Joshua 13:22: The Death of Balaam

Verse 22:[1] (Num. 22:5; 31:8) Balaam also the son of Beor, the soothsayer (or, diviner[2]), did the children of Israel slay with the sword among them that were slain by them.

[And Balaam] This history is added to the slaughter of the five magnates, just as it is also in Numbers 31:8; otherwise little pertain to the purpose here. But, as the benefits of God toward the pious are never sufficiently commemorated, so also God’s just and severe judgments against the impious; so that some might be incited to virtue, and others be deterred from vices. It is certain that Moses proceeded from the waging of those wars to this distribution that we now handle (Masius). [What things Masius has here concerning Balaam, see in our Notes on Numbers 24; 31.]

The soothsayer; so he was in truth, though a prophet (2 Peter 2:16) in title and profession.

[With the rest slain, אֶל־חַלְלֵיהֶם] To (or upon [Jonathan]) the slain of them (Montanus, similarly Junius and Tremellius); with the slain, etc. (Munster, Pagnine, Tigurinus), that is, together with others slaughtered by them (Vatablus). Here אֶל/to means עִם/with, in the place of which it is עַל/upon in Numbers 31:8,[3] as it is here in the Targum (Drusius).

Among them that were slain by them: See Numbers 24:25.

[1] Hebrew: וְאֶת־בִּלְעָ֥ם בֶּן־בְּע֖וֹר הַקּוֹסֵ֑ם הָרְג֧וּ בְנֵֽי־יִשְׂרָאֵ֛ל בַּחֶ֖רֶב אֶל־חַלְלֵיהֶֽם׃

[2] Hebrew: הַקּוֹסֵם.

[3] Numbers 31:8:  “And they slew the kings of Midian, beside the rest of them that were slain (עַל־חַלְלֵיהֶם); namely, Evi, and Rekem, and Zur, and Hur, and Reba, five kings of Midian: Balaam also the son of Beor they slew with the sword.”

1 thought on “Joshua 13:22: The Death of Balaam

  1. Matthew Henry: ‘They slew Balaam. Many conjectures there are as to what brought Balaam among the Midianites at this time; it is probable that the Midianites, having intelligence of the march of this army of Israelites against them, hired Balaam to come and assist them with his enchantments, that if he could not prevail to act offensively in their favour, by cursing the armies of Israel, yet he might act defensively, by blessing the country of Midian. Whatever was the occasion of his being there, God’s overruling providence brought him thither, and there his just vengeance found him. Had he himself believed what he said of the happy state of Israel, he would not have herded thus with the enemies of Israel; but justly does he die the death of the wicked (though he pretended to desire that of the righteous), and go down slain to the pit with the uncircumcised, who rebelled thus against the convictions of his own conscience. The Midianites’ wiles were Balaam’s projects, it was therefore just that he should perish with them, Hosea 4:5. Now was his folly made manifest to all men, who foretold the fate of others, but foresaw not his own.’

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