22-24 & 31:1-17
Just before Israel marched across the Jordan River to
begin their conquest of Canaan they stopped in Moab to
camp. Balak, the king of Moab was worried that they
would go to war against him so he summoned a Pagan
prophet named Balaam to curse Israel so Moab would not
Balaam had a reputation for being a successful magician
of sorts. The people he blessed were blessed and those
he cursed were cursed (Num. 22:6).
But the Lord told Balaam not to go to Balak because
Israel was blessed.
But Balaam was going to go to Balak anyway because he
(2 Peter 2:15). So the Lord
changed his mind and told him he could go but only if he
said what God told him to say.
During the journey
Balaam’s donkey sees an angel in front of them three
times and tries to turn away. Balaam becomes angry and
beats his donkey each time. After the third time the
angel opens the donkey’s mouth and it asks Balaam why he
is beating him.
After this Balaam’s
eyes are opened and he too sees the angel. The angel
tells Balaam that God is displeased with his
recklessness and that he is not to curse Israel but is
to say what God tells him to say.
After Balaam arrives in Moab Balak asks him
to curse Israel but God intervenes and Balaam’s curses
are turned to blessings instead
Twice more the King of Moab tells Balaam to curse Israel
and twice more he blesses them instead. Even though
Balaam was disobedient God still used him to bless His
Later Balaam’s sin costs
him his life when he is killed for enticing the
Israelite men to take Moabite wives when God told Israel
to kill all of the Moabites
(Num. 25:14-16 & 31:8,16).
The New Testament mentions
Balaam three times and each time he is used as an
example of a hypocritical teacher who betrays God’s
people for money
(2 Peter 2:15, Jude 11, Revelation