Notes: Numbers 23-25

Numbers 23-25

Bible Narrative Project

If the scuffle with the donkey wasn’t funny enough, check out the frustration of Balak in response to Balaam’s repeated prophecies. First, Balaam blesses Israel instead of cursing them, so Balak says, hey, if we go somewhere else, maybe God will want to curse Israel. Second, Balaam blesses them again and recounts what God has done for them and Balak says, rather than bless or curse them, say nothing at all. Then he says maybe a new place will change God’s mind. This third time Balaam does not go to seek omens like he did the first two times, but just faces the wilderness and God speaks through him. Now Balaam’s eyes are opened. But Balak says the Lord has held back his honor from Balaam and refuses to pay him. Balaam continues to prophecy until he is done, then they go their separate ways. After all this victory, Israel in the next chapter is back to the same old stuff, this time by worshipping Baal. See 31:16, which suggests Balaam had something to do with their rebellion. Perhaps instead of being grateful to God for delivering them from Balak, they were grateful to Balaam and so showed gratitude to Baal (at his suggestion? why???)?

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