people shall dwell alone

Numbers 23:9

23:9 people shall dwell alone. Balaam, though not an Israelite, perhaps once had been a true prophet, receiving the word of God to convey to the people of Moab and Midian (distant cousins of the Israelites). God evidently had also wanted these groups to know Him. However, the Moabites and Midianites would not accept Israel as God’s special people.

Balaam also prostituted his prophetic gift on behalf of the king of Moab and his monetary reward. Nevertheless, his prophecy–even uttered against his will–was divinely inspired. Even before Israel entered the promised land, Balaam could foresee the distant future, when Israel would be scattered among the nations–yet would not be assimilated by those nations. As a unique phenomenon in history, the people of Israel would spend almost two thousand years without a land of their own, yet would still “dwell alone and not be counted among the nations.”

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