Articles & Teaching

Articles & Teaching

Balaam – Prophet for Profit 

The sin or error of Balaam is mentioned in the book of Jude and in 2 Peter 2.15. There is a love of the wages of unrighteousness which is seen in financial gain and reward.

The warnings are clear and we can expect to see men arise in the church who follow the error of Balaam. It is important that we recognise this error in order to avoid being led into the same way of life. Let us study carefully and take warning lest we fall into error!

Background Balaam

Immediate facts Balaam – mentioned in 8 books of the Bible, 5 OT and 3 NT
Jeremiah mentioned in 8 books 7 OT and 1 NT

· Balaam – was a teacher – he taught Balak – taught error

· Balaam – was a soothsayer of International fame, great amongst the gentiles in his day.

Ambrose, and Augustine have regarded him as a wizard and false prophet, devoted to the worship of idols, who was destitute of the true religion, and was compelled by God, against his will, to give utterance to blessings upon Israel instead of curses.

Tertullian and Jerome have supposed him to be a genuine and true prophet, who simply fell through covetousness and ambition.

The Talmud tells us that earlier Balaam had been an adviser to the pharaoh who enslaved the Children of Israel and sought to destroy their male children. In fact, the plan to destroy the Israelites was masterminded by Balaam.

In Rabbinic Literature Balaam is represented as one of seven gentile prophets; the other six being Beor (Balaam’s father), Job, and Job’s four friends (Talmud, B. B. 15b). In this literature, Balaam gradually acquired a position among the non-Jews, which was exalted as much as that of Moses among the Jews (Midrash Numbers Rabbah 20); at first being a mere interpreter of dreams, but later becoming a magician, until finally the spirit of prophecy descended upon him (ib. 7).

The Alexandrian Jews made Balaam an object of popular legend as a great sorcerer.
Philo (“De Vita Moysis,” i. 48) speaks of him as “a man renowned above all men for his skill as a diviner and a prophet, who foretold to the various nations important events, abundance and rain, or droughts and famine, inundations or pestilence.”

Josephus (“Ant.” iv. 6, § 2) calls him “the greatest of the prophets at that time.” The story of Moses’ war with the Ethiopians, as related by Josephus (“Ant.” ii. 10) after Hellenistic sources, was in olden times brought into connection with Balaam.

The third century BCE Greco-Egyptian historian, Manetho, also mentions that it was the prophet-adviser to the pharaoh who instigated the enslavement of the Jewish People.
Not only did Balaam reside near the land of Moab and in Egypt, but Midrashic sources also place him in Aram modern-day Syria, and in the Aegean isles and in Cush, modern-day Ethiopia.

Balaam was an itinerant prophet with a far-reaching reputation who probably possessed residences in various localities. Due to Balaam’s renowned pre-eminence, we would expect that some mention of Balaam would be found in some ancient nation’s records.
Archaeologists believe that the Jordanian hill called Tel Deir Alla is the site of Biblical Succoth. And, it was here in Tel Deir Alla that evidence of Balaam was found.

So what about this man Balaam – what can we learn from the account and subsequent references to him in scripture.

Balaam is the type of a teacher of the church who attempts to advance the cause of God by advocating an unholy alliance with the ungodly and worldly, and so conforming the life of the church to the spirit of the flesh.

Let us consider the biblical record of Balaam

Revelation 2:14

14 But I have a few things against you, because you have there those who hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balak to put a stumbling block before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed to idols, and to commit sexual immorality.

Balaam taught Balak – to cast a stumbling block, to eat things sacrificed to idols and to commit fornication. Some in the church held to “doctrine of Balaam”. This doctrine or persuasive teaching implies the acceptable practice of eating things sacrificed to idols and committing sexual immorality.

Jude 1:11

Woe to them! For they have gone in the way of Cain, have run greedily in the error of Balaam for profit, and perished in the rebellion of Korah.

Balaam was a teacher of error and was motivated by profit, both in desire for status, reputation and wealth.

2 Peter 2:15

They have forsaken the right way and gone astray, following the way of Balaam the son of Beor, who loved the wages of unrighteousness;

Balaam loved the wages of unrighteousness – this is a way of life other than the life in Christ. Those who have followed this “way” has forsaken the “only” other way.

Micah 6:5 

      O My people, remember now
      What Balak king of Moab counseled,
      And what Balaam the son of Beor answered him,
      From Acacia Grove to Gilgal,
      That you may know the righteousness of the LORD.”

Nehemiah 13:1-2

On that day they read from the Book of Moses in the hearing of the people, and in it was found written that no Ammonite or Moabite should ever come into the assembly of God, 2 because they had not met the children of Israel with bread and water, but hired Balaam against them to curse them. However, our God turned the curse into a blessing.

Joshua 24:9-10 

9 Then Balak the son of Zippor, king of Moab, arose to make war against Israel, and sent and called Balaam the son of Beor to curse you. 10 But I would not listen to Balaam; therefore he continued to bless you. So I delivered you out of his hand.

 Balaam was not listened to by God and therefore we know that Balaam must have spoken to God regarding Israel.

Joshua 13:22

22 The children of Israel also killed with the sword Balaam the son of Beor, the soothsayer, among those who were killed by them.

Deuteronomy 23:4-5

4 because they did not meet you with bread and water on the road when you came out of Egypt, and because they hired against you Balaam the son of Beor from Pethor of Mesopotamia, to curse you. 5 Nevertheless the LORD your God would not listen to Balaam, but the LORD your God turned the curse into a blessing for you, because the LORD your God loves you.

  1. Deuteronomy 23:4 Hebrew Aram Naharaim

 Numbers 31:16  

 16 Look, these women caused the children of Israel, through the counsel of Balaam, to trespass against the LORD in the incident of Peor, and there was a plague among the congregation of the LORD. 

 Numbers 31:8 

8 They killed the kings of Midian with the rest of those who were killed—Evi, Rekem, Zur, Hur, and Reba, the five kings of Midian. Balaam the son of Beor they also killed with the sword.

Numbers 22:1-30

Numbers 22
 1 Then the children of Israel moved, and camped in the plains of Moab on the side of the Jordan across from Jericho.
2 Now Balak the son of Zippor saw all that Israel had done to the Amorites. 3 And Moab was exceedingly afraid of the people because they were many, and Moab was sick with dread because of the children of Israel. 4 So Moab said to the elders of Midian, “Now this company will lick up everything around us, as an ox licks up the grass of the field.” And Balak the son of Zippor was king of the Moabites at that time. 5 Then he sent messengers to Balaam the son of Beor at Pethor, which is near the River  in the land of the sons of his people, to call him, saying: “Look, a people has come from Egypt. See, they cover the face of the earth, and are settling next to me! 6 Therefore please come at once, curse this people for me, for they are too mighty for me. Perhaps I shall be able to defeat them and drive them out of the land, for I know that he whom you bless isblessed, and he whom you curse is cursed.”

7 So the elders of Moab and the elders of Midian departed with the diviner’s fee in their hand, and they came to Balaam and spoke to him the words of Balak. 8 And he said to them, “Lodge here tonight, and I will bring back word to you, as the LORD speaks to me.” So the princes of Moab stayed with Balaam.

 We see that a coalition of Midian and Moab in fear seek the destruction of Israel by the curse of Balaam. It seems that only the Princes of Moab stayed with Balaam.

9 Then God came to Balaam and said, “Who are these men with you?”
10 So Balaam said to God, “Balak the son of Zippor, king of Moab, has sent to me, saying, 11 ‘Look, a people has come out of Egypt, and they cover the face of the earth. Come now, curse them for me; perhaps I shall be able to overpower them and drive them out.’”

 Again we do not see the Midianites mentioned and only the those of Balak remained.

12 And God said to Balaam, “You shall not go with them; you shall not curse the people, for they are blessed.”

 Here in this command is no condition – he is to simply tell them he cannot go.

 13 So Balaam rose in the morning and said to the princes of Balak, “Go back to your land, for the LORD has refused to give me permission to go with you.”
14 And the princes of Moab rose and went to Balak, and said, “Balaam refuses to come with us.”
15 Then Balak again sent princes, more numerous and more honorable than they. 16 And they came to Balaam and said to him, “Thus says Balak the son of Zippor: ‘Please let nothing hinder you from coming to me; 17 for I will certainly honor you greatly, and I will do whatever you say to me. Therefore please come, curse this people for me.’”

 Balak appeals to the very “way of Balaam, appealing to his love of honour and wealth

18 Then Balaam answered and said to the servants of Balak, “Though Balak were to give me his house full of silver and gold, I could not go beyond the word of the LORD my God, to do less or more. 19 Now therefore, please, you also stay here tonight, that I may know what more the LORD will say to me.”

 This is presumptious of Balaam – he has already been told the will of God and he indicates that money cannot sway him to disobey the command of God. But he assumes that this fresh offer may change the situation and therefore he asks them to remain once again.

20 And God came to Balaam at night and said to him, “If the men come to call you, rise and go with them; but only the word which I speak to you—that you shall do.” 21 So Balaam rose in the morning, saddled his donkey, and went with the princes of Moab.

 God commands Balaam to go only if “the men come to call you to rise” and then only the word of God is to be spoken.

 It is evident that this venture cannot go the way of the two kings for God has already said “they are blessed”

 It also evident that the reward is dependant on the “curse”

Balaam is not called to rise but rises himself, saddling his own donkey. The saddling of his own donkey is the key as he had two servants who yet had not risen.

22 Then God’s anger was aroused because he went, and the Angel of the LORD took His stand in the way as an adversary against him. And he was riding on his donkey, and his two servants were with him. 23 Now the donkey saw the Angel of the LORD standing in the way with His drawn sword in His hand, and the donkey turned aside out of the way and went into the field. So Balaam struck the donkey to turn her back onto the road.

It is not unusual that the most unexpected individual, with little academic ability or bible school training will be the one to notice the Lord and His will in a given situation.

It’s so often the case that these individuals who point out the folly of a given course of action become the subjects of rebuke and disdain and even abuse.

24 Then the Angel of the LORD stood in a narrow path between the vineyards, with a wall on this side and a wall on that side. 25 And when the donkey saw the Angel of the LORD, she pushed herself against the wall and crushed Balaam’s foot against the wall; so he struck her again.

In the first case the donkey moved out into a field which was possibly a selfish action of disobedience to gain grazing. So it is with those who move out and way from the pathway of error. They are often viewed as selfish and going in a specific direction as an act of selfish rebellion.

In this case the donkey pushes herself against the wall and crushes Balaam’s foot. Here we find the donkey actually hurting her master and again this is so often the case when a faithful servant of the church in an attempt to move away from evident danger hurts those travelling the path of destruction.

In blind misunderstanding this individual is beaten down!

26 Then the Angel of the LORD went further, and stood in a narrow place where there was no way to turn either to the right hand or to the left. 27 And when the donkey saw the Angel of the LORD, she lay down under Balaam; so Balaam’s anger was aroused, and he struck the donkey with his staff.

The way becomes even more constrained and now the donkey cannot turn and so she sits. How often it is that our spiritually aware brother or sister can nolonger walk along the path we take and so appears to give up.

28 Then the LORD opened the mouth of the donkey, and she said to Balaam, “What have I done to you, that you have struck me these three times?”
29 And Balaam said to the donkey, “Because you have abused me. I wish there were a sword in my hand, for now I would kill you!”
30 So the donkey said to Balaam, “Am I not your donkey on which you have ridden, ever since I became yours, to this day? Was I ever disposed to do this to you?”
And he said, “No.”

The attempts of the faithful servant to avoid the error and danger of this action have resulted in them being struck and yet it is the view of the stubborn that they themselves have been abused. Their anger is such that they would strike the individual casting them away as an enemy.

The donkey points out the simple simple truth that Balaam has known him as a trustworthy beast of burden and that this action was unusual. Balaam acknowledges that the action of his donkey have always been faithful.

Numbers 22:31-41

 31 Then the LORD opened Balaam’s eyes, and he saw the Angel of the LORD standing in the way with His drawn sword in His hand; and he bowed his head and fell flat on his face. 32 And the Angel of the LORD said to him, “Why have you struck your donkey these three times? Behold, I have come out to stand against you, because yourway is perverse before Me. 33 The donkey saw Me and turned aside from Me these three times. If she had not turned aside from Me, surely I would also have killed you by now, and let her live.”

 Balaam the great gentile Prophet is spiritually blind to what is taking place in his life. He without fear sets himself against the will of the Almighty and is not even expecting rebuke, the very fact that his donkeys actions are misunderstood indicates that he “had no fear of the Almighty” and therefore he was not wise in accordance with true wisdom.

 It is interesting to note that despite the fact that his donkey was female the scripture tells us that the donkey spoke in a male voice!

 It is also interesting that this travelling party included the Princes of Moab and that his two servants probably would have been involved in directing his donkey – showing the donkey’s resistance to the chosen pathway.

 2 Peter 2 v 16 but he was rebuked for his iniquity: a dumb donkey speaking with a man’s voice restrained the madness of the prophet.

We also learn that Balaam was considered mad in his actions.

He was so mad or infactuated that he allowed neither reason, nor conscience, nor the will of God, to control him!

 How common this is when a man sets himself of a course which any right minded individual can see will lead to failure and worse still destruction.

 And Balaam said to the Angel of the LORD, “I have sinned, for I did not know You stood in the way against me. Now therefore, if it displeases You, I will turn back.”

Here his madness is further revealed, Balaam attributes his sin to the fact that “he did not know” and yet we know that this was not his sin. His sin was that his whole course was rebellious. Despite having known the will of the Almighty in this matter he asks “if it displeases You”

Then the Angel of the LORD said to Balaam, “Go with the men, but only the word that I speak to you, that you shall speak.” So Balaam went with the princes of Balak.

 Balaam is given permission to go with the princes of Moab. It must have been strange for the servants and the princes who may have witnessed some of these events although possibly not hearing the voice of the donkey or seeing the Angel. This would have given those looking on a very strange sight and would not have been in keeping with the reputation of Balaam and certainly given the appearance of madness.

 36 Now when Balak heard that Balaam was coming, he went out to meet him at the city of Moab, which is on the border at the Arnon, the boundary of the territory. 37 Then Balak said to Balaam, “Did I not earnestly send to you, calling for you? Why did you not come to me? Am I not able to honor you?”

 Balak obviously finds Balaam’s actions somewhat confusing and of considerable concern. The actions of Balaam are clearly not in keeping with his reputation and Balak can only link his failure to come with immidacy to his possible disbelief in Balak’s ability to “pay the fee”. This again indicates that Balaam had a reputation as a mercenary prophet, someone who loved honour and wealth and would usually respond to an offer of payment.

 38 And Balaam said to Balak, “Look, I have come to you! Now, have I any power at all to say anything? The word that God puts in my mouth, that I must speak.” 39 So Balaam went with Balak, and they came to Kirjath Huzoth. 40 Then Balak offered oxen and sheep, and he sent some to Balaam and to the princes who were with him.

 Balaam by his answer to Balak demonstrates frustration and does not want to give account of the events that had taken place. Balaam claims that only the word that God puts in his mouth is that which he can speak. This sounds commendable but in reality he either promotes his own ability as a prophet in that all those words he speaks are of God or he prepares the situation in case of possible failure.

 We know that Balaam attempted to manipulate God, not seeking God’s will and voice but asking God for an outcome that was of his own desire and design.

Joshua 24:8-10

8 And I brought you into the land of the Amorites, who dwelt on the other side of the Jordan, and they fought with you. But I gave them into your hand, that you might possess their land, and I destroyed them from before you. 9 Then Balak the son of Zippor, king of Moab, arose to make war against Israel, and sent and called Balaam the son of Beor to curse you. 10 But I would not listen to Balaam; therefore he continued to bless you. So I delivered you out of his hand.

 Note: God would not listen to Balaam which indicates that Balaam asked God to fulfil the will of Balaam. We know that Balaam desired to bring about the downfall of Israel, the text tells us that God delivered Israel “out of his hand”.

Joshua 24:10

10 But I would not listen to Balaam; therefore he continued to bless you. So I delivered you out of his hand.

Deuteronomy 23:3-5

3 “An Ammonite or Moabite shall not enter the assembly of the LORD; even to the tenth generation none of his descendants shall enter the assembly of the LORD forever, 4 because they did not meet you with bread and water on the road when you came out of Egypt, and because they hired against you Balaam the son of Beor from Pethor of Mesopotamia, to curse you. 5 Nevertheless the LORD your God would not listen to Balaam, but the LORD your God turned the curse into a blessing for you, because the LORD your God loves you.

 41 So it was, the next day, that Balak took Balaam and brought him up to the high places of Baal, that from there he might observe the extent of the people.

Balak takes Balaam to the high places of Baal so that he might see the people of Israel and from here the next stage of the conflict begins.

Numbers 23

 1 Then Balaam said to Balak, “Build seven altars for me here, and prepare for me here seven bulls and seven rams.”
2 And Balak did just as Balaam had spoken, and Balak and Balaam offered a bull and a ram on each altar. 3 Then Balaam said to Balak, “Stand by your burnt offering, and I will go; perhaps the LORD will come to meet me, and whatever He shows me I will tell you.” So he went to a desolate height. 4 And God met Balaam, and he said to Him, “I have prepared the seven altars, and I have offered on eachaltar a bull and a ram.”

We know that Balaam desired the wages of his craft, he desired to curse Israel and in order to do this he sought to manipulate God. It is said of Balaam in the sources external to the bible that he had the ability to know when the wrath of the God’s was against a people and that he could bring the divine anger against those to be cursed.

Balaam instructs the building of seven alters and the preparation of seven bulls and seven rams. It is possible that Balaam offered an alter to each on the national dieties of the region with Israel’s God being included. This might be connected by the fact that the final oracle cursed the nations around Israel in the region. This being done both Balaam and Balak make burnt offerings on each alter.  Balaam distances himself from Balak in order to meet with the LORD.

When at a desolate height God meets with Balaam – Balaam immediately tells God that he has prepared the alters and made the burnt offerings. Balaam was using a formula to manipulate God, to try and induce God to listen to him and his curse against Israel.

It is possible that the practice of Balaam was to utter a curse to God that spoke evil of the target people in order to induce the wrath of God.

Nehemiah 13:2 because they had not met the children of Israel with bread and water, but hired Balaam against them to curse them. However, our God turned the curse into a blessing.

Balaams practice may have been to make sacrifices to the Diety and then to utter a curse against the people. In this sense it is probable that this is why God would not “listen” to Balaam and that the uttered curse was turned into a blessing.

5 Then the LORD put a word in Balaam’s mouth, and said, “Return to Balak, and thus you shall speak.” 6 So he returned to him, and there he was, standing by his burnt offering, he and all the princes of Moab.

7 And he took up his oracle and said:

      “Balak the king of Moab has brought me from Aram,
From the mountains of the east.
      ‘ Come, curse Jacob for me,
And come, denounce Israel!’

 8 “How shall I curse whom God has not cursed?
      And how shall I denounce whom the LORD has not denounced?

 9 For from the top of the rocks I see him,
      And from the hills I behold him;
      There! A people dwelling alone,
      Not reckoning itself among the nations.

 10 “Who can count the dust of Jacob,
      Or number one-fourth of Israel?
      Let me die the death of the righteous,
      And let my end be like his!”
11 Then Balak said to Balaam, “What have you done to me? I took you to curse my enemies, and look, you have blessed them bountifully!”
12 So he answered and said, “Must I not take heed to speak what the LORD has put in my mouth?”

It is also possible that Balaam had no option but to speak this oracle,

The word of God was put in his mouth and he had to utter this before Balak.

   13 Then Balak said to him, “Please come with me to another place from which you may see them; you shall see only the outer part of them, and shall not see them all; curse them for me from there.” 14So he brought him to the field of Zophim, to the top of Pisgah, and built seven altars, and offered a bull and a ram on each altar.
15 And he said to Balak, “Stand here by your burnt offering while I meet the LORD over there.”

 Balaam has not given up and he resorts again to the practice of making burnt offerings and then proceeding to meet with the Lord in order to utter his curse. Once again the Lord does not listen and put a Word into the mouth of Balaam.

 16 Then the LORD met Balaam, and put a word in his mouth, and said, “Go back to Balak, and thus you shall speak.” 17 So he came to him, and there he was, standing by his burnt offering, and the princes of Moab were with him. And Balak said to him, “What has the LORD spoken?”
18 Then he took up his oracle and said:

      “Rise up, Balak, and hear!
      Listen to me, son of Zippor!

 19 “God is not a man, that He should lie,
      Nor a son of man, that He should repent.
      Has He said, and will He not do?
      Or has He spoken, and will He not make it good?

 20 Behold, I have received a command to bless;
      He has blessed, and I cannot reverse it.

 21 “He has not observed iniquity in Jacob,
      Nor has He seen wickedness in Israel.
      The LORD his God is with him,
      And the shout of a King is among them.

 22 God brings them out of Egypt;
      He has strength like a wild ox.

 23 “For there is no sorcery against Jacob,
      Nor any divination against Israel.
      It now must be said of Jacob
      And of Israel, ‘Oh, what God has done!’

 24 Look, a people rises like a lioness,
      And lifts itself up like a lion;
      It shall not lie down until it devours the prey,
      And drinks the blood of the slain.”
25 Then Balak said to Balaam, “Neither curse them at all, nor bless them at all!”
26 So Balaam answered and said to Balak, “Did I not tell you, saying, ‘All that the LORD speaks, that I must do’?”

The frustration of all concerned is evident and Balaam defends himself by pointing out that he has had no choice in the matter of the oracle spoken.

27 Then Balak said to Balaam, “Please come, I will take you to another place; perhaps it will please God that you may curse them for me from there.” 28 So Balak took Balaam to the top of Peor, that overlooks the wasteland. 29 Then Balaam said to Balak, “Build for me here seven altars, and prepare for me here seven bulls and seven rams.” 30 And Balak did as Balaam had said, and offered a bull and a ram on every altar.

Balaam is still stubborn in his approach and again resorts to his ritual process of inducing the deity to hear his curse and to bring wrath on the cursed peoples.

Numbers 24

 1 Now when Balaam saw that it pleased the LORD to bless Israel, he did not go as at other times, to seek to use sorcery, but he set his face toward the wilderness. 2 And Balaam raised his eyes, and saw Israel encamped according to their tribes; and the Spirit of God came upon him.

“Now Balaam saw” he understood that he could not manipulate God and that his method of sorcery, the cursing of the peoples before God was totally ineffective, therefore he simply set his face towards the wilderness and raised his eyes, seeing Israel encamped. Now in a place of defeat and having “seen” that he could only submit the prophetic to the Almighty, the Spirit of God comes upon him.

3 Then he took up his oracle and said:

      “The utterance of Balaam the son of Beor,
The utterance of the man whose eyes are opened,

 4 The utterance of him who hears the words of God,
      Who sees the vision of the Almighty,
      Who falls down, with eyes wide open:

 5 “How lovely are your tents, O Jacob!
      Your dwellings, O Israel!

 6 Like valleys that stretch out,
      Like gardens by the riverside,
      Like aloes planted by the LORD,
      Like cedars beside the waters.

 7 He shall pour water from his buckets,
      And his seed shall be in many waters.

“His king shall be higher than Agag,
And his kingdom shall be exalted.

 8 “God brings him out of Egypt;
      He has strength like a wild ox;
      He shall consume the nations, his enemies;
      He shall break their bones
      And pierce them with his arrows.

 9 ‘He bows down, he lies down as a lion;
      And as a lion, who shall rouse him?’

  “ Blessed is he who blesses you,
And cursed is he who curses you.”

Here we have the unrighteous, rebellious and sinful prophet Balaam experiencing the “coming upon” of the Holy Spirit and as a result uttering a prophetic oracle which includes “Messiahanic references of great significance” It is also different in its format as in this case he states that he is one who “has his eyes wide open”

10 Then Balak’s anger was aroused against Balaam, and he struck his hands together; and Balak said to Balaam, “I called you to curse my enemies, and look, you have bountifully blessed them these three times! 11 Now therefore, flee to your place. I said I would greatly honor you, but in fact, the LORD has kept you back from honor.”

Balak is angered by this defeat, how can his military leaders go to battle knowing of the continued blessing of Israel.

12 So Balaam said to Balak, “Did I not also speak to your messengers whom you sent to me, saying, 13 ‘If Balak were to give me his house full of silver and gold, I could not go beyond the word of the LORD, to do good or bad of my own will. What the LORD says, that I must speak’? 14 And now, indeed, I am going to my people. Come, I will advise you what this people will do to your people in the latter days.”

Balaam is not telling the whole truth and seeks to escape the anger of Balak. We know that he did not go to his own people but stayed with the Mideanites. In the statement “If Balak……..Balaam doesn’t call the Lord “my God” any longer and implies that even if he willed to do good or bad he could not do it. His first statement claimed obedience to the Word of God, in this statement he claims that despite being willing he is forced to go by the Word of the Lord.

Balaam advises Balak what the Israelites will do to Balak’s people in the latter days.

 15 So he took up his oracle and said:

    “The utterance of Balaam the son of Beor,
And the utterance of the man whose eyes are opened;

 16 The utterance of him who hears the words of God,
      And has the knowledge of the Most High,
      Who sees the vision of the Almighty,
      Who falls down, with eyes wide open:

 17 “I see Him, but not now;
      I behold Him, but not near;
      A Star shall come out of Jacob;
      A Scepter shall rise out of Israel,
      And batter the brow of Moab,
      And destroy all the sons of tumult.

 18 “And Edom shall be a possession;
      Seir also, his enemies, shall be a possession,
      While Israel does valiantly.

 19 Out of Jacob One shall have dominion,
      And destroy the remains of the city.”
20 Then he looked on Amalek, and he took up his oracle and said:

      “ Amalek was first among the nations,
But shall be last until he perishes.”
21 Then he looked on the Kenites, and he took up his oracle and said:

“Firm is your dwelling place,
And your nest is set in the rock;

 22 Nevertheless Kain shall be burned.
      How long until Asshur carries you away captive?”
23 Then he took up his oracle and said:

      “Alas! Who shall live when God does this?
 24 But ships shall come from the coasts of Cyprus,
      And they shall afflict Asshur and afflict Eber,
      And so shall Amalek, until he perishes.”

25 So Balaam rose and departed and returned to his place; Balak also went his way.