The Opposition of Balak, His Asking Balaam to Curse the Children of Israel and Balaam’s Ass
Numbers 22 brings the fear of Balak of the Israelites and his going to ask Balaam to place a curse upon the children of Israel.
22:5-25:18 OPPOSITION OF BALAK (Repeated Alternation)
22:5-20 Balak's messages to Baalim.
22:21-35 Baalim's journey.
22:36-40 Balak's reception of Baalim.
22:41-24:25 Baalim's four prophesies.
Numbers 22:1 And the children of Israel set forward, and pitched in the plains of Moab on this side Jordan by Jericho. -> The Israelites are leaving the lands of the Amorites and are now set to cross over the Jordan River to enter into Jericho.
Numbers 22:2 And Balak the son of Zippor saw all that Israel had done to the Amorites. -> Balak saw what the Israelites did to the Amorites and Bashanites when they slew Sihon and Og and possessed their lands, and he is thinking to himself that he doesn’t want that to happen to him, his people and his lands.
Numbers 22:3 And Moab was sore afraid of the People, because they were many: and Moab was distressed because of the children of Israel. -> So just who are the Moabites? To find the answer to this we need to go back to Genesis 13:8 And Abram said unto Lot, Let there be no strife, I pray thee, between me and thee, and between my herdmen and thy herdmen; for we be brethren. -> They were brethren, Abraham was Lot's uncle and as such, he didn't want any contention with or between his nephew, so they are going to separate themselves in order that each has his own land for his flocks to graze upon. [13:9] Is not the whole land before thee? separate thyself, I pray thee, from me: if thou wilt take the left hand, then I will go to the right; or if thou depart to the right hand, then I will go to the left. -> Abraham was being very fair with his nephew, he was allowing Lot to choose which lands he wanted for himself.
[13:10] And Lot lifted up his eyes, and beheld all the plain of Jordan, that it was well watered every where, before the LORD destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah, even as the garden of the LORD, like the land of Egypt, as thou comest unto Zoar. -> Notice that are by the Jordan River, they are actually in the future site of the Promised Land - Canaan, where Father will bring Abraham's descendants to when He uses Moses to bring them up out of Egypt. But here, Lot surveys all the lands before him and likes what he sees - a land with much water for his flocks. [13:11] Then Lot chose him all the plain of Jordan; and Lot journeyed east: and they separated themselves the one from the other. -> Lot chose the east side of the Jordan River allowing his uncle Abraham to have the west side of the Jordan River. So as it is now, in the future, the land that Lot has chosen will be occupied by the Tribes of Reuben, Gad and half the Tribe of Manasseh, while Abraham has the lands on the west side of the Jordan River which will be occupied by the rest of the Tribes. Abraham will move into Mamre (which is Hebron), and then in approximately one hundred years from now there will be a famine and Jacob and his sons will move down into Egypt for four hundred years, thereby allowing the iniquity of the Amorites to be fulfuilled in this - the land of Canaan. [13:12] Abram dwelled in the land of Canaan, and Lot dwelled in the cities of the plain, and pitched his tent toward Sodom. -> We know what happened next to Sodom and Gomorrah and Lot’s wife so we’ll continue in Genesis 19:30 And Lot went up out of Zoar, and dwelt in the mountain, and his two daughters with him; for he feared to dwell in Zoar: and he dwelt in a cave, he and his two daughters. -> Lot feared to be in Zoar because that was where he had been taken captive and Abraham had had to come and rescue him, so he wanted nothing to do with Zoar or the people there. [19:31] And the firstborn said unto the younger, Our father is old, and there is not a man in the earth to come in unto us after the manner of all the earth: -> When Lot and his daughters fled Sodom they thought they were the last people on earth, that Father had destroyed all other lands and people on the earth. So the daughters devise a plan to replenish the earth. [19:32] Come, let us make our father drink wine, and we will lie with him, that we may preserve seed of our father. -> They figure that in order to repopulate the earth, they will each have to lay with their father and have children by him. [19:33] And they made their father drink wine that night: and the firstborn went in, and lay with her father; and he perceived not when she lay down, nor when she arose. -> First the eldest when in unto him. [19:34] And it came to pass on the morrow, that the firstborn said unto the younger, Behold, I lay yesternight with my father: let us make him drink wine this night also; and go thou in, and lie with him, that we may preserve seed of our father. -> . [19:35] And they made their father drink wine that night also: and the younger arose, and lay with him; and he perceived not when she lay down, nor when she arose. -> . [19:36] Thus were both the daughters of Lot with child by their father. -> . [19:37] And the firstborn bare a son, and called his name Moab: the same is the father of the Moabites unto this day. -> . [19:38] And the younger, she also bare a son, and called his name Benammi: the same is the father of the children of Ammon unto this day. -> The Israelites are now encamped on the east side of the Jordan River in Zoar the plains of Jordan and are about to conquer the Moabites, the sons of Lot by his eldest daughter. Zoar in the Hebrew in the Strong’s is word number H6820 and means “little,” but is taken from H6819 which means to “be brought low.” This is the land that Lot decided he wanted when he and his uncle Abraham split in Genesis 13:7.
Numbers 22:4 And Moab said unto the elders of Midian, “Now shall this company lick up all that are round about us, as the ox licketh up the grass of the field.” And Balak the son of Zippor was king of the Moabites at that time.
22:5-20 BALAK'S MESSAGES TO BAALIM (Extended Alternation)
22:5-6 First message.
Numbers 22:5 He sent messengers therefore unto Balaam the son of Beor to Pethor, which is by the river of the land of the children of his people, to call him, saying, “Behold, there is a People come out of Egypt: behold, they cover the face of the earth, and they abide over against me: -> Balaam=Here is in the Greek and not the Hebrew because in Hebrew it is Bil’am and we can compare it with II Peter 2:15 Which have forsaken the right way, and are gone astray, following the way of Balaam the son of Bosor, who loved the wages of unrighteousness; [2:16] But was rebuked for his iniquity: the dumb ass speaking with man's voice forbad the madness of the prophet. -> Balaam in the Greek means: Mesopotamian (symbolic of a false teacher.)
Balaam was a spiritist or medium whose name was found on a list by Moses of Edomite kings; but, according to the Tel-el-Amarna tablets, he was a Hittite chieftain who established a kingdom for himself: and died while fighting against Israel by the side of his Midianite allies. See Bullinger’s note in the Companion Bible concerning this verse and the Tel-el-Amarna Tablets, also read write-up concerning same.
abide=Sit ready for war after having subdued the Amorites.
Numbers 22:6 Come now therefore, I pray thee, curse me this People; for they are too mighty for me: peradventure I shall prevail, that we may smite them, and that I may drive them out of the land: for I wot that he whom thou blessest is blessed, and he whom thou cursest is cursed." -> Balak is asking this spiritist (Balaam) to curse his enemies because he knows he cannot defeat them in battle, and when he is asking to curse them, he is really asking to speak evil against, as to effect rather than as to the act.
Numbers 22:7 And the elders of Moab and the elders of Midian departed with the rewards of divination in their hand; and they came unto Balaam, and spake unto him the words of Balak. -> This “reward of divination” is the money that procures the divinations, very much like “Buying indulgences.”
Numbers 22:8 And he said unto them, “Lodge here this night, and I will bring you word again, as the LORD shall speak unto me:” and the princes of Moab abode with Balaam. -> Balaam knows the YHVH but, we’ll see if YHVH will speak with Balaam, if He does whether it will be good or bad and whether or not Balaam will listen to YHVH. Remember though Balak is asking Balaam to curse the children of Israel, YHVH’s holy People.
Numbers 22:9 And God came unto Balaam, and said, “What men are these with thee?” -> YHVH knows who they are and their purpose for Balaam but He is looking to see if Balaam is going to be truthful to Him.
Notice also the change here in this verse from YHVH, the covenant God, to Elohim, the creator speaking to one of His creation.
Numbers 22:10 And Balaam said unto God, “Balak the son of Zippor, king of Moab, hath sent unto me saying, -> So far Balaam is being truthful.
Numbers 22:11 Behold, there is a People come out of Egypt, which covereth the face of the earth: come now, curse me them; peradventure I shall be able to overcome them, and drive them out.’” -> Balaam didn’t hide anything from YHVH nor did he lie to Him.
The word “curse” here in this verse is different from in the next verse. Here is in the Strong’s it is Hebrew word number H6895 Qabab; pronounced kaw-bab’ and means: to stab or pierce with words., and is only found coming from Balak and Balaam, and can be found coming from them seven other times. In v22:12 and so on in the Strong’s it is word number H779 Arar; pronounced aw-rar’ and means to bitterly curse..
22:12-14 Forbidden by God (absolutely)
Numbers 22:12 And God said unto Balaam, “Thou shalt not go with them; thou shalt not curse the people: for they are blessed.” -> Elohim tells Balaam to not go with the Moabites and to not curse the Israelites. This denial of permission to go with them is emphatic and different from verse 20 where it is conditional.
Numbers 22:13 And Balaam rose up in the morning, and said unto the princes of Balak, “Get you into your land: for the LORD refuseth to give me leave to go with you.” -> Balaam is paying attention here and tells the princes of Moab to go back home and that he will not be going with them. Notice now also that he switches back to saying YHVH, the covenant God.
Notice though that Balaam didn’t tell these princes that YHVH said Not to curse the Israelites, he made no mention of this at all.
Numbers 22:14 And the princes of Moab rose up, and they went unto Balak, and said, “Balaam refuseth to come with us.” -> Will Balak like the news from these princes?
Notice the princes left off the fact that Balaam told them that the LORD refused to allow him to go with them.
22:15 Second Message.
Numbers 22:15 And Balak sent yet again princes, more, and more honourable than they. -> Think these will fare any better?
Numbers 22:16 And they came to Balaam, and said to him, “Thus saith Balak the son of Zippor, ‘Let nothing, I pray thee, hinder thee from coming unto me:
Numbers 22:17 For I will promote thee unto very great honour, and I will do whatsoever thou sayest unto me: come therefore, I pray thee, curse me this People.’” -> Think Balak can promote Balaam to any better honor than YHVH?
Numbers 22:18 And Balaam answered and said unto the servants of Balak, “If Balak would give me his house full of silver and gold, I cannot go beyond the words of the LORD my God, to do less or more.” -> Here Balaam is being very wise to say all and addressing Father as both YHVH and Elohim. He is also being very obedient to YHVH.
Numbers 22:19 Now therefore, I pray you, tarry ye also here this night, that I may know what the LORD will say unto me more.” -> Balaam is telling the princes to stay there with him all night so that if YHVH talks to Balaam, Balaam in turn can immediately tell Balak, through the princes, what YHVH said.
22:20 Permitted by God (Conditionally)
Numbers 22:20 And God came unto Balaam at night, and said unto him, “If the men come to call thee, rise up, and go with them; but yet the word which I shall say unto thee, that shalt thou do.” -> Notice that YHVH gave Balaam a conditional “if” in this verse. It is a condition that we’ll see that Balaam fails to meet. Notice also, that again The Covenant God is changed to The Creator in this verse. Notice also how this verse is as it will be during the time we are delivered up to the anti-christ, “but yet the word which I shall say unto thee, that shalt thou do.”
22:21-35 BALAAM'S JOURNEY (Introversion, with Repeated and Extended Alternation)
22:21 Journey commenced.
Numbers 22:21 And Balaam rose up in the morning, and saddled his ass, and went with the princes of Moab. -> Balaam saddled his ass and went without waiting for them to come to him. So, in other words, he didn’t meet the requirements of the condition that YHVH gave, and because he didn’t meet this condition, we’ll see YHVH’s anger.
We now come to a portion in YHVH’s word that I like, because it shows that YHVH can –and will-- utilize any creature that He created to get our attention. I think we see a little bit of humor from the Lord, here, too.
22:22 Anger of God.
22:22 The angel.
Numbers 22:22 And God’s anger was kindled because he went: and the Angel of the LORD stood in the way for an adversary against him. Now he was riding upon his ass, and his two servants were with him. -> Note again, this is the Creator (Elohim) and not Covenant God (YHVH).
Note also that this verse says he “went,” meaning he was really going, emphasizing the fact that Balaam was doing this against YHVH, and showing that the condition was not really meant as a condition but, was said in facetiousness. In other words, YHVH did not want Balaam to go with them at all, hence the angel of the LORD stood in his way.
22:23 The ass.
Numbers 22:23 And the ass saw the Angel of the LORD standing in the way, and His sword drawn in His hand: and the ass turned aside out of the way, and went into the field: and Balaam smote the ass, to turn her into the way. -> Balaam thinks his ass is turning aside because it just doesn’t want to act right but, YHVH revealed Himself to Balaam’s ass here but not to Balaam himself yet. YHVH has His sword in His hand ready to smite Balaam, so really, his ass is saving Balaam’s life--but Balaam doesn’t know that.
22:24 The angel.
Numbers 22:24 But the Angel of the LORD stood in a path of the vineyards, a wall being on this side, and a wall on that side. -> There really was no place for Balaam’s ass to go, it really was just trying to save its master’s life.
22:25 The ass.
Numbers 22:25 And when the ass saw the Angel of the LORD, she thrust herself unto the wall, and crushed Balaam’s foot against the wall. -> She was trying to get his attention, but, he wouldn’t listen. Why wouldn’t he listen? Because YHVH has his eyes closed to this point; but, He’ll open them in the not too distant future. This is just as it is with most Christians today-- their eyes are closed by YHVH.
22:26 The angel.
Numbers 22:26 And the Angel of the LORD went further, and stood in a narrow place, where was no way to turn either to the right hand or to the left. -> YHVH and Balaam’s ass are really trying to get Balaam’s attention, but he’s just not getting it. I like the word “narrow” here because in the Hebrew is means “tight place” and that is exactly what Balaam is in here a “tight spot.”
22:27 The ass.
Numbers 22:27 And when the ass saw the Angel of the LORD, she fell down under Balaam: and Balaam’s anger was kindled, and he smote the ass with a staff. -> Here we have Balaam’s ass trying to save Balaam from being smitten by YHVH, and what does he do, but smite his ass.
22:28-35 Rebuke by YHVH.
22:28-35 REBUKE BY YHVH (Alternation and Introversion)
22:28 By the ass. Ass's mouth opened.
22:28 The ass.
Numbers 22:28 And the LORD opened the mouth of the ass, and she said unto Balaam, “What have I done unto thee, that thou hast smitten me these three times? -> This should have gotten Balaam attention but as we’ll see, Balaam doesn’t bat an eye and answers his talking ass. YHVH opens the mouth of Balaam’s ass here and shortly He will open the eyes of Balaam himself.
Don’t lose the fact that it was YHVH Who opened the ass’s mouth here; so that it spoke. We can compare this here, with satan as Revelation 12:9 and Revelation 20:2 both declare "that old serpent" speaking to Eve in Genesis 3, but yet a serpent doesn’t have the organs of speech, but do people consider that when they read Genesis 3? No.
Numbers 22:29 And Balaam said unto the ass, “Because thou hast mocked me: I would there were a sword in my hand, for now I would kill thee. -> Balaam truly is lucky here because YHVH could have smote him at any time He wanted to, just like He did with Nadab and Abihu. Balaam is so angry that he’ll speak to his ass and tell her he wants to kill her, but yet he doesn’t consider the astonishing fact that she spoke to him.
22:30 The ass.
Numbers 22:30 And the ass said unto Balaam, “Am not I thine ass, upon which thou hast ridden ever since I was thine unto this day? Was I ever wont to do so unto thee?” And he said, “Nay." -> Again, Balaam is not shocked by his ass speaking to him; he just answers her like he is talking to another human being. He replies to her that “no, you’ve never done me wrong before,” but, he doesn’t ask then why she is doing so now.
22:31 By the angel. Baalim's eyes opened.
Numbers 22:31 Then the LORD opened the eyes of Balaam, and he saw the Angel of the LORD standing in the way, and His sword drawn in His hand: and he bowed down his head, and fell flat on his face. -> Yes, now YHVH has opened Balaam’s eyes and what does Balaam do? He immediately bows himself down, in other words, he prostrates himself on the ground, and I’m sure inside he is wailing and gnashing his teeth, just like it will be at the end after Father opens the eyes of those that bowed to the anti-christ.
22:32-33 The angel.
Numbers 22:32 And the Angel of the LORD said, unto him, “Wherefore hast thou smitten thine ass these three times? Behold, I went out to withstand thee, because thy way is perverse before Me:
Numbers 22:33 And the ass saw Me, and turned from Me these three times: unless she had turned from Me, surely now also I had slain thee, and saved her alive.” -> In speaking with Balaam in this verse, YHVH really emphasized the pro-nouns “thee” and “her.” YHVH is telling Balaam that he is only alive now because his ass saved him by doing what she did.
Numbers 22:34 And Balaam said unto the Angel of the LORD, “I have sinned: for I knew not that Thou stoodest in the way against me: now therefore, if it displeases Thee, I will get me back again. -> Balaam knows now that yes, he has sinned and he is apologizing to YHVH and he “gives” Him his permission to do as He wishes to Balaam. This is how we to should be when we realize that we have sinned against YHVH.
Sinned=As used in this verse is Hebrew word H2398 châṭâ'; pronounced khaw-taw' and means: A primitive root; properly to miss; hence (figuratively and generally) to sin; by inference to forfeit, lack, expiate, repent, (causatively) lead astray, condemn: - bear the blame, cleanse, commit [sin], by fault, harm he hath done, loss, miss, (make) offend (-er), offer for sin, purge, purify (self), make reconciliation, (cause, make) sin (-ful, -ness), trespassive. .
22:35 Journey completed.
22:35 The angel.
Numbers 22:35 And the Angel of the LORD said unto Balaam, “Go with the men: but only the word that I shall speak unto thee, that thou shalt speak.” So Balaam went with the princes of Balak. -> But only the word that I speak unto thee, that thou shalt speak=I like this in this verse because this is the only way YHVH’s word should be given! He HAS already spoken it and it should be taught this way: chapter-by-chapter, verse-by-verse. YHVH gives us--man--limited permission to speak His word.
22:36-40 BALAK'S RECEPTION OF BAALIM (First day)
22:36 Meeting (At frontier).
Numbers 22:36 And when Balak heard that Balaam was come, he went out to meet him unto a city of Moab, which is in the border of Arnon, which is in the utmost coast. -> They are on the border of Moab and Arnon and Balak is now thinking yeah, the one that can curse his enemy is finally here to curse them for him.
Numbers 22:37 And Balak said unto Balaam, “Did I not earnestly send unto thee to call thee? Wherefore camest thou not unto me? Am I not able indeed to promote thee unto honour? -> Balak thinks of himself and has trust in himself, as is usually the case with man, the unGodly man that he is.
Numbers 22:38 And Balaam said unto Balak, “Lo, I am come unto thee: have I now any power at all to say any thing? The word that God putteth in my mouth, that shall I speak.” -> Balaam has finally gotten the message, now the question remains, “Will Balak?”
Note again that in this verse it is “the creator” and not “the Covenant God.”
22:39 Accompanying (To Kirjath-huzoth).
Numbers 22:39 And Balaam went with Balak, and they came unto Kirjath-huzoth.
Numbers 22:40 And Balak offered oxen and sheep, and sent to Balaam, and to the princes that were with him.
22:41-24:25 BAALIM'S PROPHESIES (Second day): (Division).
22:41-23:26 With enchantments.
23:27-24:25 Without enchantments.
22:41-23:26 WITH ENCHANTMENTS (Extended Alternation).
22:41 First station: High places.
Numbers 22:41 And it came to pass on the morrow, that Balak took Balaam, and brought him up into the high places of Baal, that thence he might see the utmost part of the People. -> What we have here is an excellent “type or - pattern” for the anti-christ because we can compare verses v22:37-41 here with Matthew 4:8 Again the devil taketh Him up into an exceeding high mountain, and sheweth Him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them; [4:9] And saith unto Him, “All these will I give Thee, if Thou wilt fall down and worship me.”.