#Balaam #Heathen #sorcerer who was #Commanded by #Balak, #King of Moab, to #curse Israel. But instead he #spoke the Words that #God put on his Mouth, saying "How goodly are your 'tents, O Jacob, your dwelling places, O Israel". He holds some kind of #Magical or #divining instrument. From the Kemmicott Bible, a Fifteenth-centrey Hebrew #Manuscript from #Spain. Bodleian Library, Oxford.
1:1 Now Balaam, seeing that it pleased the LORD to bless Israel, did not, as on previous occasions, go in search of omens, but turned his face toward the #wilderness.
1:2 As Balaam looked up and saw Israel encamped #tribe by tribe, the spirit of God came upon him.
1:3 Taking up his theme, he said: Word of Balaam son of Beor, Word of the man whose eye is true,
1:4 Word of him who hears God’s speech, Who beholds visions from #theAlmighty, Prostrate, but with eyes unveiled:
1:5 How fair are your tents, O Jacob, Your dwellings, O Israel! (🃏 see below)
1:6 Like palm-groves that stretch out, Like gardens beside a river, Like aloes planted by the LORD, Like cedars beside the water; 🃏 = #Sanhedrin 105b:17 (#Talmud)
Rabbi Yoḥanan says: From the blessing of that wicked person,Balaam, you can ascertain what was in his heart. God #transformed the #curses that he planned into blessings. He sought to say that they should not have synagogues and study halls, and he said instead: “How goodly are your tents, Jacob”(Numbers 24:5), a blessing on their synagogues. He sought to say that the #DivinePresence [shekhina] will not rest upon them, and he said instead: “And your dwellings [mishkenot] Israel.” He sought to say that the kingdom of Israel would not continue, and he said instead that it would continue: “Like the winding brooks”(Numbers 24:6), which flow continuously. He sought to say that they would have no olive trees and vineyards, and he said instead: “Like #gardens by the river’s side” (Numbers 24:6). He sought to say that their fragrance would not diffusefrom their fulfillment of mitzvot, and he said instead: “Like #aloes that the Lord has planted”(Numbers 24:6).