When Balaam saw that it pleased the Lord to bless Israel, he did not go as he had done each time before [superstitiously] to seek omens and signs [in the natural world], but he set his face toward the wilderness (desert).
When Balaam saw that it pleased the Lord to bless Israel, he did not go as he had done each time before [superstitiously] to meet with omens and signs in the natural world, but he set his face toward the wilderness or desert.
Balaam was sure that the Lord would tell him to bless Israel again. So he did not use any magic to find out what the Lord wanted him to do, as he had the first two times. Instead, he looked out toward the desert
5 Balaam prophesieth of the great prosperity that should come unto Israel. 17 Also of the coming of Christ. 20 The destruction of the Amalekites, and of the Kenites. When Balaam saw that it pleased the Lord to bless Israel, then he went not, as certain times before, to set divinations, but set his face toward the wilderness.
When Balaam noticed that the Lord was pleased that Balaam was blessing Israel, he didn’t behave as he had time after time before, that is, to practice divination. Instead, he turned with his face to the wilderness,
By now Balaam realized that God wanted to bless Israel. So he didn’t work in any sorcery as he had done earlier. He turned and looked out over the wilderness. As Balaam looked, he saw Israel camped tribe by tribe. The Spirit of God came on him, and he spoke his oracle-message:
And when Balaam saw that it was tov in the eyes of Hashem to bless Yisroel, he went not, as at other times, to use nechashim (sorceries, divination, looking for omens) but he set his face toward hamidbar.
Meanwhile, it was obvious to Balaam that the Eternal One was quite happy to bless Israel, so he didn’t go through the trouble of looking for omens of God’s intent. Instead, Balaam contemplated the wilderness stretched out before him.
And when Balaam saw that it pleased the Lord that he should bless Israel, he went not as he had gone before, that he should seek false divining by chittering of birds, but he (ad)dressed his face against the desert, (And when Balaam saw that it pleased the Lord when he blessed Israel, he went not as he had gone before, to seek out false divining by the twittering of birds, but he directed his face towards the wilderness,)
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