Studies in Torah

Parashat Balak (בלק): Numbers 22:2-25:9

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

Numbers 22:1-25:9: God sent emissaries to the Gentiles too

Numbers 22: The unintended prophesy of Balaam, part 1

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.

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.

Numbers 23: Balaam prophesies of Israel and Messiah

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.

Numbers 24: Balaam sees Messiah’s not-yet coming

The cryptic lines of Balaam’s reluctant blessing of Israel contains pictures of what Israel should expect in its Messiah.

Luke 19:29-40, part 2: Donkeys in Scripture point to Messiah’s entry to Yerushalayim


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