Targum Jonathan on Numbers

Week 40

Chapters 22:2-25:9


Chapter 22


AND Balak bar Zippor saw what Israel had done to the Amoraee.

And the Moabaee feared before the people greatly because they were many, and they were distressed in their life before the sons of Israel.

And they said to the elders of the Midianee, for the people had been one and the kingdom one unto that day: Now will this congregation consume all that is about them, as the ox eateth up the grass of the field. And Balak bar Zippor, a Midianite, was the king of Moab at that time; without (a Midianite) being such at another time; for so was the tradition among them, to have kings from this people and from that, by turns.

And he sent unto Laban the Aramite, who was Bileam, (so called because he it was) who sought (Biluva) to swallow up (Amma) the people of the house of Israel: the son of Beor, who was insane from the vastness of his knowledge; and would not spare Israel, the descendants of his sons and daughters: and the house of his habitation in Padan was at Pethor, a name signifying an interpreter of dreams. It was built in Aram upon the Phrat, in a land where the children of the people worshipped and adored him. (To him did Balak send) to call him, saying: Behold, a people hath come out of Mizraim, and, lo, they cover the face of the earth, and are encamped over against me.

But now, I entreat, come, curse this people for me, for they are stronger than I, if I may but be able to meet them, though smaller than they, and drive them from the land. For I know that he whom thou dost bless is blessed, and he whom thou dost curse is cursed.

And the elders of Moab and of Midian went, with the price of divinations sealed up in their hands, and came to Bileam, and told him the words of Balak.

And he said to them, Abide here tonight, and I will return you word as Yahuah shall speak with me. And the princes of Moab stayed with Bileam.

And the Word from before Yahuah came to Bileam, and He said, What men are these who are now lodging with thee?

And Bileam said before Yahuah, Balak bar Zippor, king of the Moabaee, hath sent messengers to me, saying:

Behold, a people hath come out of Mizraim, and cover the face of the land: now therefore, come, curse them for me, so that I may be able to fight and drive them away.

And Yahuah said unto Bileam, Thou shalt not go with them, nor curse the people, for they are blessed of Me from the day of their fathers.

And Bileam rose up early, and said to the princes of Moab, Go unto your country, for it is not pleasing before Yahuah to permit me to journey with you.

And the princes of Moab arose and came to Balak, and said, Bileam hath refused to come with us.

But Balak added to send (other) princes more, and nobler than they;

and they came to Bileam, and said to him: Thus saith Balak bar Zippor, Let not anything hinder thee from coming to me;

for honouring I will honour thee greatly, and whatever thou biddest me I will do. Come therefore now, and curse this people for me.

And Bileam answered the servants of Balak, and said, If Balak would give me out of his treasury a house full of silver and gold, I have no power to transgress the decree <gzyrt> of the Word <mymr’> of Yahuah my Elohim, to fabricate a word <mlt’> either small or great.

But I entreat you to remain here this night also, that I may know what the Word <mymr’> of Yahuah may yet speak with me.

And the Word <mymr’> came from before Yahuah unto Bileam in the night, and said to him, If these men come to call thee, arise, go with them; only, the word <ptgm’> that I will speak with thee, that shalt thou do.

And Bileam, arose in the morning, and saddled his ass, and went with the princes of Moab.

But the anger of Yahuah was provoked, because he would go (that he might) curse them; and the angel of Yahuah stood in the way to be an adversary to him. But he sat upon his ass, and his two young men, Jannes and Jambres, were with him.

And the ass discerned the angel of Yahuah standing in the way with a drawn sword in his hand, and the ass turned aside out of the road, to go into the field. And Bileam smote the ass to make her return unto the way.

And the angel of Yahuah stood in a narrow path that was in the midst between vineyards, in the place where Jacob and Laban raised the mound, the pillar on this side and the observatory on that side, which they raised, that neither should pass that limit to do evil (to the other).

And the ass discerned the angel of Yahuah, and thrust herself against the hedge, and bruised Bileam’s foot by the hedge, and he smote her again; for the angel was invisible to him.

And the angel of Yahuah yet passed on, and stood in a distant place, where there was no way to turn either to the right or left.

And the ass saw the angel of Yahuah, and fell under Bileam; and Bileam’s wrath was strong, so that he smote the ass with his staff.

Ten things were created after the world had been founded at the coming in of the Sabbath between the suns,-the manna, the well, the rod of Mosheh, the diamond, the rainbow, the cloud of glory, the mouth of the earth, the writing of the tables of the covenant, the demons, and the speaking ass. And in that hour the Word of Yahuah opened her mouth, and fitted her to speak: and she said to Bileam. What have I done to thee, that thou hast smitten me these three times?

And Bileam said to the ass, Because thou hast been false to me; if there was now but a sword in in hand, I would kill thee.

And the ass said to Bileam, Woe to thee, Bileam, thou wanting-in-mind when me, an unclean beast, who am to die in this world, and not to enter the world to come, thou art not able to curse; how much less (canst thou harm) the children of Abraham, Izhak, and Jakob, on account of whom the world hath been created, but whom thou art going to curse! So hast thou deceived these people, and hast said, This is not my ass, she is a loan in, my hand, and my horses remain in the pasture. But am I not thine ass upon whom thou hast ridden from thy youth unto this day? and have I been used to do thus with thee? And he said, No.

And Yahuah unveiled the eyes of Bileam, and he beheld the angel of Yahuah standing in the way, his sword unsheathed in his hand; and he bowed, and worshipped on his face.

And the angel of Yahuah said to him, why hast thou smitten thine ass these three times? Behold, I have come out to withstand thee; and the ass, fearing, saw, and turned from the way. It is known before me that thou seekest to go to curse the people, a thing that is not pleasing to me.

But the ass discerned me, and turned away from me these three times: had she not turned from me, surely now I should have slain thee, and spared her alive.

And Bileam said to the angel of Yahuah, I have sinned, because I knew not that thou wast standing against me in the way. But now, if it displease thee, I will go back.

But the angel of Yahuah said to Bileam, Go with these men; but the word that I will tell thee that thou shalt speak. And Bileam went with the princes of Balak.

And Balak heard that Bileam was coming, and came out to meet him at a city of Moab on the border of Arnon, which is on the side of the frontier.

And Balak said to Bileam, Did I not send to call thee? Why camest thou not to me? Didst thou not indeed say that I could not do thee honour?

And Bileam said to Balak, Behold, I have come to thee; yet now am I able to say any thing to thee? But the word that Yahuah shall ordain for my mouth, that I must speak.

And Bileam went with Balak, and they came to a city surrounded with walls, to the streets of the great city, the city of Sihon, which is Berosha.

And Balak slew oxen and sheep, and sent to Bileam and the princes, and those who were with them.

And at the time of the morning Balak took Bileam, and brought him up to the high place of the idol Peor; saw from thence the camp of Dan, which went at the rear of the people; and they were discovered under the Cloud of Glory.


Chapter 23


And Bileam, as he looked upon them, knew that strange worship was among them, and rejoiced in his heart; and he said to Balak, Build here seven altars, and prepare me here seven bullocks and seven rams.

And Balak did as Bileam had said, and Balak and Bileam offered a bullock and a ram upon an altar.

And Bileam said to Balak, Stand by thy burnt offering, and I will go, if preadventure the Word of Yahuah may come to meet me; and the word that shall be discovered to me, that I will declare to thee. And he went, bending as a serpent.

And the Word from before Yahuah met with Bileam, who said before Him, The seven altars I have set in order, and have offered a bullock and a ram upon every altar.

And Yahuah put a word in Bileam’s mouth, and said, Return to Balak, and thus speak.

And he returned to him, and, behold, he was standing by his burnt-offering, he and all the nobles of Moab.

And he took up the parable of his prophecy, and said: From Aram on Euphrates hath Balak king of the Moabaee brought me; from the mountains of the east come, curse for me the house of Jakob; come, for me make Israel small.

How shall I curse, (while) the Word of Yahuah blesseth them? and whom shall I diminish, when the Word of Yahuah increaseth them?

For, said Bileam the wicked, I look on this people who are led on for the sake of their righteous fathers, who are like the mountains, and of their mothers, who are like the hills: behold, this people alone are to possess the world, because they are not led by the laws of the nations.

And when Bileam the sinner beheld the house of Israel, a circumcised people, hidden in the dust of the desert, he said, Who can number the merits of these strong ones, or count the good works of one of the four camps of Israel? Bileam the wicked said: If the house of Israel kill me with the sword, then, it is made known to me, I shall have no portion in the world to come: nevertheless if I may but die the death of the true! O that my last end may be as the least among them!

And Balak said to Bileam, What hast thou done to me? I brought thee to curse my enemies, and, behold, blessing, thou hast blessed them.

But he answered and said, That which Yahuah hath put in my mouth shall I not be careful to speak?

And Balak said to him, Come now with me where thou mayest see him from another place. Thou shalt see only the camp that goeth in his rear, but not all their camps; and curse him for me there.

And he brought him to the field of the observatory on the top of the hill, and builded seven altars, and offered a bullock and a ram on every altar.

And he said to Balak, Stand thou here by thy burnt offering and I will meet (Him) yonder.

And the Word from before Yahuah met Bileam, and put a word in his mouth, and said, Return to Balak, and thus speak.

And he came to him, and, behold, he was standing by his burnt offering, and the princes of Moab with him. And Balak said to him, What hath Yahuah spoken?

And he took up the parable of his prophecy, and said: Arise, Balak, and hear; listen to my words, Bar Zippor.

The Word of the living Elohim is not as the words of men for Yahuah, the Ruler of all worlds, is the unchangeable (but) man speaketh and denieth. Neither are His works like the works of the children of flesh, who consult, and then repent them of what they had decreed. But when Yahuah of all worlds hath said, I will multiply this people as the stars of the heavens, and will give them to possess the land of the Kenaanites, is He not able to perform what He hath spoken? and what He hath said, can He not confirm it?

Behold, from the mouth of the Holy Word I have received the benediction, and their appointed benediction I cannot restrain from them.

Bileam the wicked said, I see not among them of the house of Jakob such as worship idols: they who serve false idols are not established among the tribes of the sons of Israel. The Word of Yahuah their Elohim is their help, and the trumpets of the King Meshiha resound among them:

Unto Eloha, who redeemed and led them out of Mizraim free, belong power and exaltation, glorification and greatness.

They of the house of Jakob who use divination are not establisbed, nor the enchanters, who enchant among the greatness (multitudes) of Israel. At this time it is said to the house of Jakob and Israel, How glorious are the miracles and wonder-works which Elohim hath wrought!

This people reposeth alone, and dwelleth strong as a lion, and reareth himself as an old lion. They sleep not till with great slaughter they have slain their adversaries, and taken the spoils of the slain.

And Balak said to Bileam, Neither curse them nor bless them.

But Bileam answered and said to Balak, Did I not tell thee at the beginning, Whatsoever Yahuah speaketh, that must I do?

And Balak said to Bileam, Come, and I will now take thee to another place, if so be it may be pleasing before Yahuah, that thou mayest curse him for me from thence.

And Balak led Bileam to the high place of the prospect which looketh toward Beth Jeshimoth.

And Bileam said to Balak, Erect here for me seven altars, and prepare me seven bullocks and seven rams.

And Balak did as Bileam had said, and offered a bullock and a ram upon every altar.


Chapter 24


And Bileam, seeing that it was good before Yahuah to bless Israel, went not, as once and again before, in quest of divinations, but set his face toward the wilderness, to recall to memory the work of the calf which they had there committed.

And Bileam lifted up his eyes, but beheld Israel dwelling together by their tribes in their schools, and (saw) that their doors were arranged so as not to overlook the doors of their companions: and the Spirit of prophecy from before Yahuah rested upon him.

But he took up the parable of his prophecy, and said: Bileam, son of Beor, speaketh; the man speaketh who is more honourable than his father, (because) the dark mysteries hidden from the prophets have been revealed to him; and who, because he was not circumcised, fell upon his face when the angel stood over against him:

he hath said who heard the Word from before the living Elohim; who ­beheld the vision before Elohim the Almighty, and, seeking that it might be discovered to him, fell upon his face, and the secret mysteries hidden from the prophets were revealed to him.

How beautiful your houses of instruction, in the tabernacle where Jakob your father ministered; and how beautiful this tabernacle of ordinance which is found among you, and the tents that surround it, O house of Israel!

As tides of waters, so are the house of Israel, dwelling like flocks made strong by the doctrine of the law; and as gardens planted by the flowing streams, so are their disciples in the fellowships of their schools. The light of their faces shineth as the brightness of the firmament which Yahuah created on the second day of the creation of the world, and outspread for the glory of the Shekinah. They are exalted and lifted up above all the nations, like cedars of Lebanon planted by fountains of waters.

From them their King shall arise, and their Redeemer be of them and among them, and the seed of the children of Jakob shall rule over many nations. The first who will reign over them will make war with the house of Amalek, and will be exalted above Agag their king; but because he had spared him his kingdom will be taken from him.

Unto Eloha, who brought them out free from Mizraim, belong might, and exaltation, and glory, and power. He will destroy the nations of their adversaries, and break down their strength and will send forth the plague-arrows of His vengeance among them, and destroy them.

They shall repose and dwell as a lion, and as an old lion, that sleeping who will (dare to) awake? They who bless them are blessed, as Mosheh the prophet, the scribe of Israel; and they who curse them are accursed, as Bileam son of Beor.

And Balak’s wrath grew strong against Bileam, and, smiting his hands, Balak said to Bileam, I brought thee to curse my enemies, and, behold, in blessing thou hast blessed them these three times.

And now flee to thy place. I had said that honouring I would honour thee; but, behold, Yahuah hath kept back Bileam from honour.

But Bileam said to Balak, Did I not tell thy messengers whom thou sentest to me, saying,

If Balak would give me the fulness of his treasures of silver and gold, I have no power to transgress the decree of the Word of Yahuah to do good or evil of my own will: what Yahuah saith shall I not speak.

And now, behold, I return to go to my people. Come, I will give thee counsel: Go, furnish tavern houses, and employ seductive women to sell food and drinks cheaply, and to bring this people together to eat and drink, and commit whoredom with them, that they may deny their Elohim; then in a brief time will they be delivered into thy hand, and many of them fall. Nevertheless, after this they will still have dominion over thy people at the end of the days.

And he took up the parable of his prophecy, and said Bileam the son of Beor speaketh; the man speaketh who is more honourable than his father, because the mysteries hidden from prophets have been revealed to him;

he speaketh who heard the Word from before Yahuah, and who knoweth the hour when the Most High Elohim will be wroth with him; (he speaketh) who saw the vision before the Almighty, seeking, prostrate on his face, that it should be revealed to him; the secret, concealed from the prophets, was disclosed unto him.

I shall see Him, but not now; I shall behold Him, but it is not near. When the mighty King of Jakob’s house shall reign, and the Meshiha, the Power-sceptre of Israel, be anointed, He will slay the princes of the Moabaee, and bring to nothing all the children of Sheth, the armies of Gog who will do battle against Israel and all their carcases shall fall before Him.

And the Edomaee will be utterly driven out, even the sons of Gabela from before Israel their foes, and Israel will be strengthened with their riches and possess them.

And a prince of the house of Jakob will arise and destroy and consume the remnant that have escaped from Constantina the guilty city, and will lay waste and ruin the rebellious city, even Kaiserin the strong city of the Gentiles.

And he looked on the house of Amalek, and took up the parable of his prophecy, and said: The first of the nations who made war with the house of Israel were those of the house of Amalek; and they at last, in the days of the King Meshiha, with all the children of the east, will make war against Israel; but all of them together will have eternal destruction in their end.

And he looked upon Jethro, who had been made proselyte, and took up the parable of his prophecy, and said: How strong is thy habitation, who hast set thy dwelling in the clefts of the rocks!

Yet so is it decreed that the children of the Shalmaia must be despoiled, but not until Sancherib the king of Athur shall come and make thee captive.

And he took up the parable of his prophecy, and said, Woe to them who are alive at the time when the Word of Yahuah shall be revealed, to give the good reward to the righteous, and to take vengeance on the wicked, to smite the nations and the kings, and bring these things upon them!

And ships (lit., sails) armed for war will come forth with urreat armies from Lombarnia, and from the land of Italia, conjoined with the legions that will come forth from Constantina, and will afflict the Athuraee, and bring into captivity all the sons of Eber; nevertheless the end of these and of those is to fall by the hand of the King Meshiha, and be brought to everlasting destruction:

And Bileam rose up and went to return to his place, and Balak also went upon his way, and appointed the daughters of the Midianites for the tavern booths at Beth Jeshimotb, by the snow mountain, where they sold sweetmeats cheaper than their price, after the counsel of Bileam the wicked, at the dividing of the way.


Chapter 25


And Israel dwelt in the place which is called Shittim, on account of the (Shetutha) foolishness and depravity which were among them. And the people began to profane their holiness, and to strip their bodies to the image of Peor, and commit fornication with the daughters of the Moabites, who brought out the image of Peor, concealed under their bundles.

And they invited the people to the sacrifices of their idols; and the people ate in their feasts, and bowed themselves to their idols.

And the people of the house of Israel joined themselves to Baala-Peor, like the nail in the wood, which is not separated but by breaking up the wood (or, with the splinters). And the anger of Yahuah was kindled against Israel.

And Yahuah said to Mosheh, Take all the chiefs of the people, and appoint them for judges, and let them give judgment to put to death the people who have gone astray after Peor, and hang them before the Word of Yahuah upon the wood over against the morning sun, and at the departure of the sun take them down and bury them and turn away the strong anger of Yahuah from Israel.

And Mosheh said to the judges of Israel, Slay every one a man of his tribe of those who have joined themselves to the idol of Peor.

And behold, a man of the sons of Israel came, holding a Midianitess, and brought her to his brethren, in the sight of Mosheh and all the congregation of the children of Israel. He answered and said to Mosheh, What is it (that is wrong) to have company with her? If thou sayest, It is forbidden, didst thou not thyseIf take a Midianitess, the daughter of Jethro? When Mosheh heard, he trembled and swooned. But they wept, and cried, Listen! And they stood at the door of the tabernacle of ordinance.

And Phinehas bar Elazar-bar Aharon, the priest, saw, and, remembering the ordination, answered, and said: He who ought to kill, let him kill! Where are the lions of the tribe of Jehudah? When they saw, they were quiet. And he arose from among his Sanhedrin, and took a lance in his hand.

Twelve miracles were wrought for Phinehas at the time that he went in after the man of Israel with the Midianitha. The first sign was, He would have parted them but could not. 2. Their mouth was closed, that they could not cry out; for had they cried out, they would have been rescued. 3. He drave the lance through both of them. 4. The lance remained fixed in the wound. 5. When he bare them aloft, the lintel was uplifted for him until he had gone forth. 6. He carried them through the whole camp, six miles, without fatigue. 7. He held them up by his right arm, in sight of their kindred, who had no power to hurt him. 8. The lance was made strong so as not to be broken with the load. 9. The iron transpierced them, but was not withdrawn. 10. An angel came and made bare their corpses in sight of the people. 11. They lingered alive till they had been carried through the entire camp, lest the priest in the tabernacle should be defiled by the dead. 12. Their blood thickened so as not to flow upon him; but when he had borne them through the camp, it brake forth, and they died. Answering, he said before Yahuah of the world, Can it be that, on account of these, twenty and four thousands of Israel shall die? Immediately the compassions of Heaven were moved, and the plague was stayed from the children of Israel.

And the number who died by the pestilence was twenty and four thousand.