Numbers 24 – Reading Note

  • The third time, Balaam did not try to consult God. He concluded that since God had wanted to bless Israel the other times and since he had not changed his mind, he would still give them a blessing. So he blessed them without consulting God (24: 1, 2). He did this even though he knew Balak wanted him to curse them.
  • The narrator refers to what Balaam had done in consulting the LORD the previous times as ‘sorcery’ and from what I remember, sorcery was severely frowned upon in the laws. However, commentaries suggest that sorcery here is not used in the way it was used when condemned by those other laws. It might simply refer to the act of consulting God for knowledge of future events (as opposed to consulting demons and the dead in other passages). (24: 1)
  • Balak was angry that Balaam had blessed the Israelites but he blamed God, not Balak. He also did not punish Balaam but simply refused reward Balaam because he had not cursed Israel like he was supposed to. These suggest that he believed that Balaam was actually acting on God’s orders (24: 10, 11).
  • Balaam’s quote of him previous statement in 24: 13 is not word for word what he said in 22:18
  • Balaam warned Balak of what Israel would do to his people in the future. How did he come to know this and what purpose did telling Balak serve (24: 14)?
  • Balaam’s prophecy was that Moab would be destroyed, along with certain other places. I wonder what the status of that prophecy is.



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