Numbers 23-24: The unintended prophesy of Balaam, part 2

Bilam (Balaam) is not a member of God’s covenant and was a foreigner to them, although he was from the land of Aram, the ancestral homeland of Abraham. Yet, God saw fit to give him His words, His visions and to Bilam and use Bilam as God’s instrument among the people.

However, Bilam also had his own mind and wanted his own way. When Balak, king of Moab offered him great riches to curse Israel, greed and pride got a hold of him. He was torn. He wanted to obey Balak’s request yet he knew that God had no intention to curse His people.

To make sure that Bilam did not change His words, he sent the Angel of the LORD to make sure he understood the seriousness of this situation and scared him straight. 

When Bilam arrives in Moab, Balak sets up seven altars and sacrificed the appropriate animals and Bilam asked the Lord for the words and he spoke them.

The animals offered by Balak had symbolic relevance. The ox or cow sacrifice is symbolic of Balak’s status as a prince and king of his people. The ram was symbolic of Balak’s desire for God to listen to his request.

The number seven is also symbolic of perfection and completeness.

The first words out of Bilam’s mouth in the first oracle, he tells Balak that he cannot curse Israel because God has not cursed them. Balak ignores this comment and continues to take Bilam to various mountains and repeats the sacrificial rituals on three occasions to try to find a vantage point that might cause Bilam (and God) to curse Israel as he wants them to, but Balak’s plans fail.

Bilam also prophesies that Israel will always be a nation that stands alone, they will not be among the nations, but Bilam doesn’t only prophesy about the future of Israel but also about the future of her neighbors.

“Who can count the dust of Jacob, Or number the fourth part of Israel?” During the first blessing, Bilam could only see the group of Israel on the east side, which is represented by Judah and his companions.

Bilam later tells Balak that God does not lie and he does not repent. When God says He will do something, He will do it. Bilam also admits his own powerless to say anything other than what God wants him to say.

The third time, Bilam again has Balak offer the seven animals on the seven altars. This time, the words change and Bilam’s manner changes. This time the Spirit of God come upon him. This time, Bilam’s eyes were opened in a special way. He saw the vision of Shaddai (שַׁדַּי, Strong’s lexicon No. H7703), which is translated in most versions as “The Almighty” but a more literal translation is “the Destroyer”  because that is what God did during the great flood.

The nations around Israel will be toppled over, but Israel will remain a unique people.

God also says that Moab specifically will be crushed by a future king of Israel and even the son of Seth will be overturned.

He speaks of Edom as becoming a possession of the future king of Israel and Amalek, who was a grandson of Esau/Edom was considered “first among the nations” but Bilam prophesies Amalek’s ultimate destruction. All the nations mentioned in Bilam’s last prophesy have attempted to destroy and replace Israel, but God turns the tables and destroys them instead.

Israel will not stand among the nations. God will destroy these nations someday but Israel will remain.

After Bilam gives all the prophesies, he left Balak and went home.

Reader: Dave De Fever. Speaker: Richard Agee. Summary: Tammy.

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