SynopsisAs we’ve been reading, Balak asked Balaam to come and curse Israel, and the LORD caused Balaam to bless them instead. Three times in a row. When Balak got angry and sent Balaam home, Balaam issued another “parting” oracle, which dealt specifically with how Israel was going to beat Balak’s nation.
This one’s not really that specific, but it might still have been surprising for those who heard it. When he says that Amalek “was first,” but will come to ruin, it indicates to me that the Amelekites were very powerful, at the time. Whenever there is a very powerful nation, it’s always a bit unbelievable to imagine them coming to nothing. (Although it’s happened to every great nation that ever existed. Take note, America!)
Then Balaam saw Amalek and uttered his oracle:
“Amalek was first among the nations,
but he will come to ruin at last.”
This one is a bit more specific, because he actually tells us which nation will take the Kenites captive.
Then he saw the Kenites and uttered his oracle:
“Your dwelling place is secure,
your nest is set in a rock;
yet you Kenites will be destroyed
when Asshur takes you captive.”
So just in case the nation of Asshur—the “Asshurites?”—is tempted to get too cocky, they should be aware that they too will be subdued, by the Kittimites. Who should also not get too cocky, because they too will “come to ruin.”
Then he uttered his oracle:
“Ah, who can live when God does this?
Ships will come from the shores of Kittim;
they will subdue Asshur and Eber,
but they too will come to ruin.”