Israel then turned back south to Moab now freed from the Amorites; and instead of welcoming their liberators Moab was sore afraid of Israel
22:1 And the children of Israel set forward, and pitched in the plains of Moab on this side Jordan by Jericho.
Balak was ruler of Moab and was greatly afraid because of Israel’s destruction of the Amorites.
22:2 And Balak the son of Zippor saw all that Israel had done to the Amorites. 22:3 And Moab was sore afraid of the people, because they were many: and Moab was distressed because of the children of Israel. 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.
Balak sends messengers to Balaam because Balaam had a great reputation to bless and to curse effectively. Balak asks Balaam to curse Israel, the called out of Egypt and the wife of Christ.
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 from Egypt: behold, they cover the face of the earth, and they abide over against me: 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.
The messengers brought with them payment for Balaam; this being rewards of divination. I have heard some imply that Balaam was a man of God, how they could get this idea about this wicked satanic man is beyond understanding. Balaam was a diviner and magician who’s workings were by the power of Satan.
He had great power by Satan, yet Satan and his instruments are limited by God in what they are allowed to do.
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.
Balaam then inquires of God as to what he may do. This is not strange considering that Satan appears before God to give an account of his doings (Job 1:6-8).
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.
God speaks to Balaam and Balaam makes his request
22:9 And God came unto Balaam, and said, What men are these with thee? 22:10 And Balaam said unto God, Balak the son of Zippor, king of Moab, hath sent unto me, saying, 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.
God forbids cursing Israel; and calls them blessed
22:12 And God said unto Balaam, Thou shalt not go with them; thou shalt not curse the people: for they are blessed.
Balaam informs the messengers that he has been refused permission to go with them to curse Israel. We should begin to get the picture that even though Satan is the God of this world, he is limited by the Eternal in what he may do. The God family is always in charge and in full control.
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.
The messengers returned to the king and the king sent them back to Balaam with offers of greater rewards.
22:14 And the princes of Moab rose up, and they went unto Balak, and said, Balaam refuseth to come with us.
22:15 And Balak sent yet again princes, more, and more honourable than they. 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: 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.
Balaam then admits that he is completely limited by the Word of God; so it is in this end time. When we have trials we are to run to our Mighty Deliverer who has power over every work of Satan.
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 word of the LORD my God, to do less or more.
Yet, Balaam was enticed by the offers, decides to ask God once more
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.
God allows Balaam to go with the men, but admonishes him to speak only the words which God tells him.
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. 22:21 And Balaam rose up in the morning, and saddled his ass, and went with the princes of Moab.
God was angry because Balaam wanted to take a reward from the king to curse those whom God had blessed. And he sent his angel to threaten to kill Balaam, in order to impress upon him that he must say only what God would tell him say.
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. 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.
The ass seeing the angel tried to turn away in a narrow lane and crushed the foot of Balaam against a wall
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. 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: and he smote her again.
The angel went a little distance further, where the ass on seeing him refused to go further and laid down.
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. 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.
Then the ass was made to speak the words of God
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? 22:29 And Balaam said unto the ass, Because thou hast mocked me: I would there were a sword in mine hand, for now would I kill thee. 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.
Then Balaam’s eyes were opened so that he could see why the ass had tried to stop
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.
The angel tells Balaam that his life had been saved by his ass
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: 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.
Obviously, normally asses cannot speak, and this ass was allowed to speak by God’s power so that Balaam would be thoroughly warned to say ONLY those things that God wanted said.
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 displease thee, I will get me back again. 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.
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.
Balaam now warns Balak that he may speak only the word that God gives him; regardless of any reward
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 to honour? 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.
22:39 And Balaam went with Balak, and they came unto Kirjathhuzoth. 22:40 And Balak offered [sacrificed to his gods] oxen and sheep, and sent to Balaam, and to the princes that were with him. 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 [of Israel].
Balaam sought to entice God with offerings; making offerings with evil in his heart.
How many today make big offerings in an attempt to ease their consciences while having malice or some evil like Sabbath pollution in their hearts? How many people give a large High Day offering and then rush out to pollute the High Day by buying in a restaurant?
Numbers 23:1 And Balaam said unto Balak, Build me here seven altars, and prepare me here seven oxen and seven rams. 23:2 And Balak did as Balaam had spoken; and Balak and Balaam offered on every altar a bullock and a ram. 23:3 And Balaam said unto Balak, Stand by thy burnt offering, and I will go: peradventure the LORD will come to meet me: and whatsoever he sheweth me I will tell thee. And he went to an high place.
God commands Balaam concerning what he should speak
23:4 And God met Balaam: and he said unto him, I have prepared seven altars, and I have offered upon every altar a bullock and a ram. 23:5 And the LORD put a word in Balaam’s mouth, and said, Return unto Balak, and thus thou shalt speak.
23:6 And he [Balaam] returned unto him [king Balak], and, lo, he stood by his burnt sacrifice, he, and all the princes of Moab.
Then Balaam declared the word of God to the king
23:7 And he took up his parable, and said, Balak the king of Moab hath brought me from Aram, out of the mountains of the east, saying, Come, curse me Jacob, and come, defy Israel.
Jacob [Israel] is blessed by God through the words of Balaam
23:8 How shall I curse, whom God hath not cursed? or how shall I defy, whom the LORD hath not defied? 23:9 For from the top of the rocks I see him, and from the hills I behold him: lo, the people shall dwell alone, and shall not be reckoned among the nations.
23:10 Who can count the dust of Jacob, and the number of the fourth part of Israel? Let me die the death of the righteous, and let my last end be like his!
Balak who paid for a curse is enraged that a blessing is accounted to Israel
23:11 And Balak said unto Balaam, What hast thou done unto me? I took thee to curse mine enemies, and, behold, thou hast blessed them altogether. 23:12 And he answered and said, Must I not take heed to speak that which the LORD hath put in my mouth?
Balak tries to get a curse on Israel from Balaam again.
23:13 And Balak said unto him, Come, I pray thee, with me unto another place, from whence thou mayest see them: thou shalt see but the utmost part of them, and shalt not see them all: and curse me them from thence. 23:14 And he brought him into the field of Zophim, to the top of Pisgah, and built seven altars, and offered a bullock and a ram on every altar.
Balaam then again consults with the God whop later gave up his Godhood to become flesh as Jesus Christ, apparently unaware of the fact that this God was the Husband of Israel and that he was asking a Husband to curse his beloved wife.
23:15 And he said unto Balak, Stand here by thy burnt offering, while I meet the LORD yonder.
God tells Balaam what to say
23:16 And the LORD met Balaam, and put a word in his mouth, and said, Go again unto Balak, and say thus. 23:17 And when he came to him, behold, he stood by his burnt offering, and the princes of Moab with him. And Balak said unto him, What hath the LORD spoken?
Balaam admits that he cannot reverse the Word of God
23:18 And he took up his parable, and said, Rise up, Balak, and hear; hearken unto me, thou son of Zippor: 23:19 God is not a man, that he should lie; neither the son of man, that he should repent: hath he said, and shall he not do it? or hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good? 23:20 Behold, I have received commandment to bless: and he hath blessed; and I cannot reverse it.
This statement is now about both physical Israel and the resurrected spiritual Israel.
23:21 He hath not beheld iniquity in Jacob, neither hath he seen perverseness in Israel: the LORD his God is with him, and the shout of a king is among them. 23:22 God brought them out of Egypt; he hath as it were the strength of an unicorn.
Just as physical Israel overcame many enemies by the power of the God who later became flesh as Christ, to take possession of the physical promised land; so the faithful of spiritual Israel shall also overcome all adversity to steadfastly conquer sin, by the power of our Mighty One.
23:23 Surely there is no enchantment against Jacob, neither is there any divination against Israel: according to this time it shall be said of Jacob and of Israel, What hath God wrought! 23:24 Behold, the people shall rise up as a great lion, and lift up himself as a young lion: he shall not lie down until he eat of the prey, and drink the blood of the slain.
Balak commands Balaam not to speak of Israel again, because he does not want Israel blessed
23:25 And Balak said unto Balaam, Neither curse them at all, nor bless them at all. 23:26 But Balaam answered and said unto Balak, Told not I thee, saying, All that the LORD speaketh, that I must do?
Balak later asks Balaam to try one more time
23:27 And Balak said unto Balaam, Come, I pray thee, I will bring thee unto another place; peradventure it will please God that thou mayest curse me them from thence. 23:28 And Balak brought Balaam unto the top of Peor, that looketh toward Jeshimon. 23:29 And Balaam said unto Balak, Build me here seven altars, and prepare me here seven bullocks and seven rams. 23:30 And Balak did as Balaam had said, and offered a bullock and a ram on every altar.