18 Facts About Balaam


Balaam is a diviner in the Torah whose story begins in Chapter 22 of the Book of Numbers.

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Every ancient reference to Balaam considers him a non-Israelite, a prophet, and the son of Beor.

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Main story of Balaam occurs during the sojourn of the Israelites in the plains of Moab, east of the Jordan River, at the close of forty years of wandering, shortly before the death of Moses and the crossing of the Jordan.

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Balaam sends back word that he can only do what YHWH commands, and God has, via a nocturnal dream, told him not to go.

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At this point, Balaam is allowed to see the angel, who informs him that the donkey's turning away from the messenger is the only reason the angel did not kill Balaam.

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However, the prophecy blesses Israel; Balak remonstrates, but Balaam reminds him that he can only speak the words put in his mouth, so Balak takes him to another "high place" at Pisgah, to try again.

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Balaam finally gets taken by a now very frustrated Balak to Peor, and, after the seven sacrifices there, decides not to "seek enchantments" but instead looks upon the Israelites from the peak.

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Balaam then looks upon the Kenites, and Amalekites and offers two more predictions of their fates.

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Joshua 13:22 records that Balaam died "by the sword" during a battle for the Reubenite occupation of Moabite land.

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Conversely, in the Jahwist source, Balaam arrives, the spirit of God comes upon him, and he simply delivers a blessing and a prophecy, in succession.

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Balaam is pictured as blind in one eye and lame in one foot ; and his disciples are distinguished by three morally corrupt qualities:.

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When Balaam saw that he could not curse the children of Israel, the Rabbis assert that he advised Balak, as a last resort, to tempt the Hebrew nation to immoral acts and, through these, to the worship of Baal-peor.

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Some have theorized that Balaam became used as a pseudonym for Jesus in Jewish literature.

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Balaam's similitude is that of a dog: if you attack him, he lolls out his tongue, or if you leave him alone, he lolls out his tongue.

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Muslim commentators explain that Balaam was a Canaanite who had been given knowledge of some of the books of God.

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Balaam had the knowledge of the Most Sacred Name of God, and whatever he asked of God was granted to him.

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Balaam gives, too, the story of Balaam's dream, his being forbidden by God to curse Israel.

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Balaam is to cover the sky and reduce the world to complete darkness.

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