PARASHAH: “Balak” NUMBERS 22:2-25:9
This is the famous story of Bilam, who was asked to “curse” Israel, and instead, “Blessed” Israel, yet before this, his donkey spoke to him. The name “Bilam” or Balaam” might be a shorter version of the name “Baal-haAm” (lord of the people). Some believe that he was a true prophet of G-d, others believe he was a false prophet or a corrupt prophet. Yet YHVH used him for the purpose of blessing "Am Yisrael"
The princes of Balak, king of Moab, offered money to Balaam to curse Israel, so, Balaam consults Adonai as to what he should do. Elohim gives the answer;
“Thou shalt not go with them (the men from Balak), thou shalt not curse them (Israel) for they are blessed” (Num 22:12)
What the LORD has blessed, stays blessed, what the LORD has cursed, stays cursed UNLESS the LORD himself lifts the curse and changes the curse to a blessing. However, one can also invite a curse to come upon himself or herself, or an entire community.
Balaam tells the princes, “I cannot go with you” yet Balak is stubborn, and wants Israel cursed, he offers more money, and fame, re-sends his princes, and asked them again to propose to Balaam; “Stay here tonight and I will see what the LORD will tell me” says Balaam.
But hey, didn’t Adonai already say NO? what more is there to ask again? or…is there a hidden reason? Maybe a money reason? We can see perhaps a greedy prophet trying to see if “God will change his mind”. Just a little curse for a lot of money? However, Adonai says; “Go with them, but only say what I tell you to say”. So, the word of God says that in the morning, Balaam saddled his ass and went with the princes of Moab, BUT…God was angry because he WENT!
There is a problem here, didn’t Adonai already give his permission for Balaam to GO, yet he was angry because he WENT! What is the root of interpretation here? Adonai gave his permission for Balaam to go PHYSICALLY with the princes of Moab, Yet, Balaam in his heart was GOING ALONG WITH THE IDEA, to curse for money, greed was in his heart. One thing is to GO, another is to GO ALONG WITH THE IDEA, or be in unison to do evil. This is why the anger of the LORD was kindled, Balaam had in his heart the IDEA or the DESIRE to GO CURSE ISRAEL for riches. It was all about the “inner motive” of Bilaam, Adonai knows the heart above all things. We can all “go” places, but if our hearts carry evil intentions, then, the “going” will bring a curse upon ourselves.
Here is another idea. God gave permission for Bilaam to go, only that he makes known the plan to bless Israel, yet Bilaam did not tell the second group of emissaries that he would bless Israel. He allowed them to think that he would pronounce a curse upon Israel. In this type of deceit, Bilaam would “blaspheme” the name of God, knowing one thing, and hiding it on purpose. Perhaps Bilaam thought that if he told the group that he would only “bless” Israel, then, he would not receive payment. It would then be a “financial setback”. (ill-gotten greed).
Now Adonai used Balaam’s donkey to “wake him up” as to what is happening. Then, “Malach-YHVH” the (Angel of the LORD) stands in the way, the ass avoids him, three times, until Balaam strikes his donkey three times for going off the road. Finally, the LORD opens the mouth of the donkey and the donkey is made to speak;
“Why have you smitten me these three times?”
Wouldn’t you wonder that Balaam would have been impressed that an animal would speak? Hebrew at that? Even the Angel spoke; “Why have you smitten your donkey these three times?”
Some wonder about the number “3” does it have meaning? There are “3” entities in Elohim, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, Yeshua was in the ground for 3 days, there are 3 parts of the Bible, the Torah, the Prophets, and Hebrew poetry, and the Brit HaDASHAH (New Testament) Yeshua asked Kefa 3 times “Do you love me?” The Angel of Elohim gave “3” warnings to Balaam, yet he did not SEE, or perhaps, did not WANT to see or heed the warnings, until his donkey, “alerted him”
Another thing we can see is that God is concerned for the treatment of animals. Those who have pets should treat them with love and tender care, not mistreat them, for if the angel saw the donkey being struck and called Balaam’s attention on that, the LORD sees how YOU are treating your pet, (hopefully no one has a pet crocodile running around the house, yet there was a case of a family that DID have indeed a PET ALLIGATOR in the house)
Balaam meets Balak, and again, they go to “3” separate places to view Israel, and Balaam orders “7” altars to be built. 7 bulls and 7 rams would be sacrificed. “7” is the perfect number, yet all three times, Balaam opens his mouth to BLESS Israel, Whom YHVH has blessed, no man can curse. Even in the third blessing, Balaam echoes the blessing of Abraham;
“Blessed be everyone that blesseth thee and cursed be everyone that curseth thee!”
What can we learn from all this? We must always support and bless Israel, bless our brothers and sisters in our congregations, do not let money be the main interest in our doing “good” if we wish to bless our neighbor, with our prayers, labor, favors, etc., let it not be guided by monetary gain, but our sincere desire to bless and be a witness to Yeshua our Messiah. Oh yes, and treat your cats, dogs, birds, tropical fish, etc. with TLC! Adonai is watching!
But let’s look at the blessings that Bilaam said to Israel, and Yes, Balak was fuming! This is to show that G-d even works among heathen prophets, to shower blessings on his people; (23:8-10)
We see various things of interest here: Bilaam states: “How can I curse whom Elohim has not cursed?” “It is a people that shall dwell alone, and shall not be reckoned among the nations” “Who hath counted the dust of Jacob or numbered the stock of Israel” “Let me die the death of the righteous, and let mine be like his”
“A people that dwell alone.” One might think about the meaning of this. One way to look at this is that Israel is a “unique’ (Yachid) people, that is not given to worship idols like the other nations, but given and chosen to worship Adonai only, therefore, “Not reckoned among the nations.”
Adonai did not curse Israel, but later, Israel brought upon itself a curse because the Israelites hooked up with the prostitutes of Moab and entered into the pagan rites of the Moabites (persuaded by Bilaam) He must have said to the king that God cannot curse them but they can bring a curse upon themselves though!
Israel is unique, no nation like Israel. The word for “unique” is “Yachid” and is different from the rest of the nations because Israel believes and worships only “One G-d” YHVH! The rest of the nations at that time were pagan idolatrous nations.
Why is Jacob/Israel compared to dust? Can anyone count “dust?” yet dust will last forever. The desire of all is to “die like a Tzadik!” a righteous person, but Bilaam did not die like a Tzadik, he died like a pagan prophet who was, unwillingly, used by YHVH.
The next blessing is from 23:19-24. “God (EL) is not a man that He should lie, Neither the Son of man that He should repent” The word for God in this verse is “El” (the strong one who leads and instructs) and through the Torah, Adonai shows us the way to Mashiach! Yes, God is NOT a man, He is Spirit in the pure essence of His being, yet He became flesh, in Yeshua, to die for our sins, and Yeshua never needed to repent of anything since He was and IS sinless!
‘None hath beheld iniquity in Jacob nor seen perverseness in Israel” Yet didn’t YHVH want to wipe Israel from the earth for past sins and rebellion? Yes, BUT, Moshe interceded for them like Yeshua intercedes before the Father on our behalf. YHVH was looking at Israel through Messiah Yeshua, He sees Israel as if Israel had never sinned, being righteous! Are we any different? Our flesh is black like sin (figuratively) because our flesh is dead and dying, yet inside us lives our soul-spirit, and it is white as snow, purified through the Blood of Yeshua.
The third blessing is from 24:3-9. “How goodly are thy tents O Jacob and thy dwellings O Israel”
This is the beginning of one of our daily prayers. The tents and dwellings symbolize the whole people of Israel, the ones who dwell inside the tents. Here, the word "dwellings" refers to "Mishkan" the "Dwelling of Adonai" which is among the people. So, the people dwell in tents, and also, YHVH dwells in a tent, HE is there for THEM.
“Water shall flow from his branches, and his seed shall be in many waters” Yeshua is the “Living Water” (Mayim Chayim) many waters can symbolize the “multitudes” of peoples, since the Hebrew letter “Mem” symbolizes both ‘water’ and the “masses” (of people) His is the “Seed of faith” which has been scattered among all the nations of the world. The blessing ends like the promise of Abraham,
“blessed be every one that blesses thee, and cursed be everyone that curseth thee” and in HIS SEED shall ALL the world be blessed, “HaZeman Yeshua” (the seed of Yeshua) the seed of “Faith”