A talking donkey may seem like fodder for a cartoon, but this passage — בָּלָק Balak, Num. 22:2-25:9 — contains a very real message for Israel about its future and the Messiah. Often, the Creator uses what we don’t expect — an animal, a prophet not of Israel — to shake up the complacent and underscore the gravity of the situation.
The traditional companion reading (haftarah) for Parashat Balak is Mic. 5:6–6:8.
Listen to recorded discussions and read notes from studies by Hallel Fellowship teacher Richard.
Parashah: Num. 22:2-25:9
Skeptics like to poke fun at this story because of the talking donkey. Yet sometimes, our way is so set upon evil that a talking donkey doesn’t even phase us and give us pause to turn away from our direction. Balaam wasn’t ignorant of the identity of the Creator God. He knew YHWH by name, and Balak, the king of Moab, knew of Him too.
If Balaam knew that, then he knew that God had the power to make a donkey talk. Balaam didn’t fully understand the error of his way until one of the most powerful messengers in God’s hosts, the Angel of YHWH, confronts him with a sword in his hand.
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.
Though he was reluctant to pass it along, Balaam’s prophecy would stretch long into the future of Israel and foretell actions of the Messiah.
The cryptic lines of Balaam’s reluctant blessing of Israel contains pictures of what Israel should expect in its Messiah.
Recent posts in Torah
- Parashat Tetzaveh (תצוה): Exodus 27:20-30:10 - February 18th, 2018
- Exodus 25:1–27:19: How thankful are we for our Savior? - February 17th, 2018
- Parashat Terumah (תרומה): Exodus 25:1–27:19 - February 11th, 2018
- Parshat Mishpatim (משפטים): Exodus 21:1–24:18 - February 4th, 2018
- Exodus 18–20: Ten Commandments reveal the Creator and Savior of Israel and the world - February 3rd, 2018
- Parashat Yitro (יתרו): Exodus 18:1–20:23 - January 28th, 2018
- Exodus 13:17–17:16: Are you ready to enter God's rest? 5 questions to ask yourself - January 27th, 2018
- Parashat Beshalach (בשלח): Exodus 13:17-17:16 - January 21st, 2018
- Parashat Bo (בוא): Exodus 10:1–13:16 - January 14th, 2018
- Parashat Va'era (וארא): Exodus 6:2-9:35 - January 7th, 2018
- Parashat Shemot (שמות): Exodus 1:1-6:1 - December 31st, 2017
- Parashat Vayechi (ויחי): Genesis 47:28–50:26 - December 24th, 2017
- Parashat Vayigash (ויגש): Genesis 44:18–47:27 - December 17th, 2017
- Chanukah: Dare to be a Daniel, Joseph, Judas Maccabeus - December 16th, 2017
- Parashat Miketz (מקץ): Genesis 41:1–44:17 - December 10th, 2017
- Genesis 37–40: Joseph and Judah's school of hard knocks - December 9th, 2017
- Parashat Vayeshev (וישב): Genesis 37:1–40:23 - December 3rd, 2017
- Genesis 32:3–36:43: Peace on Earth depends on a transformed you - December 2nd, 2017
- Parashat Vayishlach (וישלח): Genesis 32:3–36:43 - November 26th, 2017
- Genesis 28:10–32:2: Messiah seeks 'the lost sheep of Israel' - November 25th, 2017