The prophet Bilam (Balaam) is not an isolated individual, an anomaly in Scripture. He was not the first or last emissary to the Gentiles. God did not leave them without guidance. Bilam is a foreshadowing of the ministry of Saul of Tarsus, aka the apostle Paul, whose experience on the road to Damascus echoes the account in the Torah reading בָּלָק Balak of Bilam’s experience with a “recalcitrant” she-donkey.
Our sins affect other people, including our children and grandchildren. God said the northern kingdom, the House of Israel, were so far gone, so utterly unrepentant that God’s only recourse was to send 90 percent of them to the grave and the other 10 percent into exile.
The culture and economy of Israel’s royals, nobles and judges were so entrenched in the oppression of the poor, the righteous and the just that God couldn’t do anything with them except wipe them out. Their exile has endured for millennia and is still in force to this day.
The exile of the House of Israel will only end when Messiah Yeshua returns to the earth.
Amos is warning the people of Israel that although the nations around them have committed heinous sins but Israel’s sins are even worse. Israel could easily see the failures of the nations but they could not see their own failures. Amos is trying to take the veil off their eyes. He wants Israel to look inward at themselves.