Showing posts from March 17, 2019

Balaam, The Rest of the Story

King Balak of Moab wanted to curse Israel and three times asked Balaam to do it, but each time Balaam blessed Israel. Frustrated Balak acted just like Balaam did when his donkey kept diverting from the angel of the Lord who was standing in front of them on the way. Balak verbally beat up Balaam three times. Balaam becomes the donkey that takes the beating but talks back to make Balak aware of a larger context including God. This experience left Balaam without any reward and Balak without any curse on Israel. But we see indications in a later passage that Balaam didn't go home. He counseled Balak and the Midianites aligned with him in another way to defeat Israel. The book of Numbers says, the Midianites were the ones "who followed Balaam's advice and caused the people of Israel to rebel against the Lord at Mount Peor" (Numbers 31:16). Balaam showed Balak how to trip up Israel. He taught them to use their women to entice the Israelites into sin by eating food offered t…