“Who can count the dust (the descendants) of Jacob And the number of even the fourth part of Israel? Let me die the death of the righteous [those who are upright and in right standing with God], And let my end be like his!”
Who can count the dust (the descendants) of Jacob and the number of the fourth part of Israel? Let me die the death of the righteous [those who are upright and in right standing with God], and let my last end be like theirs!
No one can number the ·many people [L dust; Gen. 13:16; 28:14] of Jacob, and no one can count a ·fourth [or dust cloud] of Israel. Let me die like ·good [virtuous; upright] people, and let me end up like them!”
This was Balaam’s message: “King Balak, king of Moab, has brought me From the land of Aram, From the eastern mountains. ‘Come,’ he told me, ‘curse Jacob for me! Let your anger rise on Israel.’ But how can I curse What God has not cursed? How can I denounce A people God has not denounced? I see them from the cliff tops, I watch them from the hills. They live alone, And prefer to remain distinct From every other nation. They are as numerous as dust! They are beyond numbering. If only I could die as happy as an Israelite! Oh, that my end might be like theirs!”
He went back and found him stationed beside his Whole-Burnt-Offering and with him all the nobles of Moab. Then Balaam spoke his message-oracle: Balak led me here from Aram, the king of Moab all the way from the eastern mountains. “Go, curse Jacob for me; go, damn Israel.” How can I curse whom God has not cursed? How can I damn whom God has not damned? From rock pinnacles I see them, from hilltops I survey them: Look! a people camping off by themselves, thinking themselves outsiders among nations. But who could ever count the dust of Jacob or take a census of cloud-of-dust Israel? I want to die like these right-living people! I want an end just like theirs!
Who may number the dust, that is, the kindred, of Jacob, and who may know the number of the generation of Israel? My life die in the death of just men, and my last things be made like them! (O let me die like the righteous die, and let my ending be made like theirs!)
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