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Judges 11:25: Jephthah Answers Ammon, Part 5

Verse 25:[1] And now art thou any thing better than (Num. 22:2; see Josh. 24:9) Balak the son of Zippor, king of Moab? did he ever strive against Israel, or did he ever fight against them…

[Art thou better than Balak? הֲט֥וֹב טוֹב֙ אַתָּ֔ה מִבָּלָ֥ק] Art thou then good good in comparison with Balak? (Montanus). Art thou better and more excellent? (Syriac, thus Munster, Pagnine, Vatablus). Dost thou have a greater right? (Tigurinus). The adjective is repeated in order to intensify the signification; and the preposition מִן/than, applied to the matter with which comparison is made, but with the adjective remaining as it is, is the usual expression of the comparative degree (Glassius’ “Sacred Grammar” 53).

[He contended] Hebrew: By disputing did he dispute?[2] which is to say, Was that first a controversy with him? (Vatablus). Balak was reigning in Moab when the Israelites took possession of those lands; yet he did not demand them back (Bonfrerius); neither did he claim them for himself, because by right of war the Amorite previously deprived him of possession (Osiander).

Art thou better than Balak? art thou wiser than he? or hast thou more right than he had? Balak, though he plotted against Israel, in defence of his own land, which he feared they would invade and conquer, Numbers 22:4; yet he never contended with them about the restitution of those lands which Sihon took from him or his predecessors, after the Israelites had conquered them.

[1] Hebrew: וְעַתָּ֗ה הֲט֥וֹב טוֹב֙ אַתָּ֔ה מִבָּלָ֥ק בֶּן־צִפּ֖וֹר מֶ֣לֶךְ מוֹאָ֑ב הֲר֥וֹב רָב֙ עִם־יִשְׂרָאֵ֔ל אִם־נִלְחֹ֥ם נִלְחַ֖ם בָּֽם׃

[2] Hebrew: הֲר֥וֹב רָב֙.

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