The Meaning of Numbers 23:27 Explained

Numbers 23:27

KJV: And Balak said unto Balaam, Come, I pray thee, I will bring thee unto another place; peradventure it will please God that thou mayest curse me them from thence.

YLT: And Balak saith unto Balaam, 'Come, I pray thee, I take thee unto another place; it may be it is right in the eyes of God -- to pierce it for me from thence.'

Darby: And Balak said to Balaam, Come, I pray thee, I will bring thee to another place; perhaps it will be right in the sight of God that thou curse me them from thence.

ASV: And Balak said unto Balaam, Come now, I will take thee unto another place; peradventure it will please God that thou mayest curse me them from thence.

What does Numbers 23:27 Mean?

Verse Meaning

Still hopeful, Balak took Balaam to a third site from which he could view the whole of the Israelite camp. Again he offered sacrifices as before.
Balaam had learned that God would bless Israel even though Balak had not. Consequently this time he did not seek indications of the will of God in omens as he had done previously ( Numbers 23:1). He simply proclaimed the message the Holy Spirit revealed to him ( Numbers 23:2). Balaam intended his opening words ( Numbers 23:3-4) to impress upon Balak that the Almighty God had inspired his oracle.
The phrase "falling down, yet having his eyes uncovered" (found also in Numbers 23:16), "...has usually been interpreted as describing the particular state in which the prophet-seer received his revelations (e.g, that he was in a prophetic trance or sleep ... or was falling down in awe, or in the overpowering presence of the spirit of prophecy ...)." [1]
In the article just cited, the author went on to suggest the translation "pared or peeled of eye(s)" ( Numbers 23:4; Numbers 23:16), which is possible grammatically.
Balaam pictured Israel as a man carrying two buckets overflowing with water ( Numbers 23:7). Water was the source of physical refreshment and blessing in the hot and arid Near East. Israel"s seed would enjoy the richest blessing (i.e, would grow up beside many waters).
"In an ironic reversal of the evil intended by Pharaoh"s order to cast the seed of Abraham into the river, Balaam"s third oracle uses the well-watered gardens that spread out along the banks of a river to speak of the abundance of Israel"s "seed." A literal reading of Balaam"s remark in Numbers 24:7 is "Their seed is in the abundant waters" ... Thus what was once the intended means for the destruction of the promised seed, that Isaiah , the "abundant waters," has now become the poetic image of God"s faithfulness to his promise." [2]
"Agag" ( Numbers 23:7) was the title of the kings of the Amalekites or the name of several Amalekite kings, perhaps a dynasty (cf. Abimelech in Genesis 20:1-2; Genesis 26:1; and Jabin in Joshua 11:1; Judges 4:2). Balaam may have used "Agag" here as the personification of Israel"s enemies. King Saul later defeated another Agag ( 1 Samuel 15:8).
"It is clear from Numbers 23:24 that Balaam is speaking about the people of Israel and the exodus from Egypt. In Numbers 24:8, however, Balaam repeats the same line and applies it, using singular forms, to the king he has introduced in Numbers 24:7 : "God brought him [3] out of Egypt; he has the strength of a wild ox."
"The writer"s purpose appears to be to view the reign of the future king in terms taken from God"s great acts of salvation in the past. The future is going to be like the past. What God did for Israel in the past is seen as a type of what he will do for them in the future when he sends his promised king." [4]
"The stunning climax is in the blessing of God on all who bless Israel [5]. This, of course, takes us back to the original promise of God to Abram. The irony cannot be missed by Balaam or by any who hear his words. In his actions he brings a curse on his own head, even as he speaks blessing!" [6]
Balak sent Balaam home without pay because he failed to produce the curse Balak had hired him to deliver.
This oracle is even stronger than the preceding two. As Balaam had alluded to other aspects of the Abrahamic promises previously ( Numbers 23:10; Numbers 23:24) here the blessing aspect concludes this oracle ( Numbers 23:9; cf. Genesis 12:3; Genesis 27:29).
"Like Pharaoh before him, Balak also made three attempts to thwart God"s blessing for Israel ( Numbers 23:1-26; Numbers 23:27 to Numbers 24:9), and each attempt was turned into a blessing ( Numbers 23:11-12; Numbers 23:25-26; Numbers 24:10-11)." [7]

Context Summary

Numbers 23:13-30 - No Enchantment Against Israel
Balak was surprised and disappointed. He therefore bethought himself of limiting the seer's vision, so that he might see an attenuated Israel from a height that commanded only a partial view of the camp. How often we try to see only what we want to see! How often we shut our eyes to a rival's real merits! Instead of entering into God's great thoughts we shut ourselves up in a tiny limited world. We will not acknowledge what our pride does not want to acknowledge. We are like children building sand-castles against the tide. You had better bring your mind to harmonize with God's facts than minimize or evade their truth. You are hurting yourself, but can never alter them. Take God's way and be at peace!
Let us ponder Numbers 23:21 -it is as we are in God's purpose; and Numbers 23:23 -when faced by our enemies; and Numbers 23:24 -when most convinced of our helplessness. [source]

Chapter Summary: Numbers 23

1  Balak's sacrifices

What do the individual words in Numbers 23:27 mean?

and said Balak to Balaam come please I will take you place another perhaps it will please the eye of God that you may curse them for me from there
וַיֹּ֤אמֶר בָּלָק֙ אֶל־ בִּלְעָ֔ם לְכָה־ נָּא֙ אֶקָּ֣חֲךָ֔ מָק֖וֹם אַחֵ֑ר אוּלַ֤י יִישַׁר֙ בְּעֵינֵ֣י הָאֱלֹהִ֔ים וְקַבֹּ֥תוֹ לִ֖י מִשָּֽׁם

וַיֹּ֤אמֶר  and  said 
Parse: Conjunctive waw, Verb, Qal, Consecutive imperfect, third person masculine singular
Root: אָמַר 
Sense: to say, speak, utter.
בָּלָק֙  Balak 
Parse: Proper Noun, masculine singular
Root: בָּלָק  
Sense: a king of Moab who hired Balaam to curse Israel.
בִּלְעָ֔ם  Balaam 
Parse: Proper Noun, masculine singular
Root: בִּלְעָם 
Sense: the son of Beor, a man endowed with the gift of prophecy.
לְכָה־  come 
Parse: Verb, Qal, Imperative, masculine singular, third person feminine singular
Root: הָלַךְ  
Sense: to go, walk, come.
נָּא֙  please 
Parse: Interjection
Root: נָא  
Sense: I (we) pray, now, please.
אֶקָּ֣חֲךָ֔  I  will  take  you 
Parse: Verb, Qal, Imperfect Cohortative if contextual, first person common singular, second person masculine singular
Root: יָקַח 
Sense: to take, get, fetch, lay hold of, seize, receive, acquire, buy, bring, marry, take a wife, snatch, take away.
מָק֖וֹם  place 
Parse: Noun, masculine singular
Root: מָקֹום  
Sense: standing place, place.
אַחֵ֑ר  another 
Parse: Adjective, masculine singular
Root: אַחֵר  
Sense: another, other, following.
אוּלַ֤י  perhaps 
Parse: Adverb
Root: אוּלַי  
Sense: perhaps, peradventure.
יִישַׁר֙  it  will  please 
Parse: Verb, Qal, Imperfect, third person masculine singular
Root: יָשָׁר 
Sense: straight, upright, correct, right.
בְּעֵינֵ֣י  the  eye 
Parse: Preposition-b, Noun, cdc
Root: עֹונָה 
Sense: eye.
הָאֱלֹהִ֔ים  of  God 
Parse: Article, Noun, masculine plural
Root: אֱלֹהִים  
Sense: (plural).
וְקַבֹּ֥תוֹ  that  you  may  curse  them 
Parse: Conjunctive waw, Verb, Qal, Conjunctive perfect, second person masculine singular, third person masculine singular
Root: קָבַב  
Sense: to curse, utter a curse against.
לִ֖י  for  me 
Parse: Preposition, first person common singular
מִשָּֽׁם  from  there 
Parse: Preposition-m, Adverb
Root: שָׁם  
Sense: there, thither.