I shall see him, but not now: I shall behold him, but not near: there shall come a Star out of Jacob…
As I read these words I seem to look on the scene described. What do I see? I see the top of a wild mountain range, and I see altars smoking with sacrifices. Hard by stands Balak, with many slaves bearing costly gifts, gold, and precious stones, and spices, and garments. A little apart is Balaam, that "strange mixture of a man." And now, as he gazes from the high places of Baal, and the altars of idolatry, he sees far below Israel abiding in their tents. There are the banners of the different tribes waving in the wind; the eyes of Balaam are opened, and he recalls the past of Israel's history, and he foresees the future. And now, as we turn aside from this unwilling prophet who utters a blessing, in every word of which there was breathed a curse, what lessons are there for us of to-day.
1. First, we learn the awful danger of trifling with conscience, the whisper of the Holy Spirit within us. Balaam knew what was right, yet desired to do wrong.
2. We learn, too, the sin of trying to make a bargain, or compromise, with God. Hundreds of people are trying to do this, endeavouring to serve God a little, and the world a good deal. They profess to obey God, but only in the matters which they choose.
3. We learn, also, from the story of Balaam's sin, never to neglect a plain duty for the sake of earthly gain.
(H. J. Wilmot-Buxton, M. A.)
Parallel VersesKJV: I shall see him, but not now: I shall behold him, but not nigh: there shall come a Star out of Jacob, and a Sceptre shall rise out of Israel, and shall smite the corners of Moab, and destroy all the children of Sheth.
WEB: I see him, but not now. I see him, but not near. A star will come out of Jacob. A scepter will rise out of Israel, and shall strike through the corners of Moab, and break down all the sons of Sheth.