominious dismissal. Flee thou to thy place, whence I sent for thee, Numbers 22:5. The Lord, whose commands thou hast preferred before my desires and interest; and therefore seek thy recompence from him, and not from me. Therefore now flee thou to thy place,.... His own country, from whence Balak had sent for him, and he came; begone directly, make all haste away; he speaks as one so provoked, that he could not bear him in his presence, and as threatening him if he did not at once get out of his sight:

I thought to promote thee unto great honour; to bestow much wealth and riches upon him, and to prefer him in his court to high offices of honour and dignity; he had promised that he would, and he thought as he said, he was determined upon it, had he performed as he expected:

but, lo, the Lord hath kept thee back from honour; the Lord thou hast so much talked of, and at whose beck and command thou hast been, and by whom thou hast been checked and controlled, he has hindered thee from riches and honour; see what thou hast got, or rather lost, by hearkening to him, and how he will pay thee for it.

Therefore now flee thou to thy place: I thought to promote thee unto great honour; but, lo, the {g} LORD hath kept thee back from honour.

(g) Thus the wicked burden God when they cannot carry out their wicked enterprises.

"How beautiful are thy tents, O Jacob! thy dwellings, O Israel! Like valleys are they spread out, like gardens by the stream, like aloes which Jehovah has planted, like cedars by the waters. Water will flow out of his buckets, and his seed is by many waters. And loftier than Agag be his king, and his kingdom will be exalted." What Balaam had seen before his ecstasy with his bodily eyes, formed the substratum for his inward vision, in which the dwellings of Israel came before his mental eye adorned with the richest blessing from the Lord. The description starts, it is true, from the time then present, but it embraces the whole future of Israel. In the blessed land of Canaan the dwellings of Israel will spread out like valleys. נחלים does not mean brooks here, but valleys watered by brooks. נטּה, to extend oneself, to stretch or spread out far and wide. Yea, "like gardens by the stream," which are still more lovely than the grassy and flowery valleys with brooks. This thought is carried out still further in the two following figures. אהלים are aloe-trees, which grow in the East Indies, in Siam, in Cochin China, and upon the Moluccas, and from which the aloe-wood was obtained, that was so highly valued in the preparation of incense, on account of its fragrance. As the aloes were valued for their fragrant smell, so the cedars were valued on account of their lofty and luxuriant growth, and the durability of their wood. The predicate, "which Jehovah hath planted," corresponds, so far as the actual meaning is concerned, to מים עלי, "by water;" for this was "an expression used to designate trees that, on account of their peculiar excellence, were superior to ordinary trees" (Calvin; cf. Psalm 104:16).
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