The Berean Expositor
Volume 32 - Page 58 of 246
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EPHPHATHA, or "Be Opened".
The Unveiled Eye: "To See without Distortion."
pp. 17, 18
In view of the importance of the opened understanding, both for ourselves and for
those to whom we minister, it is not surprising that the subject is brought before us under
a further figure, that of the opened eye. The Psalmist prayed,
"Open Thou mine eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of Thy law" (Psa. 119: 18).
The word translated "open" is the Hebrew galah and means "to remove". It is found
in the expressions
"The glory is departed from Israel" (I Sam. 4: 22).
"The Lord had told Samuel" (margin, revealed) (I Sam. 9: 15).
"And shew it thee" (margin, uncover thine ear) (I Sam. 20: 12).
"The Lord revealed Himself to Samuel" (I Sam. 3: 21).
It is used three times of Balaam.
"Then the Lord opened the eyes of Balaam, and he saw the angel of the Lord standing
in the way" (Numb. 22: 31).
"Which saw the vision of the Almighty, falling into a trance, but having his eyes
open" (Numb. 24: 4 and 16).
By the use of the word "but" here the A.V. creates the wrong impression that Balaam
had fallen into a trance and was therefore oblivious to sound and sight, while at the same
time staring vacantly with his eyes. We note, however, that the R.V. substitutes "and" for
"but" which considerably alters the meaning while Rotherham translates the passage:
"Who the sight of the Almighty receiveth in vision, who falleth down but hath unveiled
eyes." That doubtless is its true purport. Balaam had "unveiled eyes" and saw the future
blessedness of Israel, saying:
"I shall see Him, but not now; I shall behold Him, but not nigh: there shall come a
Star out of Jacob, and a Sceptre shall rise out of Israel . . . . ." (Numb. 24: 17).
In verses 3 and 15 Balaam calls himself "the man whose eyes are open", which the
margin alters to "who had his eyes shut, but now opened", as though he referred to the
ecstatic vision given him. Bishop Newton, in his "Dissertations on the Prophecies",
however, seems to strike the right note when he says:
"It plainly alludes to Balaam's not seeing the angel of the Lord at the same time as the
ass saw him" (Vol. 1, p. 129).
We may therefore conclude that the prayer of the Psalmist in Psalm 119: is for the
removal of whatever may have become a veil, hiding from the eye of faith the wonders of
God's law. If it was important not to miss the transient glory of the law, how much more