Numbers – Chapter 22: Balak Summons Balaam

So where are we at in the book of Numbers?  Most recently in Numbers 21, the Israelites are marching through the land, slaughtering, under the protection of God, the people they come across.  Will they come to their senses in Numbers 22?  Let’s find out.

“Now Balak son of Zippor saw all that Israel had done to the Amorites, and Moab was terrified because there were so many people. Indeed, Moab was filled with dread because of the Israelites.” – Numbers 22:2-3

I would be too given the Israelites are slaughtering town after town!  Balak seeks the advice and help of Balaam.

“A people has come out of Egypt; they cover the face of the land and have settled next to me. Now come and put a curse on these people, because they are too powerful for me. Perhaps then I will be able to defeat them and drive them out of the land. For I know that whoever you bless is blessed, and whoever you curse is cursed.” – Numbers 22:5-6

Is Balak acting in self-defense?  A better approach might be to diplomatically reach out to the Israelites.  Given what the Israelites have done thus far, that may be a failed approach, but one that should be attempted nonetheless.

“But God said to Balaam, ‘Do not go with them. You must not put a curse on those people, because they are blessed.’” – Numbers 22:12

Okay, so God does pass along a good command to Balaam.  Putting a curse on others is not a nice thing to do.  Too bad God doesn’t stop the Israelites from slaughtering others.

“But Balaam answered them, “Even if Balak gave me all the silver and gold in his palace, I could not do anything great or small to go beyond the command of the Lord my God.” – Numbers 22:18

Balaam is a man of his (and the Lord’s word).  He won’t be bought out.  Are we witnessing a moral character in the Bible?

“That night God came to Balaam and said, ‘Since these men have come to summon you, go with them, but do only what I tell you.’” – Numbers 22:20

Hmmm…interesting.

“Balaam got up in the morning, saddled his donkey and went with the Moabite officials. But God was very angry when he went, and the angel of the Lord stood in the road to oppose him.” – Numbers 22:21-22

Are you fucking kidding me God?  You just told Balaam to go and now you are mad at him for going?  FUCK…YOU!!!  OMG!  OMFG!!!

“Then the Lord opened the donkey’s mouth, and it said to Balaam, ‘What have I done to you to make you beat me these three times?’” – Numbers 22:28

Oh great.  Now we have a talking donkey.  Please excuse me while I go see a doctor to address the massive concussion I have from banging my head against the wall!!!

“The angel of the Lord asked him, “Why have you beaten your donkey these three times? I have come here to oppose you because your path is a reckless one before me.” – Numbers 22:32

Your path is a reckless path?  This is the path God sent Balaam on!  God told Balaam to go on this trip!!!

“The angel of the Lord said to Balaam, ‘Go with the men, but speak only what I tell you.’ So Balaam went with Balak’s officials.” – Numbers 22:35

Seriously?  That was the original command!!!  Balaam finally reaches Balak and they speak.

“Well, I have come to you now,” Balaam replied. ‘But I can’t say whatever I please. I must speak only what God puts in my mouth.’” – Numbers 22:38

If I was Balaam I’d be very worried.  After all, he was just punished for following God’s command to go to Balak.  Will he be punished for saying what God told him to say?  Confused yet?  You should be because God in this chapter is making no sense!

Numbers 22 ends before Balaam speaks again.  I don’t know what to say about this chapter.  At first glance we have Balaam, who listens to God and doesn’t give in to Balak’s bribe.  God tells Balaam to go visit Balak, and then God punishes Balaam for doing just that!  Wow!

Coming Soon:  Numbers – Chapter 23: Balaam’s First Message

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