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.
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.
Everyone loves a story about talking animals, especially smart ones. But the account in the Torah reading בָּלָק Balak isn’t just fodder for a fun animated kids’ movie. It’s an important lesson that God wants us to recognize false prophets and not follow them.
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.
- What is the significance of the numbers 3 and 7?
- Seven altars are mentioned three times
- What was Balak trying to accomplish?
- How did the goyim (Hebrew for “nations”) know the bull and ram were the offerings?
- Who was the prophet to the goyim at tht time?
- What was the connection between Balak’s three attempts to “change God’s mind” and the approach of the goyim to their gods?
- Where was Israel at the time?
- What terrified Balak about Israel’s victory over Aram (Num. 23:18 JPS)?
- What is so prophetic about Balaam’s oracle (Num. 23:18–24)?
- What does it mean “there is no sorcery against Jacob” and “no divination against Israel”?
- What is meant in Num. 23:10 “count the dust of Jacob” and “number a one-1oth of Israel”?
- Why is Jacob first and Israel second?
- What is the difference, considering dust is a prophetic symbol for the “offspring of Jacob”?
- When is iniquity no longer found in Jacob? What does Yom haKippurim predict?
- Does does that bring in no more “divine” action or divination against Jacob and Israel?
- How does this relate to the Apostle Paul’s statement that “all Israel will be saved” (Romans 11:26)?
- How is Num. 23:21 prophetic of the monarchy period of Israel?
- How is this a prediction of the Messiah.
- When will Jacob and Israel rise and go to war against goyim as in Num. 23:24?
- How do we know there were seven princes from Moab?
- What are the goyim waiting for?
- Why has God been blessing Israel?
- Why has God been blessing the United States?