Numbers 24:4
(4) Falling into a trance, but having his eyes open.--Better, falling (upon his face), and having his eyes opened. The physical effect produced upon Balaam appears to have been the same as that which was produced upon Saul (1Samuel 19:24), upon Ezekiel (Num. i 28), upon Daniel (Num. viii, 17. 18). and upon St. John (Revelation 1:17). The word which is here rendered "open" (gelui) is a different word from that which is so rendered in Numbers 24:2, and is frequently used in reference to Divine communications and spiritual intuition. There may be a reference to the events which befel Balaam on his journey (Numbers 22:31).

Verse 4. - Falling into a trance. Rather, "falling down." Qui cadit, Vulgate. The case of Saul, who "fell down naked all that day" (1 Samuel 19:24), overcome by the illapse of the Spirit, affords the best comparison. Physically, it would seem to have been a kind of catalepsy, in which the senses were closed to outward things, and the eyes open but unseeing. The word for "open" in this verse is the ordinary one, not that used in verse 3.

24:1-9 Now Balaam spake not his own sense, but the language of the Spirit that came upon him. Many have their eyes open who have not their hearts open; are enlightened, but not sanctified. That knowledge which puffs men up with pride, will but serve to light them to hell, whither many go with their eyes open. The blessing is nearly the same as those given before. He admires in Israel, their beauty. The righteous, doubtless, is more excellent than his neighbour. Their fruitfulness and increase. Their honour and advancement. Their power and victory. He looks back upon what had been done for them. Their power and victory. He looks back upon what had been done for them. Their courage and security. The righteous are bold as a lion, not when assaulting others, but when at rest, because God maketh them to dwell in safety. Their influence upon their neighbours. God takes what is done to them, whether good or evil, as done to himself.He hath said, which heard the words of God,.... God speaking to him, which he did several times, and with which he was greatly elated, see Numbers 22:9,

which saw the vision of the Almighty; not that he had a sight of any similitude of God, though the angel that appeared to him, which was Christ the uncreated angel, might appear in an human form, for some visible form was seen both by the ass and him; but rather this respects the visions of God to him in the night; it may be in a dream, as has been already observed, and which the following words seem to confirm:

falling into a trance, but having his eyes open: or falling into a deep sleep, and yet the eyes of his body open, which sometimes is the case with persons asleep; or the eyes of his mind open, to receive the instructions given him in a dream or vision of the night; unless this is to be understood of his falling on his face, when he had his vision, as sometimes the prophets did, see Ezekiel 1:28, so the Targums of Jonathan and Jerusalem paraphrase it; and the latter says, he prophesied of himself, that he should fall by the sword; which is better than to interpret it of his falling when his ass lay down with him, as some do: so men may have a great deal of light and knowledge in their heads, and yet not have true grace in their hearts; great gifts, which puff up with pride and vanity, but not sanctifying grace, which is of an humbling nature, 1 Corinthians 8:1, what he said under a spirit of prophecy follows.

Numbers 24:3
Top of Page
Top of Page