I am looking for a meaningful explanation to Numbers 23:19. What is the significance of God being compared to a "(ish) MAN that lies" and a "(ben adam) SON OF man that relents?"

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    Better translation would be "not a person, who lies; nor a human who relents." Still can ask why those particular choices of term for "person", but don't get caught up in the "son" business. "Ben-Adam" is another way of saying "human." – Shalom Jul 14 at 10:27
  • judaism.stackexchange.com/questions/79914/… Already answered this question. – B A Malinowski Jul 14 at 19:27

Rav Hirsch explains that an oracle speaks in parables and and can use terms that can be misinterpreted or have multiple meanings. For example the story of King Midas and the Oracle at Delphi in which the message was A mighty kingdom will be destroyed and King Midas thought he would win while he was actually soundly defeated. Hashem explicitly stated that Bnai Yisrael would be blessed and Bil'am was forbidden to curse them.

As Rav Hirsch explains

לא איש וגו. Immediately on your first request Hashem told me regarding this people כי ברוך הוא that it was blessed. Hashem does not speak in the ambiguous words of the oracles. If Hashem says that something is blessed it it is blessed, and there is not phase of it that is accessible to the reverse. And if Hashem has once said לא תאור את העם ("thou shalt not curse the people") He does not afterwards change His mind and give permission for the opposite.

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Though Balak was told numerous times by Balaam that he can only state/say what The Creator instructed him to say, Balak kept insisting that they (Balaam and all the people that were with them) should go to another location and see the Israelites from a different angle as maybe that would reverse the blessings to curse. Balak got word that The Creator is not like a man who deceives, lies, and has ulterior motives or mankind who changes and wavers. What The Creator does is final and doesn't second guess himself because he is all-knowing (Isiah 55:8).

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    Thank you for your answer. Could you please clarify why specifically "man" is someone who "deceives, lies, and has ulterior motives", and why specifically "mankind" are something that "changes and wavers", as that was the whole question. – robev Jul 13 at 20:59
  • Sure, in Hebrew the word for heart is Leb (biblehub.com/hebrew/3820.htm) which also means inner conscious, i.e the mind. Genesis 6:5 stated that man's inclination (heart/mind) was to just do wickedness. Whenever man falls out of tune with walking within his higher consciousness (The reflection of The Creator) he misses the mark and begins to "sin". Psalms 82 is the archetype and perfect example of how a man when he walks as a "Beh'ney Elyon" walks when he is walking in his higher inclination compared when is walking in his own mindest (Prov 16:2) – יהודה Jul 13 at 21:29
  • I'm not sure I'm following where that shows the distinction between man and mankind...also is this all your own understanding? Or are you quoting someone. – robev Jul 13 at 21:43
  • I'm not quoting anyone. This is based on various passages within the TaNaK where it states that the natural ways of man are wicked and that our character/inner consciousness should reflect The Creator not in an abstract sense but tangibly. "What is the significance of God being compared to a "(ish) MAN that lies" and a "(ben adam) SON OF man that relents?" Man fashioned in the image and similitude of Elohim. Everything in creation from Day 1 (as we know it) was "key tov/was good". How did man go from that to Gen 6:5? Because they fell out of alignment with creation and The Creator. – יהודה Jul 13 at 22:23
  • Balak who if he was not leaning on his understanding and trusting in The Creator would/should have seen that there was no iniquity in Ya'cob and no perverseness in Yisrael seeing how Balaam kept blessing instead of cursing. He was told numerous times by the man who he believed had the power (Balaam) that he can only do what he was told. So it is of no surprise that Balak is told that The Creator is not man where he should lie or the son of man where he should repent as Balaam found out (Pro 16:9). – יהודה Jul 13 at 22:32

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