Joshua and Judges: Push to the Promised Land: God sanctifies and increases His people - Balaam, part 7. Num 23:9-10.

Class Outline:

Title: Joshua and Judges: Push to the Promised Land: God sanctifies and increases His people - Balaam, part 7. NUM 23:9-10.  


Announcements/opening prayer:


NUM 23:9"As I see him from the top of the rocks,

And I look at him from the hills;

Behold, a people who dwells apart,

And shall not be reckoned among the nations.


Historically, The OT traces the  history of the Jews from Abraham to the return of the exiles from Babylonian captivity. During this period, Israel was God's "peculiar people" [KJV].


Prophetically, the prophets proclaimed both the judgment of Israel and their restoration, for the apostasy of Israel was not yet final, because in the prophetic future God would bring about a revival among the people so that they would turn in repentance and obedience to Him. This national salvation of Israel will in turn lead to a national restoration in peace and prosperity to inherit the land.


DEU 14:2

For you are a holy people to the Lord your God; and the Lord has chosen you to be a people for His own possession out of all the peoples who are on the face of the earth.


The believer must understand that there is a difference between the election of Israel as a nation and the election of the Church.


Election of Israel - a national election setting the Jewish nation apart from all others. This does not guarantee the salvation of the individual Jew; it only guarantees the survival of the nation as a nation.


Covenant theology tends to interpret every usage of the word "elect" in the Bible to be of salvation and so views it as a reference to the Church. The dispensationalist sees the election of Israel and the Church as two different elections.


Because of the election of Israel, Jehovah selects, preserves, and defends this one people in a way that is not true of any other nation. This has been proven beyond a doubt by history. It is because of this election that the Jews are the chosen people. Because of this election, the other nations must eventually take a subordinate place, and in the Messianic Kingdom all nations or peoples that will not serve Israel will perish. No true interpretation of the OT is possible if the fact of Israel's national, sacred, eternal election be rejected.


Jews were Jews because of the fact that they were born into covenant relations with God by a physical birth, though not to all of Abraham's descendants, but only through Isaac and Jacob.


Election of the Church - an individual election including both Jews and Gentiles who have believed in Jesus Christ as their Savior. This election is to God's highest and best that can be graciously given to any creature.


Every Jew in the OT would fall under the election of Israel, but an individual Jew could reject the promises of God and, in essence, toss away his election. The Jew who believed God was saved and enjoyed all the fruits that saved Israel would enjoy in time and for eternity. The believing Jew would see and be a part of, in the far future, the complete fulfillment of all the covenant promises of Jehovah to Israel.


When Balaam states "a people who dwells apart," he is referring to the election of Israel.


NUM 23:10 "Who can count the dust of Jacob,

Or number the fourth part of Israel?

Let me die the death of the upright,

And let my end be like his!"


In this state of separation from the other nations, Israel rejoiced in the blessing of its God, which was already visible in the innumerable multitude into which it had grown. Who has ever determined the dust of Jacob? As the dust cannot be numbered, so is the multitude of Israel innumerable.


These words point back to the promise of God to Abraham.


GEN 13:16

And I will make your descendants as the dust of the earth; so that if anyone can number the dust of the earth, then your descendants can also be numbered.


GEN 22:17

indeed I will greatly bless you, and I will greatly multiply your seed as the stars of the heavens, and as the sand which is on the seashore; and your seed shall possess the gate of their enemies.


Moses states in his farewell message:


DEU 10:22

Your fathers went down to Egypt seventy persons in all, and now the Lord your God has made you as numerous as the stars of heaven.


This is after the death of the whole first generation.


Balaam speaks of the fourth part with reference to the division of the nation into four camps, of which he could see only one from his point of view.


NUM 23:10 "Who can count the dust of Jacob,

Or number the fourth part of Israel?

Let me die the death of the upright,

And let my end be like his!"


They are called upright or righteous because they had a God who was just and right, a God of truth and without iniquity.


DEU 32:4

"The Rock! His work is perfect,

For all His ways are just;

A God of faithfulness and without injustice,

Righteous and upright is He.


The God of Israel was holy, and sanctified His people


LEV 20:7-8

'You shall consecrate yourselves therefore and be holy, for I am the Lord your God. 'And you shall keep My statutes and practice them; I am the Lord who sanctifies you.


EXO 31:13

"But as for you, speak to the sons of Israel, saying, 'You shall surely observe My sabbaths; for this is a sign between Me and you throughout your generations, that you may know that I am the Lord who sanctifies you.


God made them into a Jeshurun, meaning "upright" or "to be straight." He gave them this name.


DEU 32:15

"But Jeshurun grew fat and kicked-

You are grown fat, thick, and sleek-

Then he forsook God who made him,

And scorned the Rock of his salvation.


DEU 33:5

"And He was king in Jeshurun,

When the heads of the people were gathered,

The tribes of Israel together.


DEU 33:26

"There is none like the God of Jeshurun,

Who rides the heavens to your help,

And through the skies in His majesty.


The three passages in Deuteronomy speak of Israel's rebellion against their divine king and of His hastening through the skies to help Jeshurun.


ISA 44:2

Thus says the Lord who made you

And formed you from the womb, who will help you,'

Do not fear, O Jacob My servant;

And you Jeshurun whom I have chosen.


The names Jacob, the deceiver, may be contrasted here with Jeshurun, the righteous, just as his name is contrasted with his new name, "Israel", prince with God.


It declares God's miraculous power in providing all of Israel's needs, both physically and spiritually.


Righteousness is the gift to this people and her destination, which has never entirely lost it, though it has, of yet, never fully realized it.


Even in times of general apostasy from the Lord, there was always a remnant of positive volition in the nation. 


1KI 19:18

Yet I will leave 7,000 in Israel, all the knees that have not bowed to Baal and every mouth that has not kissed him."


This was the pivot and it is something that our nation is sorely in need of increase.


The righteousness of the Israelites was a product of the institutions which God had established among them. Historically, none of them could be righteous until the finished work of Christ, but it was credited to them through faith in His very promise. It was God's instruction in the offerings, His communication of the Law and the promises that revealed this righteousness to the Israelites who could believe in it and walk in it so as to be a part of God's purpose.


NUM 23:10 "Who can count the dust of Jacob,

Or number the fourth part of Israel?

Let me die the death of the upright,

And let my end be like his!"


Such a people Balaam could not curse; he could only wish that the end of his own life might resemble the end of these righteous men.


The last part, "And let my end be like his" would be God's desire for Balaam and it may be that he put these words in Balaam's mouth that he might repent, but he does not die the death of the upright.


NUM 31:7 So they made war against Midian, just as the Lord had commanded Moses, and they killed every male.


NUM 31:8 And they killed the kings of Midian along with the rest of their slain: Evi and Rekem and Zur and Hur and Reba, the five kings of Midian; they also killed Balaam the son of Beor with the sword.


NUM 31:15 And Moses said to them, "Have you spared all the women?


NUM 31:16 "Behold, these caused the sons of Israel, through the counsel of Balaam, to trespass against the Lord in the matter of Peor, so the plague was among the congregation of the Lord.


In the hour of death the pious Israelite could look back with blessed satisfaction to a long life, rich "in traces of the beneficent, forgiving, delivering, and saving grace of God;" he could comfort himself with the delightful hope of living on in his children and his children's children, and in them of participating in the future fulfillment of the divine promises of grace; and lastly, when dying in possession of the love and grace of God, he could depart hence with the joyful confidence of being gathered to his fathers in Sheol.


GEN 25:8

And Abraham breathed his last and died in a ripe old age, an old man and satisfied with life; and he was gathered to his people.


 NUM 23:11 Then Balak said to Balaam, "What have you done to me? I took you to curse my enemies, but behold, you have actually blessed them!"


NUM 23:12 And he answered and said, "Must I not be careful to speak what the Lord puts in my mouth?"


NUM 23:13 Then Balak said to him, "Please come with me to another place from where you may see them, although you will only see the extreme end of them, and will not see all of them; and curse them for me from there."


Balak thought that the reason might be found in the unfavorable locality. He therefore led the seer to the top of Pisgah, where he could see the whole of the people of Israel. In verse 13 we have a discrepancy in the translation.


The words are to be rendered, "whence thou wilt see it (Israel); thou seest only the end of it, but not the whole of it" [Keil & Delitzsch]


NUM 23:13

Then Balak said to him, "Please come with me to another place from where you may see them, only the extreme of them do you see, but you do not see all of them, and from there curse them for me. [corrected]


Since on the prior mountain they could only see a fourth of Israel, this corrected translation makes sense. From Pisgah they could see the whole camp as well as having a view of the PL. This is backed up by Balaam's third discourse as well as Moses' final experience (of the first stage of his life).


DEU 34:1

Now Moses went up from the plains of Moab to Mount Nebo, to the top of Pisgah, which is opposite Jericho. And the Lord showed him all the land



NUM 24:2

And Balaam lifted up his eyes and saw Israel camping tribe by tribe


It is interesting to see the reasoning of the heathen. He thinks the problem is the location or the angle of sight. He believes in magic and if it doesn't work it is necessary to alter the ritual when it is prudent to understand that the ritual should be completely eliminated and replaced by faith. Satan truly blinds the minds of the unbelieving, while their physical eyes can see all the land that God is going to give to Israel.