Numbers 23:5

Numbers 22:39-23:12


1. The sacrifices. Balak and Balaam, however different their thoughts in other respects, were agreed as to the necessity of the sacrifices, if the desired curse were to be put in the prophet's mouth. And so there was abundance of sacrificing. Balak first makes spontaneous offerings, and then such as were specified by Balaam. They felt that God was not to be approached in an irregular way or with empty hands. As Balak thought of Balaam, so he thought of God. The prophet was to be bought with riches and honours, and God was to be bought with sacrifices of slain beasts. Here then is this common element in the practice of two men so different in other respects. It is in Aram and Moab alike. The tradition of Abel's accepted offering has come down far and wide, so that both men are found feeling that such sacrifices were in some way acceptable to God. But the faith and spirit of Abel could not be transmitted along with the knowledge of his outward act. These men did not understand that these sacrifices were worthless in themselves. God is a Spirit, and cannot eat the flesh of bulls and drink the blood of goats. Shedding of blood was for the remission of sins, and these men neither felt sin, confessed it, nor desired the removal of it.

2. The sight of the people to be cursed. The king took the prophet into the high places of Baal, that he might see the utmost part of the people. Very likely Balak himself had not seldom stood there, and gone down again each time more alarmed than ever. Balaam must now see these dreadful people, to satisfy himself that it was neither a trifling nor a needless work he had been called to do; to see how close at hand they were, and to be impressed with the necessity of making the curse potent, speedy, and sure. Added to which, Balak probably believed that, for the curse to operate, Balaam's eyes must rest on the people. Lane in his 'Modern Egyptians' tells us how dreaded is the evil eye. Here then Balaam looked on these people in something of their wide extent. What an opportunity for better thoughts if the spirit that brings them had been in his heart! How he might have said, "Have I been called then to blast this mighty host, who have now lain so long in such close neighbourhood to Balak, yet harmed him not?"

3. The prophet has his own special preparations. While Balak attends to the sacrifices, Balaam retires to his secret enchantments (Numbers 24:1) in some high, solitary place. God did choose that his servants should go into such places to meet with him alone, but how differently Balaam looks here from Moses going up into Sinai, or Elijah when he went his day's journey into the wilderness, or Ezekiel when he heard the Lord say, "Arise, go forth into the plain, and I will there talk to thee" (Ezekiel 3:22); above all, from Jesus, in those solitary, refreshing, blessed hours of which we have some hints in the Gospels! How far this retirement was sincere, how far it was meant to deceive Balak, and how far it was mere habit, we cannot tell. The conscience that is welt-nigh dead to practical righteousness, to justice, compassion, and truth, may yet be in an everlasting fidget with superstitious fear.


1. To Balaam. The whole of what happened may not have been unexpected. The meeting with God he certainly would be prepared for. He had met with God only too often of late, and not at all to his peace of mind and the furtherance of his wishes. We may conclude that God allowed him to go through with his enchantments, else he would hardly have gone to repeat them a second time (cf. Numbers 23:15 and Numbers 24:1). And perhaps the very fact that there was no interruption to his enchantments may have lifted his mind in hope that God was at last going to be propitious. If so it was but higher exaltation in order to deeper abasement. God meets with him, puts a word in his mouth, and commands him thus to speak with Balak. Are we to understand that by having the word put into his mouth, Balaam there and then had all the prophecy clearly before his mind, so that he could consider every word he had presently to utter? Possibly so. And it is possible also that as he went back to Balak he considered how he could trim this prophecy, as previously he had trimmed the commands of God. And now comes something for which, with all his assertions of only being able to speak the word God put in his mouth, Balaam was probably quite unprepared. He gets no chance of exerting his skill to trim and soften down unacceptable words. God assumes per-feet control of those rebellious, lying lips. God, who opened the mouth of an ass and made it utter human speech, now opens the mouth of one whose heart was ready to deceive and curse, and makes that mouth to utter truth and blessing.

2. To Balak. The words of the prophecy must have been utterly unexpected by him. He had counted with all confidence on getting what he wanted. Not a shadow of doubt had crossed his mind as to Balaam's power to curse and his own power to buy that power. Hardly a more impressive instance could be found of a man given over to strong delusion, to believe a lie. Counting on the curse as both attainable and efficacious, he now finds to his amazement, horror, and perplexity that Balaam cannot even speak the words of cursing; for doubtless when the Lord took possession of Balaam's mouth he took possession also of eyes, expression, tone, gesture, so that there would be no incongruity between the words and the way in which they were uttered.


1. A clear statement of how these two men come to be standing together. Balak brings Balaam all this long way in order to curse Jacob and defy Israel. The object of all these messages and these smoking sacrifices is stated in naked and brief simplicity. There is no reference to motives, inducements, difficulties. The simple historical fact is given without any note or comment; the request of Balaam mentioned, in order that it may be clearly contrasted with the reason why it is refused.

2. Balaam is forced into a humiliating confession. What he had so long concealed, as dangerous to his reputation, he must now publish from the high places of Baal. And notice that he confines himself to saying that the required curse and defiance are impracticable. No more is put into his mouth than he is able truthfully to say. Glorious as this prophecy is, one might imagine it being made more glorious still by the mingling with it of a penitent, candid confession of wrong-doing. He might have said, "Balak hath brought me," &c., and surely God would not have sealed his lips if it had been in his heart to add, "I bitterly repent that I came." He might have said, "How can I curse whom God hath not cursed? and indeed I discovered this long ago, but pride and policy kept the discovery confined within my own breast." And so we see how, while God kept Bahrain from uttering falsehood, and forced him to utter sufficient truth, yet Balaam the man remained the same. He says no more than he is obliged to say, but it is quite enough; with his own lips he publishes his incapacity to the world.

3. The very place of speaking becomes subservient to the purpose of God. We may presume that Balak well knew he was taking Balaam to the most favourable view-point. It was thought to be the best place for cursing, and from what Balaam now sees and says it would seem to be a very fit place for blessing.

4. And now, as Balaam looks from the top of the rocks and from the hills, what does he see? He may have been struck even already, and at that distance, and before he began the prophecy, with the outward peculiarities of Israel. Some peculiarities of Israel could only be known by a close and detailed inspection; others, e.g., the arrangement of the camp around the tabernacle, were best known by a sort of bird's-eye view. An intimate knowledge of London is only to be gained by going from street to street and building to building, but one thus gaining a very intimate knowledge of London would yet be without such an impression of it as is to be got from the top of St. Paul's. As Balaam looks down from the tops of the rocks he sees enough for the present purposes of God. He sees enough to indicate the separation and the vast numerical force of Israel. It was not needful here to speak of more. The immediate purpose of the prophecy was served if it deterred Balak from further folly. A great deal more might have been said of Israel, and was said afterwards. In one sense this was an introductory prophecy, followed up by fuller revelations in later ones; in another sense it stands by itself. The others would not have been spoken if the first had proved sufficient. Passing over the concluding wish of Balaam, "Let me die the death of the righteous, and let my last end be like his!" which demands to be considered by itself, we note -

5. The state of suspense in which the prophecy leaves Balak as to his own position. It would have been so easy to introduce a reassuring word - one which, if it did not actually take away Balak's alarm, would at all events have been fitted to do so. But the king's request had something so peremptory and dictatorial about it that God's answer is confined to a refusal. He might have explained that Israel was now busy with its own internal affairs, and would soon, according to his purpose, cross Jordan, and that in the mean time, if Balak would show himself friendly, there was nothing in Israel to make it his foe. But Balak had so acted that the great thing to be done was to impress him with a deep sense of the strength and security of Israel. If we prefer unreasonable and arrogant requests, we must expect to receive answers which, if we were uneasy before, will leave us more uneasy still. God must go on speaking and acting so as to shake the ground under all selfishness. - Y.

How shall I curse, whom God hath not cursed?
Balaam's declaration of the happiness of Israel sets forth the blessedness of the people of God.


II. IT CONSISTS IN THEIR SEPARATION FROM THE UNGODLY. In three respects were the Israelites separated from other nations.

1. Politically they were independent of them.

2. Morally they were separated from them.

3. By the possession of peculiar privileges they were separated from them.


1. Unlimited as regards time.

2. Unlimited as regards place.

3. Unlimited as regards race or class.



(W. Jones.)

1. He pronounceth them safe, and out of the reach of his envenomed darts.(1) He owns the design was to curse them (ver 7).(2) He owns the design defeated, and his own inability to accomplish it. He could not so much as give them an ill word or an ill wish (ver. 8).(a) The weakness and impotency of his magic skill, for which others valued him so much, and doubtless he valued himself no less. He was the most celebrated man of that profession, and yet owns himself baffled. God had warned the Israelites not to use divination (Leviticus 19:31), and this providence gave them a reason for that law by showing them the weakness and folly of it. As they had seen the magicians of Egypt befooled, so here the great conjuror of the East (Isaiah 47:12, 13, 14).(b) It is a confession of the sovereignty and dominion of the Divine power. He owns that he could do no more than God would suffer him to do; for God could overrule all his purposes and turn his counsels headlong.(c) It is a confession of the inviolable security of the people of God.Note —

1. God's Israel are owned and blessed of Him. He has not cursed them, for they are delivered from the curse of the law; He has not abandoned them, though mean and vile.

2. Those that have the good-will of heaven have the ill-will of hell; the serpent and his seed have an enmity to them.

3. Though the enemies of God's people may prevail far against them, yet they cannot curse them: that is, they cannot do them any real mischief, much less a ruining mischief, for they cannot separate them from the love of God (Romans 8:39).

2. He pronounceth them happy — in three things.(1) Happy in their peculiarity, and distinction from the rest of the nations (ver. 9). It is the duty and honour of those that are dedicated to God to be separated from the world, and not to walk according to the course of it. Those who make conscience of peculiar duties may take the comfort of peculiar privileges, which it is likely Balaam has an eye to here; God's Israel shall not stand upon a level with other nations, but be dignified above them all, as a people near to God and set apart for Him.(2) Happy in their numbers; not so few and despicable as they were represented to Him, but an innumerable company which made them both honourable and formidable (ver. 10). Balak would have him see the utmost part of the people (Numbers 22:41), hoping the more he saw of them the more would he be exasperated against them, and throw out his curses with the more keenness and rage; but it proved quite contrary; instead of being angry at their numbers he admired them. The better we are acquainted with God's people the better opinion we have of them. He takes notice of the number —(a) Of the dust of Jacob, i.e., the people of Jacob, concerning whom it was foretold that they should be as the dust for number (Genesis 28:14). Thus he owns the fulfilling of the promise made to the fathers, and expects that it should be yet further accomplished.(b) Of the fourth part of Israel; alluding to the form of their camp which was cast into four squadrons under four standards. Note, God's Israel is a very great body; His spiritual Israel is so, and they will appear to be so, when they shall all be gathered together unto Him in the great day (Revelation 7:9).(3) Happy in their last end. Let me die the death of the righteous Israelites, that are in covenant with God, and let my last end, or future state, be like theirs, or my recompense, viz., in the other world. Here —(a) It is taken for granted that death is the end of all men; the righteous themselves must die; and it is good for each of us to think of this with application, as Balaam himself doth here, speaking of his own death.(b) He goes upon the supposition of the soul's immortality, and a different state on the other side death, to which this is a noble testimony, and an evidence of its being anciently known and believed. For how could the death of the righteous be more desirable than the death of the wicked upon any other account, but that of a happiness in another world, since in the manner and circumstances of dying we see all things come alike to all?(c) He pronounceth the righteous truly blessed, not only while they live, but when they die; which makes their death not only more desirable than the death of others, but even more desirable than life itself; for in that sense his wish may be taken. Not only when I do die, let me die the death of the righteous; but I could even now be willing to die, on that condition that I might die the death of the righteous and take my end this moment provided it might be like his.

( Matthew Henry, D. D..)


1. "How shall I curse, whom God hath not cursed?" This supposes that God had blessed Israel. To be blessed of the Lord is all that a man can desire. But who are they that are blessed of God?(1) They on whom God has set His love; not for anything in them to merit that love.(2) When that solemn engagement was entered into, the Book of Eternal Life was written, and the names of those ordained to it written therein.

2. "How shall I defy, whom the Lord hath not defied?" The idea refers to warfare (1 Samuel 17:45). God's spiritual Israel, whose names are in the Book of Life, are they whom God hath not defied, that is, He hath made them more than conquerors through Him that loved them. And, in order to see this, we must look upon them as being in Christ, their Covenant Head, from all eternity. So that, just as He came off more than conqueror over all His spiritual foes, so shall they.


1. "For from the top of the rocks I see him." We may regard God as saying this of His people, chosen in Christ.(1) There is the rock of the everlasting covenant. He sees them not as sinful. He sees not perverseness in them, but He sees them accepted in the Beloved, and made complete in Him.(2) There is the rock of sovereign grace.(3) There is the rock of God's faithfulness.

2. From the hills I behold him.(1) God's eternity.(2) God's uuchangeableness.

III. THE DISTINCTIVENESS OF ISRAEL FROM THE WORLD. "Lo, the people shall dwell alone," &c. God's regenerated blood-bought people, as a spiritual fact, live alone. True, they are in the world, perform its duties, and are reckoned among the nations, but they are not of the world (John 15:19). As soon as God calls them in His grace, puts His Spirit in them, and makes them new creatures in Christ Jesus, from that time they may be said to live alone. For, let a regenerated person live in the same house in which are a number of unregenerate persons, his own relatives, he lives alone, for he has desires and feelings and spiritual sympathies different from theirs. His dwelling-place is on high; he walks with God in the light of the living; the Spirit of God draws his affections upwards, so that he may be said to live alone, so far as outward society goes. Yet he is not alone, for he has the presence of God with him.

(J. J. Eastmead.)

The people shall dwell alone.

1. Travellers have related that the deep red waters of the Rhone, flowing into the Lake of Geneva, may afterwards be traced for miles and miles; the dark, turbid stream of the river still refusing to mingle with the clear waters of the lake. And thus it is, and ever has been, with the Jews. Like that river they have in every age continued a distinct people, and this too amidst circumstances which, it might have been thought, must have inevitably broken down every middle wall of partition between them and others.

2. And there is yet another consideration. It is without a parallel in the history of the world. In every case where even the most discordant elements have been thrown together, they have imperceptibly blended in the course of ages.


1. There is a national use to be made of this prediction of Balaam. What is literally true of Israel is spiritually true of England. We, as a people, may be said to be "dwelling alone." In regard to our mercies, our privileges, and our blessings, how much have we received above all other people under heaven! No slavery tolerated amongst us — law for the poorest — protection for the weakest, and the homes of England bright and happy — such as are found nowhere else. And above all the rest, the greatness of our religious privileges.

2. But, from the national, let us turn to the individual application of the prophecy. Let us admonish you that there is an important sense in which every Christian must "dwell alone." You cannot follow Christ and yet be like other men.

(H. Hutton, M. A.)

This text is a prophecy, and hath more steps towards its accomplishment than one. The prosperity and distinction of a far more illustrious family than the house of Israel are intended here: While, therefore, the literal Israel are the type, the prophecy is to be applied to the saints of God in every age as the antitype.

I. SPECIFY SOME CIRCUMSTANCES IN THE HISTORY OF ISRAEL, STRONGLY TYPICAL OF THE PEOPLE OF GOD IN ALL AGES. In this view, the history of Israel becomes an instructive emblem of the original state, deliverance, pilgrimage, and happy rest of the ransomed of the Lord.

II. SPECIFY SOME OF THE PECULIARITIES WHICH DISTINGUISH THEM FROM THE REST OF THE WORLD. My text represents them as a distinct incorporated society. They are a people — a people dwelling — a people dwelling alone — and a people who shall not be reckoned among the nations. They are a distinct people, as to their extraction, as to their language, as to their privileges, as to their objects of pursuit, as to their manners, as to their allies, as to their sorrows, and as to their joys.

III. POINT OUT WHENCE IT IS THAT THE REDEEMED OF THE LORD ARE SUCH A SINGULAR PEOPLE. "They shall not be reckoned among the nations." Literally has this prediction been accomplished in the history of the posterity of Jacob. Understanding the prediction in relation to God's redeemed people, I have these four particulars to adduce, in accounting for this singularity. They are not reckoned among the nations.

1. Because they were ordained to this distinction in the electing purpose.

2. Because they were consecrated to this singularity by the blood of the Surety.

3. Because they are disposed by the grace of God to choose this distinction for themselves.

4. Because natural men possess no inclination to submit to their restrictions. Upon a review of all that has been said do not you perceive —(1) That regeneration, or the new birth, produces an immense change at once upon the nature, the state, the temper, and manners of men? They keep themselves "unspotted from the world," by "walking in the fear of the Lord."(2) See the reality, as well as importance, of the distinction between the Church and the world.

(W. Taylor.)

How awful is the contrast in this history between the mind of God and the designs and wishes of man! And I am disposed to think that such a reference will lead us to the conclusion that the conduct of men in all ages has borne a resemblance to that of the king of Moab in this particular instance; and that the people whom God has especially distinguished and blessed has been singularly the object of the contempt or cruelty of man.


1. And here it is scarcely necessary to observe that the persecution of the Jews on their journey to the promised land was not confined to the instance recorded in the text. The Egyptian persecution, for instance, has scarcely any parallel in history.

2. But let us pass on to another period. It pleased God, in a most singular manner, to stir up the mind of Cyrus to rebuild the temple of Jerusalem. But no sooner was the merciful design developed, than the hostility of man discovered itself. The books in which the history of the rebuilding of the temple is recorded, describe a succession of the most criminal plots to resist its progress.

3. Thus, also, at a third period. No epoch is more distinguished by the merciful designs of God in favour of the Jews than the time of our Lord's appearance upon earth. One of the highest evidences of the favour of God, is the gift or increase of the means of religious instruction. Consider, then, the peculiar privileges of the Jews at the coming of Christ. But how were they regarded by the inhabitants of the world? They were neglected, and they were oppressed. They were enslaved by the Romans, and every species of indignity was inflicted upon them.

4. But let us now come to a fourth period, viz., to our own days. And here it is necessary to observe that, notwithstanding the continued unbelief of the Jews, the merciful intentions of God towards His prostrate people are as obvious now as at any other period of their history. They are indeed fallen, but is the patience of God therefore towards them exhausted — has He no mercies in store for them — does He mean to leave them in the dust? Such is the design of God with regard to the people of Israel, which is revealed to ourselves. And now let us contrast it with the conduct of mankind. Consider, then, the contempt in which the Jews are almost universally held. Is not the word Jew a name almost of execration among many? But can such a feeling be made to harmonise with the designs of God? Can the voice of insult have any concord with the lofty and triumphant songs and triumphs of prophecy?


1. Some persons attempt to vindicate their neglect of the Jews by a reference to the crimes of this people in the earlier stage of their history. But then, are we to be the administrators of Divine vengeance? Are we, by a sort of posthumous retribution, to visit the crimes of other ages upon the people of this?

2. A second reason for this neglect of the Jews is founded upon the defects of their present character. Can a people such as these merit any public regard? Are they not stamped with all the features most offensive to God and to good men? These also are facts not to be disputed. Their rejection of Christ has brought with it a train of the most tremendous curses: His "blood" has been and is "upon them and upon their children." Their moral defects spring from their religious defects. They want honesty, because they are ignorant of Christ. They want purity, because they have never been led to the fountain which "cleanseth from all sin." Give them, under God, a knowledge of their Saviour, and you shall see the graces of Christianity bursting upon the barren soil, the water rushing from the rock, and the wilderness blossoming like the rose.

3. Again, a third class of objectors say, "Why not leave the Jews as you find them? It is inhuman to disturb their repose, and introduce faction among them." To this I answer, If the conduct of the friends of this society is intolerant, it is the intolerance of Heaven: it is the intolerance of the "good Shepherd who laid down His life for the sheep."

4. A fourth class of objectors have said, "You take upon yourselves to be, not only the interpreters, but the agents and executors of prophecy. Because God has predicted that the Jews are to be restored, you assume that He means you to be the administrators of His plans." — We answer, no; we are not following the voice of prophecy, which may apply to others as well as to ourselves: we are obeying the command of God, which must apply to ourselves in common with all Christians.

5. Again, it has been said by some, "We discover no particular encouragement to undertake the conversion of the Jews at the present moment, either in the circumstances of our own country, or in those of the world in general." To this I reply, that I do discover such encouragement. I discover it in the dislocation of the Mahometan power, which has always been the grand political barrier to Jewish restoration. I discover it in the fact that many of the Jews themselves entertain the same opinion. I discover it in the remarkable circumstance, which appears to be well authenticated, of many Jews having manifested of late a singular disposition to migrate to their own land. I hear again the voice of Him, who condescended to spring from a Jewish mother, and to dwell upon its favoured soil, calling upon us to teach all nations, "beginning at Jerusalem." "The age of chivalry is gone." And God be praised that it is, if by that term is designated the unnatural combinations of pious zeal and fiery ambition, by which the Crusaders were characterised. But, thank God, the age of Christian zeal is not gone. And to that zeal I would now present an adequate, a sublime, a most interesting object. It is before men inflamed by this holy ambition I would lift up the banner of the Cross. Oh, remember that even now "the gates of the daughter of Zion lament and mourn, and that she, being desolate, sits on the ground."

(J. W. Cunningham, M. A.)


1. He saw the pleasant tent-life of the people. Reposing peacefully on the strong arm of the Lord. Every truly good man's life is an illustration.

2. He saw the shadow of Israel's impending victory.

3. He saw Israel's most savage foe, Balak, chained to his lair.


1. He believed in death, aye, in two sorts of death; he puts the death of the righteous over against the death of the wicked, though he makes no mention of the latter.

2. He believed that the death of the righteous was always desirable.

(W. V. Young.)

So from these desert lands, and these desert hills, we gaze upon the Church on her way to Canaan, about to be settled in the blessed land and holy city. And when we gaze, what do we see?

I. THE RUGGEDNESS OF THE LAND OF OUR PRESENT SOJOURN. It is the region of hostility as well as barrenness. This is not our rest. These dark mountains are not our home.

II. THE GLORIOUS LAND. Afar off just now, but still visible, still beautiful. It is the paradise of God; it is the new Jerusalem; the city which hath foundations; the new heavens and new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness.

III. A PEOPLE DELIVERED FROM A PRESENT EVIL WORLD. Once in bondage, now free; once groaning under oppression, now in the service of a heavenly Master, and heirs of the world to come; the Red Sea crossed, and now between them and their persecutors an iron wall. Forgiven and redeemed; with their backs on Egypt, and their faces to Jerusalem.

IV. A PEOPLE SUSTAINED BY JEHOVAH HIMSELF. Theirs is the hidden manna, the water from the smitten rock. Jehovah feeds them; Jehovah gives them the living water. It is not man but God who cares for them.

V. A PILGRIM BAND. They are strangers on the earth; this is not their home; here is not their city. Their loins are girt, and their staff is in their hand, and they are hastening onward. No sitting down; no taking ease; no folding of their hands. Forward, still forward, is their watchword!

VI. A PEOPLE BOUGHT WITH A PRICE. Their ransom has been blood; and they are not their own. Another life has gone for theirs.

VII. A PEOPLE LOVED WITH AN INFINITE LOVE. The banner that is over them is love. The song they sing is love, "Unto Him that loved us." It is a love which passeth knowledge; a love without bound or end; a love eternal and Divine.


(H. Bonar, D. D.)

Aram, Balaam, Balak, Jacob, Moses, Zippor
Aram, Bamoth-baal, Egypt, Moab, Peor, Pisgah
Balaam, Balaam's, Balak, Message, Mouth, Putteth, Return, Speak, Thus, Turn
1. Balak's sacrifices

Dictionary of Bible Themes
Numbers 23:5

     1443   revelation, OT

Numbers 23:3-8

     8129   guidance, examples

Numbers 23:3-12

     1421   oracles

An Unfulfilled Desire
'... Let me die the death of the righteous, and let my last end be like his!'--NUM. xxiii. 10. '... Balaam also the son of Beor they slew with the sword.'--NUM. xiii. 8. Ponder these two pictures. Take the first scene. A prophet, who knows God and His will, is standing on the mountain top, and as he looks down over the valley beneath him, with its acacia-trees and swift river, there spread the tents of Israel. He sees them, and knows that they are 'a people whom the Lord hath blessed.' Brought there
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture

Philo of Alexandria, the Rabbis, and the Gospels - the Final Development of Hellenism in Its Relation to Rabbinism and the Gospel According to St. John.
It is strange how little we know of the personal history of the greatest of uninspired Jewish writers of old, though he occupied so prominent a position in his time. [173] Philo was born in Alexandria, about the year 20 before Christ. He was a descendant of Aaron, and belonged to one of the wealthiest and most influential families among the Jewish merchant-princes of Egypt. His brother was the political head of that community in Alexandria, and he himself on one occasion represented his co-religionists,
Alfred Edersheim—The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah

Balaam's Wish Num 23:10

John Newton—Olney Hymns

The Night of Miracles on the Lake of Gennesaret
THE last question of the Baptist, spoken in public, had been: Art Thou the Coming One, or look we for another?' It had, in part, been answered, as the murmur had passed through the ranks: This One is truly the Prophet, the Coming One!' So, then, they had no longer to wait, nor to look for another! And this Prophet' was Israel's long expected Messiah. What this would imply to the people, in the intensity and longing of the great hope which, for centuries, nay, far beyond the time of Ezra, had swayed
Alfred Edersheim—The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah

The Nature of Spiritual Hunger
Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness Matthew 5:6 We are now come to the fourth step of blessedness: Blessed are they that hunger'. The words fall into two parts: a duty implied; a promise annexed. A duty implied: Blessed are they that hunger'. Spiritual hunger is a blessed hunger. What is meant by hunger? Hunger is put for desire (Isaiah 26:9). Spiritual hunger is the rational appetite whereby the soul pants after that which it apprehends most suitable and proportional
Thomas Watson—The Beatitudes: An Exposition of Matthew 5:1-12

Memoir of John Bunyan
THE FIRST PERIOD. THIS GREAT MAN DESCENDED FROM IGNOBLE PARENTS--BORN IN POVERTY--HIS EDUCATION AND EVIL HABITS--FOLLOWS HIS FATHER'S BUSINESS AS A BRAZIER--ENLISTS FOR A SOLDIER--RETURNS FROM THE WARS AND OBTAINS AN AMIABLE, RELIGIOUS WIFE--HER DOWER. 'We have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.'--2 Cor 4:7 'For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord.'--Isaiah 55:8. 'Though ye have lien among the
John Bunyan—The Works of John Bunyan Volumes 1-3

How those are to be Admonished who Abstain not from the Sins which they Bewail, and those Who, Abstaining from Them, Bewail them Not.
(Admonition 31.) Differently to be admonished are those who lament their transgressions, and yet forsake them not, and those who forsake them, and yet lament them not. For those who lament their transgressions and yet forsake them not are to be admonished to learn to consider anxiously that they cleanse themselves in vain by their weeping, if they wickedly defile themselves in their living, seeing that the end for which they wash themselves in tears is that, when clean, they may return to filth.
Leo the Great—Writings of Leo the Great

Fragrant Spices from the Mountains of Myrrh. "Thou Art all Fair, My Love; There is no Spot in Thee. " --Song of Solomon iv. 7.
FRAGRANT SPICES FROM THE MOUNTAINS OF MYRRH. HOW marvellous are these words! "Thou art all fair, My love; there is no spot in thee." The glorious Bridegroom is charmed with His spouse, and sings soft canticles of admiration. When the bride extols her Lord there is no wonder, for He deserves it well, and in Him there is room for praise without possibility of flattery. But does He who is wiser than Solomon condescend to praise this sunburnt Shulamite? Tis even so, for these are His own words, and were
Charles Hadden Spurgeon—Till He Come

Grace Abounding to the Chief of Sinners Or, a Brief Relation of the Exceeding Mercy of God in Christ, to his Poor Servant, John Bunyan
In this my relation of the merciful working of God upon my soul, it will not be amiss, if in the first place, I do in a few words give you a hint of my pedigree, and manner of bringing up; that thereby the goodness and bounty of God towards me, may be the more advanced and magnified before the sons of men. 2. For my descent then, it was, as is well known by many, of a low and inconsiderable generation; my father's house being of that rank that is meanest, and most despised of all the families in
John Bunyan—Grace Abounding to the Chief of Sinners

Christ a Complete Saviour:
OR, THE INTERCESSION OF CHRIST, AND WHO ARE PRIVILEGED IN IT. BY JOHN BUNYAN Advertisement by the Editor. However strange it may appear, it is a solemn fact, that the heart of man, unless prepared by a sense of the exceeding sinfulness of sin, rejects Christ as a complete Saviour. The pride of human nature will not suffer it to fall, as helpless and utterly undone, into the arms of Divine mercy. Man prefers a partial Saviour; one who had done so much, that, with the sinner's aid, the work might be
John Bunyan—The Works of John Bunyan Volumes 1-3

Of the Decrees of God.
Eph. i. 11.--"Who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will."--Job xxiii. 13. "He is in one mind, and who can turn him? and what his soul desireth, even that he doeth." Having spoken something before of God, in his nature and being and properties, we come, in the next place, to consider his glorious majesty, as he stands in some nearer relation to his creatures, the work of his hands. For we must conceive the first rise of all things in the world to be in this self-being, the first conception
Hugh Binning—The Works of the Rev. Hugh Binning

The Heavenly Footman; Or, a Description of the Man that Gets to Heaven:
TOGETHER WITH THE WAY HE RUNS IN, THE MARKS HE GOES BY; ALSO, SOME DIRECTIONS HOW TO RUN SO AS TO OBTAIN. 'And it came to pass, when they had brought them forth abroad, that he said, Escape for thy life; look not behind thee, neither stay thou in all the plain: escape to the mountain, lest thou be consumed.'--Genesis 19:17. London: Printed for John Marshall, at the Bible in Gracechurch Street, 1698. ADVERTISEMENT BY THE EDITOR. About forty years ago a gentleman, in whose company I had commenced my
John Bunyan—The Works of John Bunyan Volumes 1-3

The Desire of the Righteous Granted;
OR, A DISCOURSE OF THE RIGHTEOUS MAN'S DESIRES. ADVERTISEMENT BY THE EDITOR As the tree is known by its fruit, so is the state of a man's heart known by his desires. The desires of the righteous are the touchstone or standard of Christian sincerity--the evidence of the new birth--the spiritual barometer of faith and grace--and the springs of obedience. Christ and him crucified is the ground of all our hopes--the foundation upon which all our desires after God and holiness are built--and the root
John Bunyan—The Works of John Bunyan Volumes 1-3

Thirdly, for Thy Actions.
1. Do no evil, though thou mightest; for God will not suffer the least sin, without bitter repentance, to escape unpunished. Leave not undone any good that thou canst. But do nothing without a calling, nor anything in thy calling, till thou hast first taken counsel at God's word (1 Sam. xxx. 8) of its lawfulness, and pray for his blessings upon thy endeavour; and then do it in the name of God, with cheerfulness of heart, committing the success to him, in whose power it is to bless with his grace
Lewis Bayly—The Practice of Piety

The Unchangeableness of God
The next attribute is God's unchangeableness. I am Jehovah, I change not.' Mal 3:3. I. God is unchangeable in his nature. II. In his decree. I. Unchangeable in his nature. 1. There is no eclipse of his brightness. 2. No period put to his being. [1] No eclipse of his brightness. His essence shines with a fixed lustre. With whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.' James 1:17. Thou art the same.' Psa 102:27. All created things are full of vicissitudes. Princes and emperors are subject to
Thomas Watson—A Body of Divinity

Like the last part of Exodus, and the whole of Leviticus, the first part of Numbers, i.-x. 28--so called,[1] rather inappropriately, from the census in i., iii., (iv.), xxvi.--is unmistakably priestly in its interests and language. Beginning with a census of the men of war (i.) and the order of the camp (ii.), it devotes specific attention to the Levites, their numbers and duties (iii., iv.). Then follow laws for the exclusion of the unclean, v. 1-4, for determining the manner and amount of restitution
John Edgar McFadyen—Introduction to the Old Testament

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