Numbers 23:22 MEANING

Numbers 23:22
(22) God brought them out of Egypt.--Literally, is bringing them. The use of the participle denotes the continuance of the action. He who brought them forth out of Egypt was still conducting them on their march. There is an obvious allusion in these words to those of Balak in Numbers 22:5 : "Behold, there is a people come out from Egypt." Seeing that the people did not come out of Egypt in obedience to their own caprice, but under Divine guidance, it was vain for Balak to resist them on their course, seeing that to contend with them was to contend against God.

The strength of an unicorn.--Better, of a buffalo. (Comp. Deuteronomy 33:17--a passage closely resembling the present--from which it appears that the reem had more than one horn.)

Verse 22. - God. אֵל, and also at the end of the next verse, and four times in the next chapter (verses 4, 8, 16, 23). The use seems to be poetic, and no particular signification can be attached to it. Brought them, or, perhaps, "is leading them." So the Septuagint: Θεὸς ὁ ἐξαγαγὼν αὐτόν. Unicorn. Hebrew, רְאֵם. It is uniformly rendered μονοκέρως by the Septuagint, under the mistaken notion that the rhinoceros was intended. It is evident, however, from Deuteronomy 33:17 and other passages that the teem had two hems, and that its horns were its most prominent feature. It would also appear from Job 39:9-12 and Isaiah 34:7 that, while itself untameable, it was allied to species employed in husbandry. The reem may therefore have been the aurochs or urus, now extinct, but which formerly had so large a range in the forests of the old world. There is some doubt, however, whether the urns existed in those days in Syria, and it may have been a wild buffalo, or some kindred animal of the bovine genus, whose size, fierceness, and length of horn made it a wonder and a fear.

23:11-30 Balak was angry with Balaam. Thus a confession of God's overruling power is extorted from a wicked prophet, to the confusion of a wicked prince. A second time the curse is turned into a blessing; and this blessing is both larger and stronger than the former. Men change their minds, and break their words; but God never changes his mind, and therefore never recalls his promise. And when in Scripture he is said to repent, it does not mean any change of his mind; but only a change of his way. There was sin in Jacob, and God saw it; but there was not such as might provoke him to give them up to ruin. If the Lord sees that we trust in his mercy, and accept of his salvation; that we indulge no secret lust, and continue not in rebellion, but endeavour to serve and glorify him; we may be sure that he looks upon us as accepted in Christ, that our sins are all pardoned. Oh the wonders of providence and grace, the wonders of redeeming love, of pardoning mercy, of the new-creating Spirit! Balak had no hope of ruining Israel, and Balaam showed that he had more reason to fear being ruined by them. Since Balaam cannot say what he would have him, Balak wished him to say nothing. But though there are many devices in man's heart, God's counsels shall stand. Yet they resolve to make another attempt, though they had no promise on which to build their hopes. Let us, who have a promise that the vision at the end shall speak and not lie, continue earnest in prayer, Lu 18:1.God brought them out of Egypt,.... With a mighty hand and stretched out arm, and he will conduct them through the wilderness, and bring them safe to Canaan's land; he that brought them from thence will not suffer them to perish by any means; it is in vain to attempt to curse a people that is in such hands, and for whom he has done such great things: Jarchi thinks this stands opposed to what Balak had said, Numbers 22:5, thou sayest, "lo, a people is come out of Egypt";"they did not come out of themselves, but God brought them:"

he hath as it were the strength of an unicorn; that is, not God, but the people he brought out of Egypt, being a mighty people, able to push their enemies and subdue them, being numerous and strong, especially as strengthened by the mighty God of Jacob; and therefore their strength is expressed by the strength of this creature; for be it what it will, whether the rhinoceros or the wild ox, or one kind of goats, as Bochart (l) thinks; whatever is meant by the term here must be a strong creature, see Deuteronomy 33:17 and great is the strength of the spiritual Israel of God, which they have from him to exercise grace, perform duty, withstand and overcome all their spiritual enemies, sin, Satan, and the world.

(l) Hierozoic. par. 1. l. 3. c. 27. col. 965.

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