Numbers 22

Numbers 22


The IsraelitesI set outII and campedIII

Notes on verse 1a

I “Israelites” = ben + Yisrael. Literally, “children of Israel.” Ben is from banah (to build or obtain children). This is son, age, child. It is son in a literal or figurative sense. Yisrael is from sarah (to persist, exert oneself, contend, persevere, wrestle, prevail) + el (God or god). This is Israel, meaning God strives or one who strives with God; new name for Jacob and for his offspring. This refers to the people and to the land.
II “set out” = nasa. This is properly pulling up as when one pulls up tent pegs or stakes. This would imply striking tents in order to start a journey. So this could be bring, pullout, set out, journey, or cause to go away.
III “camped” = chanah. This is decline, bending down, or living in tents. It can be camping to create a home or camping as a part of battle.

in the plainsIV of MoabV acrossVI the JordanVII from Jericho.VIII 

Notes on verse 1b

IV “plains” = arabah. From the same as arab (desert plateau, Arabia) OR from arab (to become evening); {from ereb (evening) or from arab (to exchange, give or take on pledge, braid, intermix)}. This is a desert valley or plain, wilderness. Also, the name of a place Arabah.
V “Moab” = Moab. May be from ab (father, ancestor, grandfather; father in a literal or figurative sense). This is Moab or Moabite. Name could mean “from her father” in reference to the incestuous relationship between Lot and his daughters. The name could also mean, more pleasantly, “seed of a father” or “desirable land.” See
VI “across” = abar. This is to pass over or cross over. It is used for transitions, whether literal or figurative. It can also mean to escape, alienate, or fail. This is the root verb from which “Hebrew” is drawn.
VII “Jordan” = Yarden. From yarad (to go down, descend; going down in a literal or figurative sense; going to the shore or a boundary, bringing down an enemy). This is the Jordan River, meaning “descending.”
VIII “Jericho” = Yericho. From yareach (moon); {from the same as yerach (month)} OR from ruach (smell, breathe, perceive, anticipate, accept, enjoy). This is Jericho meaning either “moon city” or “fragrant place.”

Now BalakIX sonX of ZipporXI sawXII

Notes on verse 2a

IX “Balak” = Balaq. From balaq (to lay waste, annihilate). This is Balak, meaning “devastator” or “empty” or “wasting.” See
X “son” = ben. Same as “Israelites” in v1. See note I above.
XI “Zippor” = Tsippor. 7 x in OT. From the same as tsippor (bird, sparrow; little bird); from tsaphar (to skip about, maybe to depart). This is Zippor or Tsippor, meaning “bird” or “sparrow” or “little bird” or “goat.” See
XII “saw” = raah. This is to see in a literal or figurative sense so stare, advise, think, view.

allXIIII that IsraelXIV had doneXV to the Amorites.XVI 

Notes on verse 2b

XIII “all” = kol. From kalal (to complete). This is all or every.
XIV “Israel” = Yisrael. Same as “Israelites” in v1. See note I above.
XV “done” = asah. This is to make, do, act, appoint, become in many senses.
XVI “Amorites” = Emori. From amar (to speak, say, answer, command, promise, report). This is Amorite or Emori, perhaps meaning talkers.

Moab was in greatXVII dreadXVIII ofXIX the people,XX

Notes on verse 3a

XVII “great” = meod. Perhaps from the same as uwd (firebrand, a poker). This is very, greatly, exceedingly. It can also mean vehemence, force, abundance.
XVIII “was in…dread” = gur. Properly, this is the act of turning off the road for any reason. So, it means sojourning, becoming a guest. It can mean being fearful since one is outside of home territory. It can also mean dwelling, living, or inhabiting if one has turned off the root to encamp for a longer duration. This word is where the Hebrew “ger” comes from, which is the word translated “stranger” or “resident alien.”
XIX {untranslated} = paneh. From panah (to turn, face, appear). This is face in a literal or figurative sense. It could be face, presence, anger, respect. It can also be used of God to indicate divine favor or presence.
XX “people” = am. From amam (to darken, hide, associate; creating shadows by huddling together). This is people or nation. It can be used specifically for a tribe, collectively of troops or armies, or figuratively to refer to a flock of animals.

because they were so numerous;XXI Moab was overcome with fearXXII of theXXIII Israelites. 

And Moab saidXXIV to the eldersXXV of Midian,XXVI

Notes on verses 3b-4a

XXI “so numerous” = rab. From rabab (increasing in any aspect whether quantity, authority, size, quality, greatness, etc.). This is abundance, many, elder, exceedingly, great. It refers to abundance of amount, rank, or status.
XXII “was overcome with fear” = quts. 9x in OT. This is to feel dread, be distressed, tired, terrorized, be disgusted, be anxious, abhor.
XXIII {untranslated} = paneh. Same as {untranslated} in v3. See note XIX above.
XXIV “said” = amar. Related to “Amorites” in v2. See note XVI above.
XXV “elders” = zaqen. From the same as zaqan (beard or chin – the beard represents old age). This is old, aged, or elder.
XXVI “Midian” = Midyan. From the same as madon (strife, contention, brawling); from din (to judge, defend, dispute, govern, strive). This is Midian or a Midianite. It means strife or place of judgment.

“This hordeXXVII will now lick upXXVIII all that is aroundXXIX us, as an oxXXX licks up the grassXXXI of the field.”XXXII

Notes on verse 4b

XXVII “horde” = qahal. This is an assembly, congregation, or multitude.
XXVIII “lick up” = lachak. 6x in OT. This is lick or lick up.
XXIX “around” = sabib. From sabab (turning around, going around; to surround, cast, walk, fetch; to revolve or border in a literal or figurative sense). This is a circuit or a circle. It could refer to an environment, one’s neighbors, or a circular path round about.
XXX “ox” = shor. Perhaps from shur (to travel, turn, journey; travelling like a prostitute or a merchant). This is bull, ox, head of cattle, cow.
XXXI “grass” = yereq. 6x in OT– including “every green plant for food” from Genesis 1:30. Perhaps from yaraq (to spit). This is something green. It could be pallor or some kind of vegetation.
XXXII “field” = sadeh. This is literally field, ground, soil, or land. It can be used to mean wild like a wild animal.

Now Balak son of Zippor was kingXXXIII of Moab at that time.XXXIV He sentXXXV messengersXXXVI

Notes on verses 4c-5a

XXXIII “king” = melek. From malak (to be or become king or queen, to rise to the throne, to be crowned; by implication, to take counsel). This is king or royal.
XXXIV “time” = eth. Probably from anah (to answer, sing, announce); from ad (forever, all, old); from adah (to pass on, advance, decorate oneself). This is a period or season. It can also mean whenever or continually.
XXXV “sent” = shalach. This is to send out, away, send for, forsake. It can also mean to divorce or set a slave free.
XXXVI “messengers” = malak. This is a messenger, an angel, or a deputy of some kind. Can be used for human messengers literally or for prophets, priests, or teachers as messengers of God. Also used for supernatural messengers i.e. angels.

to BalaamXXXVII son of BeorXXXVIII at Pethor,XXXIX

Notes on verse 5b

XXXVII “Balaam” = Bil’am. Related to “people” in v3. Probably from bal (not, none, nothing, a failure); {from balah (to grow old, wear out, waste away, consume, spend)} + am (see note XX above) OR from bala (to swallow, engulf, cover, destroy) + am (see above). This is Balaam, meaning “not of the people” or “foreigner” or “swallowing up the people” or “destroyer of the people” or “destruction of the people” or “confuser of the people.” See
XXXVIII “Beor” = Beor. 10x in OT. From baar (burn, consume, heat, remove; to consume by a fire or through eating; can also mean being brutish or wasting). This is Boer, meaning “a lamp” or “a torch” or “burning” or “consuming.” See
XXXIX “Pethor” = Pethor. 2x in OT. Perhaps from pathar (to interpret dreams). This is Pethor, meaning “interpreter” or “interpreter of dreams.” See

which is on the Euphrates,XL in the landXLI ofXLII Amaw,XLIII to summonXLIV him,

Notes on verse 5c

XL “Euphrates” = nahar. From nahar (to flow, sparkle, be cheerful). This is a stream, river, or flood. Particularly used for the Nile or Euphrates. Figuratively, this can mean prosperity.
XLI “land” = erets. Root may mean to be firm. This is earth, ground, field land, or country.
XLII {untranslated} = ben. Same as “Israelites” in v1. See note I above.
XLIII “Amaw” = am. Same as “people” in v3. See note XX above. Literally, “of his people” or “Amaw.”
XLIV “summon” = qara. This is to call or call out – to call someone by name. Also used more broadly for calling forth.

saying, “XLVA people has come outXLVI of Egypt;XLVII XLVIIIthey have spreadXLIX

Notes on verse 5d

XLV {untranslated} = hinneh. From hen (lo! Behold! If, though; an expression of surprise). This is to draw attention, show suddenness or surprise, or to emphasize the importance of the coming statement. See! Lo! Behold!
XLVI “come out” = yatsa. This is to go or come out, bring forth, appear. It is to go out in a literal or figurative sense.
XLVII “Egypt” = Mitsrayim. Perhaps from matsor (besieged or fortified place, bulwark, entrenchment; something hemmed in; a siege or distress or fastness); from tsur (to confine, besiege, to cramp). This is Egypt.
XLVIII {untranslated} = hinneh. Same as {untranslated} in v5. See note XLV above.
XLIX “spread” = kasah. This is to cover, conceal, overwhelm. It is to cover as clothes do or to hide a secret.

over the faceL of the earth,LI and they have settledLII next toLIII me. 

Notes on verse 5e

L “face” = ayin. This is eye in a literal or figurative sense so eye, appearance, favor, or a fountain (the eye of the landscape).
LI “earth” = erets. Root may mean to be firm. This is earth, ground, field land, or country.
LII “settled” = yashab. This is to sit and so to remain and so to dwell. It is sitting for any reason – as a judge, in order to ambush, or just sitting quietly. Causatively, this can mean settling or marrying. This can also mean continue, endure, or establish.
LIII “next to” = mul. Perhaps from mul (to cut short, circumcise, blunt, destroy). This is in front of, opposite, with, abrupt. Literally, it refers to some kind of precipice.

ComeLIV now,LV curseLVI this people for me, since they are strongerLVII than I;

Notes on verse 6a

LIV “come” = halak. This is go, come, walk. It is walk literally and figuratively and includes people and animals. It can be used figuratively for one’s moral life – how we walk according to God’s way or against it. It can also refer to the walk of life as in the course one’s life takes, the choices we make, etc.
LV {untranslated} = na. This particle is used for requests or for urging. It can be we pray, now, I ask you, oh. This is the same “na” in “hosanna.”
LVI “curse” = arar. This is curse or bitterly curse.
LVII “stronger” = atsum. From atsom (to be many or mighty; could also refer to breaking bones). This is mighty or mighty one. It means powerful, which implies large numbers.

perhapsLVIII I shall be ableLIX to defeatLX them and driveLXI them from the land, for I knowLXII that whomever you blessLXIII is blessed, and whomever you curse is cursed.”

Notes on verse 6b

LVIII “perhaps” = ulay. Perhaps from o (or). This is perhaps, if, or suppose.
LIX “be able” = yakol. This is to be able, endure, overcome, prevail.
LX “defeat” = nakah. This is to hit whether lightly or severely. It can be used in a literal or figurative sense. So, this could be beat, punish, give wounds, kill, or slaughter.
LXI “drive” = garash. This is to cast out or expel. It can be to exile someone or to divorce them.
LXII “know” = yada. This is to know, acknowledge, advise, answer, be aware, be acquainted with. Properly, this is to figure something out by seeing. It includes ideas of observation, recognition, and care about something. It can be used causatively for instruction, designation, and punishment.
LXIII “bless” = barak. This is to kneel, to bless. It is blessing God as part of worship and adoration or blessing humans to help them. It can be used as a euphemism to say curse God.

So the elders of Moab and the elders of Midian departedLXIV with the fees for divinationLXV in their hand,LXVI and they cameLXVII to Balaam and gaveLXVIII him Balak’s message.LXIX 

Notes on verse 7

LXIV “departed” = halak. Same as “come” in v6. See note LIV above.
LXV “fees for divination” = qesem. 11x in OT. Perhaps from qasam (to conjure, divine, be a soothsayer; to determine something using lots or magical scrolls). This is a lot, oracle, divination, witchcraft, or a divine decision.
LXVI “hand” = yad. This is hand, ability, power. Hand in a literal sense, but also what one can do or the means by which one does it.
LXVII “came” = bo. This is to enter, come in, advance, fulfill, bring offerings, enter to worship, attack. It can also have a sexual connotation.
LXVIII “gave” = dabar. This is generally to speak, answer, declare, or command. It might mean to arrange and so to speak in a figurative sense as arranging words.
LXIX “message” = dabar. Related to “gave” in v7. From dabar (see note LXVIII above). This is speech, a word, a matter, an affair, charge, command, message, promise, purpose, report, request. It is a word, which implies things that are spoken of in a wide sense.

He said to them, “StayLXX here tonight,LXXI and I will bring backLXXII wordLXXIII to you,

Notes on verse 8a

LXX “stay” = lun. This is to stop – usually to lodge for the night. It can imply dwelling, enduring, or staying permanently. Figuratively, it can mean being obstinate, particularly with one’s words – to complain.
LXXI “tonight” = layil. Properly, this refers to light twisting away. It is used for night or midnight. Figuratively, this can mean adversity.
LXXII “bring back” = shub. To turn back, return, turn away – literally or figuratively. Doesn’t necessarily imply going back to where you started from. This is also the root verb for the Hebrew word for repentance “teshubah.”
LXXIII “word” = dabar. Same as “message” in v7. See note LXIX above.

just as the LordLXXIV speaksLXXV to me”; so the officialsLXXVI of Moab stayedLXXVII with Balaam. 

GodLXXVIII cameLXXIX to Balaam and said, “Who are these menLXXX with you?” 

Notes on verses 8b-9

LXXIV “Lord” = YHVH. From havah (to be, become) or hayah (to come to pass, become, be). This is the name of the God of Israel, the self-existent and eternal one, the tetragrammaton. This pronunciation has been lost to time so “Lord” is generally used in its place.
LXXV “speaks” = dabar. Same as “gave” in v7. See note LXVIII above.
LXXVI “officials” = sar. This is chief, leader, ruler, lord, official, governor, prince, military leader. It refers to someone at the top of a rank or class.
LXXVII “stayed” = yashab. Same as “settled” in v5. See note LII above.
LXXVIII “God” = Elohim. Related to “Israelites” in v1. See note I above.
LXXIX “came” = bo. Same as “came” in v7. See note LXVII above.
LXXX “men” = enosh. From anash (to be weak, sick, or frail). This is human, humankind, another. It is mortal.

10 Balaam said to God, “King Balak son of Zippor of Moab has sent me this message: 11 ‘Look,LXXXI a people has come out of Egypt and has spread over the face of the earth; now come,LXXXII curseLXXXIII them for me; perhaps I shall be able to fightLXXXIV against them and drive them out.’” 

12 God said to Balaam, “You shall not goLXXXV with them; you shall not curseLXXXVI the people, for they are blessed.” 

Notes on verses 10-12

LXXXI “look” = hinneh. Same as {untranslated} in v5. See note XLV above.
LXXXII “come” = halak. Same as “come” in v6. See note LIV above.
LXXXIII “curse” = qabab. 8x in OT – all in Numbers 22-24. This is to scoop out – to curse or blaspheme.
LXXXIV “fight” = lacham. This is to eat or feed on. Figuratively, it is to battle as a kind of consumption/destruction.
LXXXV “go” = halak. Same as “come” in v6. See note LIV above.
LXXXVI “curse” = arar. Same as “curse” in v6. See note LVI above.

13 So Balaam roseLXXXVII in the morningLXXXVIII and said to the officials of Balak, “Go to your own land, for the Lord has refused to letLXXXIX me go with you.” 

14 So the officials of Moab rose and wentXC to Balak and said, “Balaam refuses to comeXCI with us.”

Notes on verses 13-14

LXXXVII “rose” = qum. To arise, stand, accomplish, establish, abide. This is rising as in rising against, getting up after being sick or asleep, arising from one state to another, becoming powerful, or rising for action. It can also be standing in a figurative sense.
LXXXVIII “morning” = boqer. From baqar (to seek, plow, break forth, admire, care for). This refers to the break of day. So it is dawn, early, morning, or morrow.
LXXXIX “let” = natan. This is to give, put, set, offer. It is to give literally or figuratively.
XC “went” = bo. Same as “came” in v7. See note LXVII above.
XCI “come” = halak. Same as “come” in v6. See note LIV above.

15 OnceXCII againXCIII Balak sent officials, more numerousXCIV and more distinguishedXCV than these. 

Notes on verse 15

XCII “once” = od. From ud (to admonish, repeat, duplicate, testify, restore, record, relieve). This is still, yet, again, more.
XCIII “again” = yasaph. This is to add, increase, continue, exceed.
XCIV “more numerous” = rab. Same as “so numerous” in v3. See note XXI above.
XCV “more distinguished” = kabad. To be heavy, weighty, or severe. It can also be positive abounding in, rich, or honorable. The Hebrew word for “glory,” kabod, is taken from this root.

16 They cameXCVI to Balaam and said to him, “ThusXCVII says Balak son of Zippor: Do notXCVIII let anything hinderXCIX you from comingC to me, 

Notes on verse 16

XCVI “came” = bo. Same as “came” in v7. See note LXVII above.
XCVII “thus” = koh. Perhaps from ki (that, for when, certainly) + hu (he, she, it). This is like this, thus, here, now.
XCVIII {untranslated} = na. Same as {untranslated} in v6. See note LV above.
XCIX “hinder” = mana. This is to hold back, refuse, restrain, deny. It could be in a positive or in a negative sense.
C “coming” = halak. Same as “come” in v6. See note LIV above.

17 for I will surely do you great honor,CI and whateverCII you say to me I will do; come,CIII, CIV curseCV this people for me.” 

Notes on verse 17

CI “surely do…honor” = kabad + kabad. Same as “more distinguished” in v15. See note XCV above. The word is repeated twice – the first time as an Infinitive Absolute. The Infinitive Absolute serves to emphasize the sentiment of the word. It is rather like Foghorn Leghorn’s speech pattern, “I said, I said.”
CII “whatever” = kol + asher. Kol is from kalal (to complete). This is all or every.
CIII “come” = halak. Same as “come” in v6. See note LIV above.
CIV {untranslated} = na Same as {untranslated} in v6. See note LV above.
CV “curse” = qabab. Same as “curse” in v11. See note LXXXIII above.

18 But Balaam repliedCVI to the servantsCVII of Balak, “Although Balak were to giveCVIII me his houseCIX full ofCX silverCXI and gold,CXII

Notes on verse 18a

CVI “replied” = anah. Related to “time” in v4. See note XXXIV above.
CVII “servants” = ebed. From abad (to work, serve, compel; any kind of work; used causatively, can mean to enslave or keep in bondage). This is a servant, slave, or bondservant.
CVIII “give” = natan. Same as “let” in v13. See note LXXXIX above.
CIX “house” = bayit. Related to “Israelites” in v1. Probably from banah (see note I above). This is house, court, family, palace, temple.
CX “full of” = melo. From male (fill, satisfy, replenish, accomplish, fulfill, confirm, or consecrate; fill in a literal or figurative sense). This is fullness in a literal or figurative sense.
CXI “silver” = keseph. From kasaph (to long for, be greedy; to become pale). This is silver or money.
CXII “gold” = zahab. Root may mean to shimmer. This is gold or something that has the color of gold like oil. It can also refer to a clear sky – to good weather.

I couldCXIII not go beyondCXIV the commandCXV of the Lord my God, to do lessCXVI or more.CXVII 

Notes on verse 18b

CXIII “could” = yakol. Same as “be able” in v6. See note LIX above.
CXIV “go beyond” = abar. Same as “across” in v1. See note VI above.
CXV “command” = peh. This is mouth in a literal or figurative sense. So, more literally, it can be beak or jaws. More figuratively, it refers to speech, commands, or promises.
CXVI “less” = qatan. From quwt (grieved, cut off, to detest). This is least, small, young, little one. It is literally smaller whether in amount or size. Figuratively it is smaller in the sense of younger or less important.
CXVII “more” = gadol. From gadal (to grow up, become great, become wealthy – to advance. The root meaning may be to twist in the sense of the process of growing). This is great, high, bigger, noble, old, marvelous. It can also refer to someone who is powerful or distinguished.

19 You also stayCXVIII, CXIX here overnight,CXX so that I may learnCXXI what moreCXXII the Lord may sayCXXIII to me.” 

Notes on verse 19

CXVIII “stay” = yashab. Same as “settled” in v5. See note LII above.
CXIX {untranslated} = na. Same as {untranslated} in v6. See note LV above.
CXX “overnight” = layil. Same as “tonight” in v8. See note LXXI above.
CXXI “learn” = yada. Same as “know” in v6. See note LXII above.
CXXII “more” = yasaph. Same as “again” in v15. See note XCIII above.
CXXIII “say” = dabar. Same as “gave” in v7. See note LXVIII above.

20 That nightCXXIV God cameCXXV to Balaam and said to him, “If the menCXXVI have comeCXXVII to summon you,

Notes on verse 20a

CXXIV “night” = layil. Same as “tonight” in v8. See note LXXI above.
CXXV “came” = bo. Same as “came” in v7. See note LXVII above.
CXXVI “men” = ish. Related to “men” in v9. Perhaps from enosh (see note LXXX above). This is man, husband, another, or humankind.
CXXVII “come” = bo. Same as “came” in v7. See note LXVII above.

get upCXXVIII and goCXXIX with them, but do onlyCXXX whatCXXXI I tellCXXXII you to do.” 

Notes on verse 20b

CXXVIII “get up” = qum. Same as “rose” in v13. See note LXXXVII above.
CXXIX “go” = halak. Same as “come” in v6. See note LIV above.
CXXX “but…only” = ak. Related to aken (surely, truly, nevertheless); from kun (properly, in a perpendicular position; literally, to establish, fix, fasten, prepare; figuratively, it is certainty, to be firm, faithfulness, render sure or prosperous). This is a positive statement – surely, also, certainly, alone, only.
CXXXI “what” = dabar. Same as “message” in v7. See note LXIX above.
CXXXII “tell” = dabar. Same as “gave” in v7. See note LXVIII above.

21 So Balaam got up in the morning, saddledCXXXIII his donkey,CXXXIV and wentCXXXV with the officials of Moab.

Notes on verse 21

CXXXIII “saddled” = chabash. This is to wrap tightly or bind, to bandage, or heal. It can be to saddle an animal or wrap a turban. Figuratively, it can mean to stop or to govern.
CXXXIV “donkey” = athon. Perhaps from the same as eythan (continual, mighty, strong, ever-flowing, permanence). This is a female donkey as an animal that is patient and gentle.
CXXXV “went” = halak. Same as “come” in v6. See note LIV above.

22 God’s angerCXXXVI was kindledCXXXVII because he was going,CXXXVIII and the angelCXXXIX of the Lord took his standCXL

Notes on verse 22a

CXXXVI “anger” = aph. From anaph (to be angry; properly, breathing hard as a signifier of being enraged). This properly refers to the nose or nostril and by extension the face. It can specifically refer to anger or wrath as one breathes hard and nostrils flare in times of great anger.
CXXXVII “kindled” = charah. Perhaps related to charar (to be hot, burn, glow, melt, be scorched; figuratively, to incite passion, be angry). This is to be displeased, burn with anger, glow, become warn. Figuratively it is a blaze of anger, zeal, or jealousy.
CXXXVIII “going” = halak. Same as “come” in v6. See note LIV above.
CXXXIX “angel” = malak. Same as “messengers” in v5. See note XXXVI above.
CXL “took…stand” = yatsab. This is to set oneself, take a stand, remain, continue, to station or set something in place.

in the roadCXLI as his adversary.CXLII Now he was ridingCXLIII on the donkey, and his twoCXLIV servantsCXLV were with him. 

Notes on verse 22b

CXLI “road” = derek. From darak (to tread, march, to walk. Can also mean affixing a string to a box since one needs to step on it to bend it in the process; so also an archer). This is a road as a thing that is walked on. Can be used figuratively for the path that one’s life takes or how one chooses to live one’s life.
CXLII “adversary” = satan. Perhaps from satan (to be an adversary, attack, accuse, resist). This is adversary. It could be personal, in reference to political enemies, or refer to Satan.
CXLIII “riding” = rakab. This is to ride an animal or in some vehicle. It can also mean bringing on a horse.
CXLIV “two” = shenayim. From sheni (double, again, another, second); from shanah (to fold, repeat, double, alter, or disguise). This is two, both, second, couple.
CXLV “servants” = naar. May be from na’ar (to shake, toss up and down, tumble around). This is a child or a servant. It is a child in their active years so they could be aged anywhere from infancy to adolescence.

23 The donkey saw the angel of the Lord standingCXLVI in the road, with a drawnCXLVII swordCXLVIII in his hand, so the donkey turnedCXLIX off the road and wentCL into the field, and Balaam struckCLI the donkey, to turn it back onto the road. 

Notes on verse 23

CXLVI “standing” = natsab. This is to station, appoint, establish, take a stand.
CXLVII “drawn” = shalaph. This is to draw out, pluck off, grow up.
CXLVIII “sword” = chereb. From charab (to attack, slay). This is any sharp instrument like a sword, dagger, axe, or mattock.
CXLIX “turned” = natah. This is to stretch or spread out, to extend, or bend. In can also imply moral deflection.
CL “went” = halak. Same as “come” in v6. See note LIV above.
CLI “struck” = nakah. Same as “defeat” in v6. See note LX above.

24 Then the angel of the Lord stoodCLII in a narrow pathCLIII between the vineyards,CLIV with a wall on either side.CLV 

Notes on verse 24

CLII “stood” = amad. This is to stand up in a literal or figurative sense. So it can be establish, continue, endure, take a stand, act, be a servant, stand still, remain, stand against an enemy.
CLIII “narrow path” = mishol. 1x in OT. From the same as shoal (may come from a word meaning hollow out; handful, palm). This is a small path or hollow passage.
CLIV “vineyards” = kerem. This is a vineyard, garden, vines, or a vintage.
CLV “a wall on either side” = gader + zeh + gader + zeh. Literally, “a wall on this and a wall on this.” Gader is 11x in OT. From gadar (to build a wall or wall off, mason, repair, hedge, enclose; to wall in or wall around). This is any kind of enclosure – wall, fence, or hedge.

25 When the donkey saw the angel of the Lord, it scrapedCLVI against the wallCLVII and scraped Balaam’s footCLVIII against the wall,CLIX so he struck it again. 

Notes on verse 25

CLVI “scraped” = lachats. 19x in OT. This is to press or squeeze. Figuratively, it is oppress, afflict, or distress.
CLVII “wall” = qir. Perhaps from qur (to dig, destroy, wall up). This is a wall, ceiling, surface, mason, or town.
CLVIII “foot” = regel. This is foot, endurance, or journey. It is a foot as the means of walking and so it implies a step or a greater journey. It can be used euphemistically for private parts.
CLIX “wall” = qir. Same as “wall” in v25. See note CLVII above.

26 Then the angel of the Lord wentCLX aheadCLXI and stoodCLXII in a narrowCLXIII place,CLXIV

Notes on verse 26a

CLX “went” = abar. Same as “across” in v1. See note VI above.
CLXI “ahead” = yasaph. Same as “again” in v15. See note XCIII above.
CLXII “stood” = amad. Same as “stood” in v24. See note CLII above.
CLXIII “narrow” = tsar. From tsarar (to bind, restrict, narrow, be cramped, an adversary). Properly, this is a narrow or constricted place. Figuratively, it can be trouble, a pebble, an enemy, anguish, or distress.
CLXIV “place” = maqom. Related to “rose” in v13. From qum (see note LXXXVII above). This is a standing, which is to say a spot or space a place. It can also refer to a locality or a physical/mental condition. HaMaqom is also a Jewish name for God – the place, i.e. the Omnipresent One.

where there was no wayCLXV to turn either to the rightCLXVI or to the left.CLXVII 

Notes on verse 26b

CLXV “way” = derek. Same as “road” in v22. See note CXLI above.
CLXVI “right” = yamin. May be from yamam (to go or choose the right, use the right hand; to be physically fit or firm). This can mean right hand, right side, or south. Since most people are right-handed, the metaphorical usage of this word presumes that the right hand is stronger and more agile. Thus, it is the instrument of power and action.
CLXVII “left” = semol. Perhaps from the same as simlah (mantle, clothes, wrapper); perhaps from semel (image, figure, likeness). This is left, left side, or north as the part that is dark.

27 When the donkey saw the angel of the Lord, it lay downCLXVIII underCLXIX Balaam, and Balaam’s anger was kindled, and he struck the donkey with his staff.CLXX 

28 Then the Lord openedCLXXI the mouthCLXXII of the donkey, and it said to Balaam, “What have I done to you, that you have struck me these threeCLXXIII times?”CLXXIV 

Notes on verses 27-28

CLXVIII “lay down” = rabats. This is crouched like an animal, lie down, lie stretch out, rest, sit, brood, lurk.
CLXIX “under” = tachat. This is underneath, below, the bottom, instead of.
CLXX “staff” = maqqel. 18x in OT. This is a shoot with leaves growing from it or a staff. It could be a walking stick, a stick for guiding (e.g. sheep), a stick for striking like a war club, or a divining rod.
CLXXI “opened” = pathach. This is to open wide in a literal or figurative sense. So, it is open, draw out, let something go free, break forth. It can also mean to plow, engrave, or carve.
CLXXII “mouth” = peh. Same as “command” in v18. See note CXV above.
CLXXIII “three” = shalosh. This is three, fork, three times.
CLXXIV “times” = regel. Same as “foot” in v25. See note CLVIII above.

29 Balaam said to the donkey, “Because you have made a foolCLXXV of me! I wishCLXXVI I hadCLXXVII a sword in my hand! I would killCLXXVIII you right now!” 

Notes on verse 29

CLXXV “made a fool” = alal. 19x in OT. This is to affect, abuse, mistreat, impose, practice, glean, defile.
CLXXVI “wish” = lu. This is if, oh that. It is an interjection. It could indicate something one would like or a polite request.
CLXXVII “had” = yesh. This is being, existence, or substance.
CLXXVIII “kill” = harag. This is to strike with deadly intent so it can be kill, destroy, murder, or put to death.

30 But the donkey said to Balaam, “Am I not your donkey, which you have ridden all your lifeCLXXIX to this day?CLXXX Have I been in the habitCLXXXI of treatingCLXXXII you this way?”CLXXXIII

And he said, “No.”

Notes on verse 30

CLXXIX “all…life” = od. Same as “once” in v15. See note XCII above.
CLXXX “day” = yom. Root may mean being hot. This is the day in a literal or figurative sense. It can also mean birth, age, daylight, continually or other references to time.
CLXXXI “been in the habit” = sakan + sakan. 12x in OT. This is being customary, of use, of acquainted with. The word is repeated twice – the first time as an Infinitive Absolute. The Infinitive Absolute serves to emphasize the sentiment of the word. It is rather like Foghorn Leghorn’s speech pattern, “I said, I said.”
CLXXXII “treating” = asah. Same as “done” in v2. See note XV above.
CLXXXIII “this way” = koh. Same as “thus” in v16. See note XCVII above.

31 Then the Lord openedCLXXXIV the eyesCLXXXV of Balaam, and he saw the angel of the Lord standingCLXXXVI in the road, with his drawn sword in his hand, and he bowed down,CLXXXVII fallingCLXXXVIII on his face.CLXXXIX 

Notes on verse 31

CLXXXIV “opened” = galah. This is to remove, bring, carry, lead, appear, advertise. It can mean to strip someone or something bare in a negative sense. Captives were typically stripped before they were sent into exile. Used figuratively, in a positive sense, this word means reveal, disclose, discover.
CLXXXV “eyes” = ayin. Same as “face” in v5. See note L above.
CLXXXVI “standing” = natsab. Same as “standing” in v23. See note CXLVI above.
CLXXXVII “bowed down” = qadad. 15x in OT. Properly, this means to shrivel up. So it is used for bowing one’s head, bowing down, or stooping. It can be used to show deference.
CLXXXVIII “falling” = shachah. This is to bow down, make a humble entreaty, to do homage to royalty or to God.
CLXXXIX “face” = aph. Same as “anger” in v22. See note CXXXVI above.

32 The angel of the Lord said to him, “Why have you struck your donkey these three times? CXCI have come out as an adversary because your way is perverseCXCI beforeCXCII me. 33 The donkey saw me and turned awayCXCIII from me these three times. IfCXCIV it had not turned awayCXCV from me, surely just now I would have killed you and let it live.”CXCVI 

Notes on verses 32-33

CXC {untranslated} = hinneh. Same as {untranslated} in v5. See note XLV above.
CXCI “is perverse” = yarat. 2x in OT. This is to toss, rush headlong, turn, be perverse.
CXCII “before” = neged. From nagad (to declare, make conspicuous, stand in front, manifest, predict, explain). This is in front of, opposite to. It can refer to a counterpart or partner, one corresponding to or in the sight of.
CXCIII {untranslated} = paneh. Same as {untranslated} in v3. See note XIX above.
CXCIV “if” = ulay. Same as “perhaps” in v6. See note LVIII above.
CXCV {untranslated} = paneh. Same as {untranslated} in v3. See note XIX above.
CXCVI “let…live” = chayah. This is to live or keep alive in a literal or figurative sense. So, it can be revive, nourish, or save.

34 Then Balaam said to the angel of the Lord, “I have sinned,CXCVII for I did not know that you were standingCXCVIII in the road to opposeCXCIX me. Now therefore, if it is displeasingCC to you,CCI I will return home.”CCII 

Notes on verse 34

CXCVII “sinned” = chata. This is properly to miss, and so figuratively it is used for sinning, bearing the blame. It implies a forfeiture or loss of something.
CXCVIII “standing” = natsab. Same as “standing” in v23. See note CXLVI above.
CXCIX “oppose” = qirah. From the same as qara (to happen, meet, bring about). This is any kind of encounter, whether peaceful, hostile, or incidental. It can also mean help or seek.
CC “displeasing” = ra’. From ra’a’ (to be evil, bad, afflict; properly, to spoil – to destroy by breaking into pieces; figuratively, to cause something to be worthless; this is bad in a physical, social, or moral sense; that which displeases, to do harm or mischief, to punish or vex). This is bad, disagreeable, that which causes pain, misery, something having little or no value, something that is ethically bad, wicked, injury, calamity. This refers to anything that is not what it ought to be – a natural disaster, a disfigurement, an injury, a sin.
CCI “to you” = ayin. Literally, “in your eyes.” Same as “face” in v5. See note L above.
CCII “return home” = shub. Same as “bring back” in v8. See note LXXII above.

35 The angel of the Lord said to Balaam, “GoCCIII with the men,CCIV but speak onlyCCV whatCCVI I tell you to speak.” So Balaam wentCCVII on with the officials of Balak.

Notes on verse 35

CCIII “go” = halak. Same as “come” in v6. See note LIV above.
CCIV “men” = ish. Same as “men” in v20. See note CXXVI above.
CCV “only” = ephes. From aphes (to finish, fail, stop, come to nothing, disappear). This is an end, ceasing, no further. It is often used to refer to the ends of the earth.
CCVI “what” = dabar. Same as “message” in v7. See note LXIX above.
CCVII “went” = halak. Same as “come” in v6. See note LIV above.

36 When Balak heardCCVIII that Balaam had come,CCIX he went out to meetCCX him at Ir-moab,CCXI

Notes on verse 36a

CCVIII “heard” = shama. This is to hear, call, consent, or consider. It implies listening intelligently, giving attention, and, because of these two factors, obedience and action are often implied.
CCIX “come” = bo. Same as “came” in v7. See note LXVII above.
CCX “meet” = qirah. Same as “oppose” in v34. See note CXCIX above.
CCXI “Ir-moab” = iyr + Moab. Iyr is from uwr (to awaken or wake oneself up). This can mean excitement in the sense of wakefulness or city. Properly, this is a place that is guarded. Guards kept schedules according to watches. This sense of the word would include cities as well as encampments or posts that were guarded. Moab is the same as “Moab” in v1. See note V above.

on the boundaryCCXII formed by the Arnon,CCXIII at the farthest pointCCXIV of the boundary. 

Notes on verse 36b

CCXII “boundary” = gebul. Perhaps from gabal (to border, twist like rope). This is boundary, limit, coast, space. Properly, it is a line that is twisted, which implies a boundary and, by extension, the boundaries of a territory or other enclosed space.
CCXIII “Arnon” = Arnon. From the same as Aran (Aran, a name that may mean “stridulous”); {perhaps from ranan (a cry of joy or a joyful song; properly, emitting a shrill sound, especially one of joy)} OR from aran (to be agile, to inspire cheerfulness). This is Arnon, a wadi and stream in Moab whose nae means “a roaring stream” or “a brawling stream” or “murmuring” or “roaring” or “cheering” or “agile.” See
CCXIV “farthest point” = qatseh. From qatsah (to cut off, cut short; figuratively, to destroy). This is end, brink, border, edge, frontier. It can refer to that which is within set boundaries.

37 Balak said to Balaam, “Did I not sendCCXV to summon you? Why did you not comeCCXVI to me?CCXVII Am I not able to honorCCXVIII you?” 

Notes on verse 37

CCXV “send” = shalach + shalach. Same as “sent” in v5. See note XXXV above. The word is repeated twice – the first time as an Infinitive Absolute. The Infinitive Absolute serves to emphasize the sentiment of the word. It is rather like Foghorn Leghorn’s speech pattern, “I said, I said.”
CCXVI “come” = halak. Same as “come” in v6. See note LIV above.
CCXVII {untranslated} = umnam. 5x in OT. From aman (to believe, endure, fulfill, confirm, support, be faithful, put one’s trust in, be steadfast; figuratively, to be firm, steadfast, or faithful, trusting, believing, being permanent, morally solid) OR from omnam (indeed, truly, no doubt); {from aman (see above)} OR from omen (faithfulness, truth); {from aman (see above)}. This is truly, really, or indeed. It shares a root with the word “amen.”
CCXVIII “honor” = kabad. Same as “more distinguished” in v15. See note XCV above.

38 Balaam said to Balak, “CCXIXI have comeCCXX to you now, but do I have powerCCXXI to sayCCXXII just anything?CCXXIII The word God putsCCXXIV in my mouth, that is what I must say.”CCXXV 

Notes on verse 38

CCXIX {untranslated} = hinneh. Same as {untranslated} in v5. See note XLV above.
CCXX “come” = bo. Same as “came” in v7. See note LXVII above.
CCXXI “have power” = yakol. Same as “be able” in v6. See note LIX above.
CCXXII “say” = dabar. Same as “gave” in v7. See note LXVIII above.
CCXXIII “anything” = kolmeumah. Kol is the same as “all” in v2. See note XIII above. Meumah is from the same as mum (defect – an ethical one or a literal bodily one). Its root may mean to stain. This can mean a speck or fault. More broadly, it can also refer to anything or nothing.
CCXXIV “puts” = sim. This is to put or place in a literal or figurative sense. It can be appoint, care, change, make, and may other things.
CCXXV “say” = dabar. Same as “gave” in v7. See note LXVIII above.

39 Then Balaam wentCCXXVI with Balak, and they cameCCXXVII to Kiriath-huzoth.CCXXVIII 

Notes on verse 39

CCXXVI “went” = halak. Same as “come” in v6. See note LIV above.
CCXXVII “came” = bo. Same as “came” in v7. See note LXVII above.
CCXXVIII “Kiriath-huzoth” = Qiryath Chutsoth. 1x in OT. From qiryah (city, building); from qarah (to happen, meet, bring about)} + chuts (may come from a word meaning to sever; something separated by a wall – the outside, the street, a field, highway, or abroad). This is Kiritah-huzoth or Qiryath Chosoth, meaning “city of streets” or “outer city.” See

40 Balak sacrificedCCXXIX oxenCCXXX and sheepCCXXXI and sent them to Balaam and to the officials who were with him.

41 CCXXXIIOn the next dayCCXXXIII

Notes on verses 40-41a

CCXXIX “sacrificed” = zabach. This is slaughtering an animal, generally for the purpose of sacrifice. It can mean kill or offer.
CCXXX “oxen” = baqar. Related to “morning” in v13. From baqar (see note LXXXVIII above). This is cattle – an animal used for plowing.
CCXXXI “sheep” = tson. This is a flock of sheep and goats.
CCXXXII {untranslated} = hayah. Related to “Lord” in v8. See note LXXIV above.
CCXXXIII “next day” = boqer. Same as “morning” in v13. See note LXXXVIII above.

Balak tookCCXXXIV Balaam and brought him upCCXXXV to Bamoth-baal,CCXXXVI and from there he could see partCCXXXVII of the people of Israel.

Notes on verse 41b

CCXXXIV “took” = laqach. This is to take, accept, carry away, receive. It can also have the sense of take a wife or take in marriage.
CCXXXV “brought…up” = alah. This is to go up, approach, ascend, be high, be a priority; to arise in a literal or figurative sense.
CCXXXVI “Bamoth-baal” = Bamoth. 4x in OT. From the same as bamah (root might mean being high; height, wave, or elevation) + Ba’al (Baal, literally “lord,” a Phoenician god); {from the same as baal (lord, owner, ally, or archer); from baal (to marry, have dominion, be master)}. This is Bamoth, meaning “high place” or “heights of Baal.”
CCXXXVII “part” = qatseh. Same as “farthest point” in v36. See note CCXIV above.

Image credit: “Donkey Rider” by August Macke, 1914.

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