RECOGNITION. THE MESSIANIC PROPHECY BIBLE PROJECT http://www.messianicbible.com HEAR O ISRAEL www.hearoisrael.org SHEEPFOLD GLEANINGS WRITTEN BY JULIE PARKER www.sheepfoldgleanings.com MESSIANIC ISRAEL ALLIANCE http://www.messianicisrael.com
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THE MESSIANIC PROPHECY BIBLE PROJECT
HEAR O ISRAEL
SHEEPFOLD GLEANINGS WRITTEN BY JULIE PARKER
MESSIANIC ISRAEL ALLIANCE
AZAMRA TORAH FOR OUR TIME – RABBI AVRAHAM GREENBAUM
TORAH: Numbers 22:2-25:9
HAFTORAH: Micah 5:6-6:8
B’RIT CHADASHAH: 1 Corinthians 1:20-31
All references: The Scripture 1998+ unless otherwise noted
"And Yeshua said to them, Have faith in God constantly, truly I tell you, whoever says to this mountain be lifted up and thrown into the sea and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that what he says will take place, it will be done for him. for this reason I am telling you. Whatever you ask in prayer, believe, trust, and be confident that it is granted to you and you will get it" (Mark. 11:22-24 AMP).
The rabbis teach that, as a prophet, Moshe taught the knowledge of Elohim (the Tree of Life) to B’nei Israel, who were supposed to teach that knowledge to the world. Balaam, on the other hand, taught the other side of knowledge (the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil).
This teaching of Balaam is much about false worship and its results
And the children of Yisra’ĕl set out and camped in the desert plains of Mo’aḇ beyond the Yardĕn of Yeriḥo. And Balaq son of Tsippor saw all that Yisra’ĕl had done to the Amorites. And Mo’aḇ was exceedingly afraid of the people because they were many, and Mo’aḇ was in dread because of the children of Yisra’ĕl. And Mo’aḇ said to the elders of Miḏyan, “Now this company is licking up all that is around us, as an ox licks up the grass of the field.” Now Balaq son of Tsippor was sovereign of the Mo’aḇites at that time, and he sent messengers to Bilʽam son of Beʽor at Pethor, which is near the River in the land of the sons of his people, to call him, saying, “See, a people has come from Mitsrayim. See, they have covered the surface of the land, and are settling next to me! “And now, please come at once, curse this people for me, for they are too strong for me. It might be that I smite them and drive them out of the land, for I know that he whom you bless is blessed, and he whom you curse is cursed.” (Numbers 22:1-6)
Mo’ab gets its name from the Lots first-born daughter who sired a son with her father namely Mo’ab , which literally means “seed of the father”. Mo’ab is spelled “Mem-vav-aleph-bet” and has a numeric value of 49. Forty is the number of testing and nine (which is the letter “tet”) is the serpent.
Balaq (bet-lamed-kuf), comes from a root which means “to devastate” or “to lay waste” and means “destroyer”, was a Midyanite and, king of the Mo’abites. He was the son of Tsippor (tzadee-pey-vav-reish) which is translated as “small bird”; but has the connotation of “twittering” or “making noise” like a bird.
Torah uses Mo’ab here instead of Balaq, because as king, he represented the whole of the Mo’abites.
The torah portion can be read as “the seed of the father (Lot) was in fear of Yisra’el”;or using the gematria of 49 (40 being testing and 9 being the serpent), the “testing serpent was in fear of the Children of Israel”.
Balaq speaks to the elders of Midyan to enlist their support.
Midian (Mem-dalet-yud-nun) means “strife”. Midian was one of the sons of Abraham by his second wife Keturah, according to Genesis 25:1-2. So, like the (Arabs), the Midianites are also children of Abraham. Today, the Midianites are still around, and refer to themselves as Druze, or the Druz’im, and consider themselves Arab, due to past intermarrying with Yishma’elites.
Balaq sends messengers to Balaam, the prophet.
Balaam (Bet-lamed-ayin-mem) literally means “not of the people” and hence “foreigner” or from a Hebrew perspective “without Israel.”. Balaam's fathers name was Be’or (Bet-ayin-vav-reish) meaning “torch” or “lamp”, he too may have been a “prophet”. Balaam lives in Pethor (Pey-tav-vav-reish) meaning “soothsayer” or “interpreter of dreams”. It literally translates, “to say or speak light”. We’re also told in Deuteronomy 23:4 that this was in Aram Naharayim, meaning that he was an Aramean from near the Euphrates River in the area of Babylon.
And the elders of Mo’aḇ and the elders of Miḏyan left with the fees for divination in their hand, and they came to Bilʽam and spoke the words of Balaq to him. And he said to them, “Spend the night here, and I shall bring back word to you, as יהוה speaks to me.” So the heads of Mo’aḇ stayed with Bilʽam. And Elohim came to Bilʽam and said, “Who are these men with you?” And Bilʽam said to Elohim, “Balaq, son of Tsippor, sovereign of Mo’aḇ, has sent to me, saying, ‘See, a people has come out of Mitsrayim and cover the surface of the land. Come now, curse them for me. It might be that I am able to fight against them and drive them out.’ ” And Elohim said to Bilʽam, “Do not go with them. You do not curse the people, for they are blessed.” And Bilʽam rose in the morning and said to the heads of Balaq, “Go back to your land, for יהוה has refused to allow me to go with you.”
The translations say that these men came with money, or fees for divination. Actually, in the Hebrew, it says that they came with charms; meaning that they brought the tools for witchcraft with them.
Elohim asks Balaam, “Who are these men?” And, Balaam spells it all out. Hashem asks these questions for a reason, to establish the credibility, although He knows the answer. Genesis 3:9, after Adam and Eve tasted of the forbidden, And יהוה Elohim called unto Aḏam and said to him, “Where are you?” and, similarly in Genesis 4:9 And יהוה said to Qayin, “Where is Heḇel your brother?” And he said, “I do not know. Am I my brother’s guard?” Before Hashem gives instruction or judgment, He clearly establishes the circumstances, like the true “Judge” He is.
Israel was secure, “they are blessed”. “And I shall bless those who bless you, and curse him who curses you. And in you all the clans of the earth shall be blessed.” (Genesis 12:3)
Three Hebrew words used for curses:
qalal – to make slight, to make less than that deserved by or divinely intended for the object or person
arar – to bind, to hem in with obstacles, to render powerless
qavah – the act of uttering a formula designed to undo its object or person
Balak asks Balaam to pronounce a mild curse on Israel “arar”. Verse 11: Balaam tells יהוה he is asked to “qavah” Isreal.
Verse 12: יהוה uses the milder term “arar” to let Balaam know that even the mildest curse would not prevail against his people
Verse 17: Balak employs a much stronger Hebrew expression (qavah) to curse Israel implying their total destruction.
As a bird wanders, as a swallow flies about, So a curse without cause does not come. Proverbs 26:2
“Go back to your land, for יהוה has refused to allow me to go with you.”
We must pay attention to what’s NOT being said, and things will make more sense. Balaam chose to NOT tell the princes that the reason why יהוה was not allowing him to curse the people was because “they are blessed.” Balaam had chosen “selective hearing.” We do the same thing when we take verses out of context and use them for our benefit
The princes of Moab also have selective hearing:
And the heads of Mo’aḇ arose and went to Balaq, and said, “Bilʽam refuses to come with us.” (Numbers 22:14)
The princes of Moab did not tellBalak, that the reason why Balaam is refusing to come with them is because “יהוה has refused”.
Then Balaq again sent heads, more numerous and more esteemed than they. And they came to Bilʽam and said to him, “This is what Balaq son of Tsippor said: ‘Do not be withheld from coming to me, please, for I esteem you very greatly, and whatever you say to me, I do. Therefore please come, curse this people for me.’ ” And Bilʽam answered and said to the servants of Balaq, “Though Balaq were to give me his house filled with silver and gold, I am unable to go beyond the word of יהוה my Elohim, to do less or more. “And now, please, you also stay here tonight, and let me find out what more יהוה says to me.” (Numbers 22:14-19)
“What more” is he hoping to hear from יהוה? Balaam is not an Israelite and that he also has some very pagan ways mixed in with his beliefs. Based on his actions, Balaam reflects the existing pagan belief system of Mesopotamia. Balaam saw יהוה as nothing but an arbitrary force, with no bearing on the values of good and evil. Since the commands of such a god are not founded in moral values, there is no reason to expect this god’s decisions to be consistent. Balaam believed a god had the right as a supreme being to “say one thing one day and say another thing the next day.”
Balaam did understand יהוה’s answer the first time (22:12), in fact he understood that he could not disobey this order. The Almighty had told him that he could not go because “they are blessed.” This was beyond Balaam’s understanding. Instead he interpreted יהוה’s answer to be “you cannot curse them this time.” Balaam heard this as just a random answer from a very powerful god. But according to Balaam’s mindset, in the future…..pressing Elohim might cause him to change his mind! Balak believed this also, and so he continued to encourage Balaam by upping the ante.
And Elohim came to Bilʽam 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 do.” (Numbers 22:20)
This picture fits right into Balaam’s way of thinking and understanding of a God, getting this Elohim to change His mind. But Elohim tells him he must ONLY speak the word which He gives him to speak. We should learn to obey instructions from יהוה exactly. We are tempted to think that the Almighty has blessed our plans. Instead, He is allowing us to exercise our free will and along with that may come just enough rope to hang ourselves!
יהוה knew Balaam’s heart, He knew that he was not about to take “no” for an answer. He just allowed him to take the path that he wished to go. Paul tells us that we have liberty, but not all things are profitable:
All is permitted me, but not all do profit. All is permitted me, but not all build up. (1 Corinthians 10:23)
"Everything is permissible"-- but not everything is constructive. When we know and follow Torah, many answers are right before us and not meant to be open for debate.
And Bilʽam rose in the morning and saddled his donkey, and went with the heads of Mo’aḇ. But the displeasure of Elohim burned because he went, and the Messenger of יהוה stationed Himself in the way as an adversary against him. And he was riding on his donkey, and his two servants were with him. (Numbers 22:14-22)
Now this picture fits right into Balaam’s way of thinking. He considers that he has just been successful in the first step of getting this Elohim to change His mind.
Why did God get angry?
Numbers 22:20 And Elohim came to Bilʽam 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 do.”
Numbers 22:20 NKJV 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.“
Numbers 22:21 CJB So Bil`am got up in the morning, saddled his donkey and went with the princes of Mo'av.
God had already said he must not go, then God tested his true intentions for going. Only if the messengers asked for him in the morning was he allowed to go. But Balaam did not wait for them to ask he immediately got up ready thinking of the prize and not the test.
And the donkey saw the Messenger of יהוה 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 Bilʽam beat the donkey to turn her back onto the way. Then the Messenger of יהוה stood in a narrow passage between the vineyards, with a wall on this side and a wall on that side. And when the donkey saw the Messenger of יהוה, she pushed herself against the wall and crushed Bilʽam’s foot against the wall, so he beat her again. And the Messenger of יהוה went further, and stood in a narrow place where there was no way to turn aside, right or left. And when the donkey saw the Messenger of יהוה, she lay down under Bilʽam. So Bilʽam’s displeasure burned, and he beat the donkey with his staff. Then יהוה opened the mouth of the donkey, and she said to Bilʽam, “What have I done to you, that you have beaten me these three times?” And Bilʽam said to the donkey, “Because you have mocked me. I wish there were a sword in my hand, for I would have killed you by now!” And the donkey said to Bilʽam, “Am I not your donkey on which you have ridden, ever since I became yours, to this day? Was I ever known to do so to you?” And he said, “No.” (Numbers 22:23-30)
“Many shall say to Me in that day, ‘Master, Master, have we not prophesied in Your Name, ..(Matthew 7:22)
Balaam was a soothsayer or diviner (one who foretells or predicts events, Josh 13:22). The ArtScroll Stone Edition Chumash says that Balaam was a sorcerer, necromancer or wizard (one who consults evil spirits) and that the sublime prophecies he uttered over Israel were but temporary aberrations that יהוה granted him for the honour of Israel (Ibid., p. 863). These prophecies also served to glorify יהוה in the eyes of the nations.
There are many comic aspects to the story of Balaam, יהוה actually mocks this famous, renowned “prophet” of the nations and “prophet” to kings by speaking to him through his ass. This “prophet/seer” could not even see the angel until יהוה opened his eyes. יהוה is always in control and he let Balaam know it in a most curious, humbling and demonstrative way.
Then the Messenger of יהוה stood in a narrow passage between the vineyards, with a wall on this side and a wall on that side. (Numbers 22:24)
This verse indicates that they are standing on a “narrow path between two vineyards.” This is a rather interesting detail because in this desert area there are no vineyards. For this reason we can assume that the Almighty wants you to take a good look at this detail. In Isaiah 5, יהוה tells us who the vineyard is:
For the vineyard of יהוה of hosts is the house of Yisra’ĕl, and the man of Yehuḏah is His pleasant plant. He looked for right-ruling, but see, oppression; for righteousness, but see, weeping. (Isaiah 5:7)
Then יהוה opened the mouth of the donkey, and she said to Bilʽam, “What have I done to you, that you have beaten me these three times?” (Numbers 22:28)
Many of the sages look at this story as a parable…not so different than the stories that יהושע told. If so, then there has to be some symbolism and a point to be made. In 2 Peter, Balaam's example is used as a means to illustrate the destructive influence of insincere teachers:
having eyes filled with an adulteress, and unable to cease from sin, enticing unstable beings, having a heart trained in greed, children of a curse, having left the right way they went astray, having followed the way of Bilʽam the son of Beʽor, who loved the wages of unrighteousness, (2 Peter 2:14-15)
What is Balaam be a picture of?Balaam knew יהוה, he was involved with pagan ways and he was caught up in what the world had to offer. He didn’t understand the eternal promises given to Israel. He thought the Almighty could “change” and forsake His chosen people. Example: The church system sees itself as having replaced Israel, is caught up with wealth, and has mixed in paganism with יהוה’s ways.
Balaam rides on a donkey and ends up beating her. The Hebrew word for donkey is aton (האתוןH860) Technically, a female donkey. The etymology of the root of this word means “to be reliable and strong.” It is also associated with being “ancient.” Donkey in prophecy:
“Binding his donkey (male donkey) to the vine, and his donkey’s (aton) colt (word for son) to the choice vine, he washed his garments in wine, and his robes in the blood of grapes. (Genesis 49:11)
“Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Tsiyon! Shout, O daughter of Yerushalayim! See, your Sovereign is coming to you, He is righteous and endowed with deliverance, humble and riding on a donkey (male), a colt (male), the foal (son) of a donkey (female)(Zechariah 9:9)
The Hebrew word for donkey (אתוןH860) reading from right to left we notice that the first two letters are the א and theת . That is, the first and the last letters of the Hebrew alphabet. We know that יהושע used these letters to point to Himself (יהושע would have spoken Hebrew):
“I am the ‘Aleph’ and the ‘Taw’, the Beginning and the End, the First and the Last. (Revelation 22:13)
We still have two letters left. The vav (ו) is a picture of a nail, and the nun (ן) is a picture of a seed, or an offspring, or a son. With all these pictures in just the letters you can see that the donkey is very connected to the Messiah. In John 1:14, we are told that the Word of Elohim was made flesh. Let’s consider that the female donkey symbolizes the Word of Elohim or the Torah.
Now on to the Angel of יהוה, who has a sword drawn. The word angel here is the Hebrew word malak, which means “messenger.” It can refer to an earthly messenger or a heavenly messenger such as an angel sent from יהוה. “because you are rushing to oppose me”. The term Angel/Messenger of יהוה /Elohim is used Scripture in many cases shows this “Messenger” to be equivalent to יהוה himself. (Gen 31:11, 13; Exodus 3:2, 14; Judges 6:12–24.)
A sword is often used in the defeat of nation, but what is the sword?
Take also the helmet of deliverance, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of Elohim, (Ephesians 6:17)
How are the nations who come against the Almighty defeated?
And I saw the heaven opened, and there was a white horse. And He who sat on him was called Trustworthy and True, and in righteousness He judges and fights. ... And out of His mouth goes a sharp sword, that with it He should smite the nations. .. (Revelation 19:11-15)
The sword is the judgment aspect of the Word of יהוה, and the Angel of יהוה is יהושע!
The church (Balaam) is riding on the Torah (donkey) until the Torah (donkey) sees יהושע(angel) with the Word of Judgment (sword) in His hand. Out of mercy, the Torah (donkey) leads the church (Balaam) into the field so he won’t be killed by judgment (sword). The church (Balaam) does not see יהושע(angel) for who He truly is, and instead the church (Balaam) beats up the Torah (donkey).
The vineyard is a picture of Israel and in Bemidbar 22:24 the narrow path goes between the two vineyards (two houses of Israel). The Torah (donkey) crushes the foot (symbolizes his walk) of the church (Balaam) there in the vineyards. Then יהושע(angel) stands in another narrow (Hebrew root of Egypt) place where the church (Balaam) will again lash out at Torah (donkey). This location (Egypt) is where Torah (donkey) will open its mouth and speak. Egypt (symbolizes this world where we are currently in exile) is also where יהוה opens the eyes of the church (Balaam)!! The church (Balaam) will have the opportunity to see יהושע(the angel) for who He really is and understand the Torah (donkey) on which they were riding!
Three times, Balaam struck the donkey:
Then יהוה opened the mouth of the donkey, and she said to Bilʽam, “What have I done to you, that you have beaten me these three times?” (Numbers 22:28)
“Three times” is an unusual phrase in the Hebrew. Literally it means “three feet”. This phrase can be found in another verse in Exodus describing the three occasions during the year when all men are to come up to Jerusalem for a feast to יהוה :
“Three times in the year you are to observe a festival to Me: (Exodus 23:14)
The donkey had paused three “feet” (times – connects to festivals), and each time Balaam (church) beat the donkey (Torah). Now Elohim retaliates by crushing the foot of Balaam. You may have also noticed the “narrow path” that the donkey is on:
“Enter in through the narrow gate! Because the gate is wide – and the way is broad – that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter in through it. “Because the gate is narrow and the way is hard pressed which leads to life, and there are few who find it. (Matthew 7:13-14)
Balaam turns out to be a slow learner. As the donkey followed the straight and narrow road of faithfulness, it was an attempt to teach Balaam that the ways of יהוה are constant and firm. For one moment, in a flash of illumination, it seems that Balaam understands:
Then יהוה opened Bilʽam’s eyes, and he saw the Messenger of יהוה standing in the way with His drawn sword in His hand. And he bowed his head and fell on his face. And the Messenger of יהוה said to him, “Why have you beaten your donkey these three times? See, I have come out to stand against you, because your way is reckless before Me. “And the donkey saw Me and turned aside from Me these three times. If she had not turned aside from Me, I certainly would have killed you by now, and let her live.” And Bilʽam said to the Messenger of יהוה, “I have sinned, for I did not know You stood in the way against me. And now, if evil is in Your eyes, let me turn back.” And the Messenger of יהוה said to Bilʽam, “Go with the men, but only the word that I speak to you, that you speak.” Bilʽam then went with the heads of Balaq. (Numbers 22:31-35)
And Bilʽam said to Balaq, “See, I have come to you! Now, am I at all able to say somewhat? The word that Elohim puts in my mouth, that I speak.” (Numbers 22:38)
We learn from self-serving Balaam that anointed people are not necessarily good people. "...for the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable ["without repentance" KJV]" (Rom. 11:29).
The word gifts refers to
a) the special ministries of the Holy Spirit, and
b) whatever יהוה bestows freely of His own good will.
The word calling applies to His calling of the Patriarchs, and refers to Elohim's promises made to the fathers' seed, the house of Israel, which promises will never be revoked, but ultimately fulfilled.
Understand, יהוה fits people of His choice for His great work, and does not remove the gifts even if their character sours.
And it came to be the next day, that Balaq took Bilʽam and brought him up to the high places of Baʽal, and from there he saw the extremity of the camp. And Bilʽam said to Balaq, “Build seven altars for me here, and prepare seven bulls and seven rams for me here.” And Balaq did as Bilʽam had spoken, and Balaq and Bilʽam offered a bull and a ram on each altar. Bilʽam then said to Balaq, “Stand by your burnt offering, and let me go on. It might be that יהוה does come to meet me, and whatever He shows me I shall declare to you.” And he went to a bare height. And Elohim came to Bilʽam, and he said to Him, “I have prepared the seven altars, and I have offered on each altar a bull and a ram.” And יהוה put a word in the mouth of Bilʽam, and said, “Return to Balaq, and this is what you say.” (Numbers 22:41-23:5)
Verse 41, Balaq brought Balaam to the “high places of Ba’al” a pagan worship site. Balaam then has Balaq build seven altars and offer seven bulls and seven rams for him, “for Balaam”. Matthew Henry commentary states, “Oh the sottishness of superstition, to imagine that God will be at man’s beck!” To resort to programs, rituals or methodologies to “conjure” up the Presence of יהוה.
And he took up his proverb and said, “Balaq the sovereign of Mo’aḇ has brought me from Aram, from the mountains of the east. ‘Come, curse Yaʽaqoḇ for me, and come, rage at Yisra’ĕl!’ “How do I curse whom Ěl has not cursed? And how do I rage at whom יהוה has not raged? “For from the top of the rocks I see him, and from the hills I observe him. Look, a people dwelling alone, not reckoning itself among the nations. “Who shall count the dust of Yaʽaqoḇ, and the number of one-fourth of Yisra’ĕl? Let me die the death of the upright, and let my end be like his!” (Numbers 23:7-10)
Obedience to the moral standards and principles of faith revealed in the Torah is ever the key to ancient Israel's national greatness. “Not one of the nations” (set apart) It is the same today. “If you stay in Me, and My Words stay in you, you shall ask whatever you wish, and it shall be done for you. ..“If you guard My commands, you shall stay in My love, even as I have guarded My Father’s commands and stay in His love. (John 15:7-10)
And he took him to the field of Tsophim, to the top of Pisgah, and built seven altars, and offered a bull and a ram on each altar. .. And יהוה came to Bilʽam, and put a word in his mouth, and said, “Go back to Balaq, and say this.” So he went to him and saw him standing by his burnt offering, and the heads of Mo’aḇ with him. And Balaq asked him, “What did יהוה say?” And he took up his proverb and said, “Rise up, Balaq, and hear! Listen to me, son of Tsippor! “Ěl is not a man, to lie; nor a son of man, to repent! Has He said, and would He not do it; or spoken, and would not confirm it? “See, I have received, to bless. And He has blessed, and I do not reverse it. “He has not looked upon wickedness in Yaʽaqoḇ, nor has He seen trouble in Yisra’ĕl. יהוה his Elohim is with him, and the shout of a Sovereign is in him. “Ěl who brought them out of Mitsrayim, is for them like the horns of a wild ox. “For there is no sorcery against Yaʽaqoḇ, nor is there any divination against Yisra’ĕl. Now it is said to Yaʽaqoḇ and to Yisra’ĕl, ‘What has Ěl done!’ “Look, a people rises like a lioness, and lifts itself up like a lion; it lies not down until it devours the prey, and drinks the blood of the slain.” (Numbers 23:14-24)
The righteousness of the people. There is no iniquity in God’s people.
The presence of the Most High Elohim was with and among them. The message: When you attack My children, you attack the Kingdom of God!
He provides strength and ability for every required service and call. We have the strength necessary to do whatever must be done, in peaceful domestic labours or in making war!
יהוה gives His people authoritative knowledge concerning His will and favour. There is no need for divination, auguries, chants, or charms. Such practices are useless, and condemned (Lev. 19:26).
Reveals that we possess the spirit/strength of body, soul, and spirit, to destroy. We have the strength and determination of a bull, and the courage and ferocity of a lion, an intimation, a reference to the Lion of the tribe of Judah, יהושע.
And Balaq said to Bilʽam, “Do not curse them at all, nor bless them at all!” And Bilʽam answered and said to Balaq, “Have I not spoken to you, saying, ‘All that יהוה speaks, that I do’?” .. And Balaq took Bilʽam to the top of Peʽor, that overlooks the wasteland. And Bilʽam said to Balaq, “Build seven alters for me here, and prepare seven bulls and seven rams for me here.” And Balaq did as Bilʽam had said, and offered a bull and a ram on each altar. (Numbers 23:25-30)
Pe’or, the very mountain of Ba’al. “Pe’or” is another name for Ba’al, the Mo’abites chief mighty one. Pe’or means “cleft” or “rest”, but, in Hebrew, it means “mouth of light” or “opening of light”. Many pagans have to do with light, or the promise to provide light or truth. Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 11:12-14 And I shall go on doing as I do, in order to cut off the occasion from those desiring an occasion, so that in that which they boast, they might be found also as we are. For such are false emissaries, deceptive workers, masquerading as emissaries of Messiah. And no wonder! For Satan himself masquerades as a messenger of light!
And when Bilʽam saw that it pleased יהוה to bless Yisra’ĕl, he did not go as at other times, to seek to use sorcery, but he set his face toward the wilderness. And Bilʽam lifted up his eyes and saw Yisra’ĕl encamped according to their tribes. And the Spirit of Elohim came upon him. And he took up his proverb and said, “The saying of Bilʽam, son of Beʽor, and the saying of the man whose eyes are opened, the saying of him who hears the words of Ěl, who sees the vision of the Almighty, who falls down, with eyes opened wide: “How good are your tents, O Yaʽaqoḇ, your dwellings, O Yisra’ĕl! “Like wadis that stretch out, like gardens by a river, like aloes planted by יהוה, like cedars beside waters. “He makes water flow from his buckets, and his seed is in many waters. His sovereign is higher than Aḡaḡ, and his reign is exalted. “Ěl who brought him out of Mitsrayim is for them like the horns of a wild ox; he devours nations, his enemies; and he breaks their bones, and with his arrows he smites. “He bowed down, he lay down like a lion. And, like a lion, who would rouse him? Blessed is he who blesses you, and cursed is he who curses you.” (Numbers 24:1-9)
The first picture revealed Israel as יהוה's beautiful planting beside abundant waters and spread out before him. It spoke of peaceful prosperity, fruitfulness and beauty, and Eden in the Wilderness.
The second picture is a frightening transition from the first one. It is menacing, and portrays Israel as a destroyer, fierce, powerful, resistless, furious. Balak was shown, whether or not he had the eyes to see and the ears to hear, that under the mighty hand of יהוה Israel would climb to the highest possible eminence among all the nations. We see in Balak the intolerant, suspicious, anti-Messiah spirit that leavens and controls the kingdoms of the world, for they do not heed the divinely inspired prophetic Word of Elohim. But the prophecy of Daniel says, “And in the days of these sovereigns the Elah of the heavens shall set up a reign [vision picture #1] which shall never be destroyed, nor the reign pass on to other people – it crushes and puts to an end all these reigns [visionpicture #2], and it shall stand forever.
And he took up his proverb and said, “The saying of Bilʽam, son of Beʽor, and the saying of the man whose eyes are opened, the saying of him who hears the words of Ěl, and knows the knowledge of the Most High, who sees the vision of the Almighty, who falls down, with eyes opened wide: “I see Him, but not now; I observe Him, but not near. A Star shall come out of Yaʽaqoḇ, and a Sceptre shall rise out of Yisra’ĕl, and shall smite the corners of Mo’aḇ, and shall destroy all the sons of Shĕth. “And Eḏom shall be a possession; and Sĕʽir shall be a possession – enemies – and Yisra’ĕl is doing mightily. “And out of Yaʽaqoḇ One shall rule and destroy the remnant from Ar.” He then looked on Amalĕq, and he took up his proverb and said, “Amalĕq was first among the nations, but his latter end is to perish forever.” He then looked on the Qĕynites, and he took up his proverb and said, “Firm is your dwelling place, and your nest is set in the rock, but Qayin is to be burned. Till when does Asshur keep you captive?” And he took up his proverb and said, “Oh, who does live when Ěl does this? And ships shall come from the coast of Kittim, and they shall afflict Asshur and afflict Ěḇer, and so shall Amalĕq, and he also perishes.” (Numbers 24:15-24)
Balaam is given a prophecy speaking of the “End of Days”, when Mashiach will conquer and judge His enemies.
A Star shall come out of Yaʽaqoḇ: The Hebrew word here is “koekab” which is no ordinary star. It is a “shooting star” or “meteor” that is seen all across the heavens. יהושע said of Himself in “I, יהושע, have sent My messenger to witness to you these matters in the assemblies. I am the Root and the Offspring of Dawiḏ, the Bright and Morning Star.” (Revelation 22:16) and as יהושע said in Matthew 24:26-27; “So if they say to you, ‘Look, He is in the desert!’ do not go out; or ‘Look, He is in the inner rooms!’ do not believe. “For as the lightning comes from the east and shines to the west, so also shall the coming of the Son of Aḏam be.
a Sceptre shall rise out of Yisra’ĕl: The Hebrew word here is “shebet”, which means “tribe” as well as “rod” or “staff”. The “Tribe of Yehudah” will one day rule, and that rule will be for all generations. And, it is יהושע (from the Tribe of Yehudah), whom Revelation speaks of three times (2:27, 12:5 & 19:15) as shepherding all nations with a “rod of iron”. This “tribe” or “rod” that rises up out of Israel and will “smite the corners of Mo’ab”. King David did that in part. However Mashiach will conquer and judge Mo’ab. Israel has been forbidden by Adonai to destroy Mo’ab, as he was a son of Lot.
shall destroy all the sons of Shĕth: The Hebrew word here for “destroy” is “quwr” (kof-vav-reish) and means to “undermine” or “break down”. The “sons of Sheth” is a reference to Adam’s son Seth; and is referring to all mankind. Mashiach will “break down” or “undermine” the authority of all mankind with His rod.
Then, He shall “destroy” (abad = destroy) the remnant from “Ar”, which is, in the Hebrew “Ayr” or Balaq’s fortified city within Mo’ab. This part of the prophesy is restated in Isaiah 11:10-16;
“Amalĕq was first among the nations, but his latter end is to perish forever.”Amaleq, the grandson of Esaw, was the first to attack Israel in the wilderness, by first picking off the elderly and infirmed stragglers. So, because of their evil attack, יהוה had Moshe write in Exodus 17:14; And יהוה said to Moshe, “And יהוה said to Mosheh, “Write this for a remembrance in the book and recite it in the hearing of Yehoshua, that I shall completely blot out the remembrance of Amalĕq from under the heavens.”
Then he turned to the Qeynites, a tribe in Midyan of Moshe’s father in-law; and decreed that Qayin (their capital) shall be burned, verses 21-22; He then looked on the Qeynites, and he took up his proverb and said, “Firm is your dwelling place, and your nest is set in the rock, but Qayin is to be burned.
Till when does Asshur keep you captive?” A study of the maps of both Biblical times and today will show that this city of “Qayin” is today Riyadh, the capital of Saudi Arabia. Riyadh will be burned and taken captive by Ashshur (Assyria), made up of what is today Iraq and parts of Iran, Syria and Turkey.
“Oh, who does live when Ěl does this? And ships shall come from the coast of Kittim, and they shall afflict Asshur and afflict Ěḇer, and so shall Amalĕq, and he also perishes.” Then, ships come in from “Kittim” or “Cypress and Greece”, representing an invasion from Europe and shall afflict (make war with) Ashshur (Iraq, Iran and the others) and “E’ber” (“the region beyond”, speaking of both sides of the Mediterranean Sea). Strong’s and Brown, Driver, Briggs indicate that “Kittim” was a kingdom in Greece and Cypress; Gesenius’ Lexicon states that was part of Greece and all the islands along the European side of the Mediterranean Sea; and thus, represents all of Europe.
One from the Angel of יהוה , and one from Balak the destroyer. And they truly are messages from the light and the darkness!
The message of light is….your way is perverse. I am standing against you in judgment!
The message of darkness is….(though you are disobedient) I will honour you!
This promise of honour is a lie from satan! יהוה did not stop Balaam. He allowed him to travel the road to his own destruction. Through the rest of our Parasha, Balaam will continue to work with Balak, the destroyer. Though יהוה prevents him from cursing Israel, he continues to rationalize and find loopholes. He is not able to believe in the unchangeableness of the Almighty:
“For I am יהוה, I shall not change, and you, O sons of Yaʽaqoḇ, shall not come to an end. (Malachi 3:6)
Things end badly for Balaam.
And Yisra’ĕl dwelt in Shittim, and the people began to whore with the daughters of Mo’aḇ, and they invited the people to the slaughterings of their mighty ones, and the people ate and bowed down to their mighty ones. Thus Yisra’ĕl was joined to BaʽalPeʽor, ... one of the children of Yisra’ĕl came and brought to his brothers a Miḏyanite woman .. when Pineḥas, .. saw it, he rose up from among the congregation and took a spear in his hand, ... and thrust both of them through, the man of Yisra’ĕl, and the woman through her belly. (Numbers 25:1-9)
“But I hold a few matters against you, because you have there those who adhere to the teaching of Bilʽam, who taught Balaq to put a stumbling-block before the children of Yisra’ĕl, to eat food offered to idols, and to commit whoring. (Revelation 2:14)
Moab discovered a more effective weapon with which to assault Israel. "After Balaam's utter failure to curse Israel, he had one last hope. Knowing that sexual immorality is a foundation of Jewish [Israelite] holiness and that God does not tolerate immorality--the only times the Torah speaks of God's anger as wrath is when it is provoked by immorality (MorehNevuchim 1:36)--Balaam counseledBalak to entice Jewish [Israelite] men into debauchery. So intent were the Moabites and their Midianite allies to undo Israel that even their aristocracy sent their daughters to carry out the plan. The Talmud recounts the plot in detail. It achieved considerable success, as shown by the tragic events in this chapter (see Sanhedrin 106a).
The tragic episode resulted in the deaths of 24,000 Israelites. Balaam too was slain, and his name has since become associated only with depravity. The remembrance of the righteous is blessed, But the name of the wrong ones rot. (Proverbs 10:7)
having left the right way they went astray, having followed the way of Bilʽam the son of Beʽor, who loved the wages of unrighteousness, but he was rebuked for his transgression: a dumb donkey speaking with the voice of a man restrained the madness of the prophet. (2 Peter 2:15-16)
Woe to them! Because they have gone in the way of Qayin, and gave themselves to the delusion of Bilʽam for a reward, and perished in the rebellion of Qoraḥ. (Jude 1:11)
According to Alshich, the women of Moab enticed not only the general population, since they are mentioned in verse 1 as consorting with the people, which generally connotes masses. The women of Midian, however, tried to entice the Jewish leaders, including Moses himself. Failing in that, they turned to lesser leaders and succeeded in ensnaring Zimri, a prince of the tribe of Simeon (25:14) [The Chumash, Stone Edition, Balak, Pg. 875]
The book of Revelation also speaks of a rider on an animal:
And he carried me away in the Spirit into the wilderness. And I saw a woman sitting on a scarlet beast covered with names of blasphemy, ... And the woman was dressed in purple and scarlet, and adorned with gold and precious stones and pearls, holding in her hand a golden cup filled with abominations and the filthiness of her whoring, and upon her forehead a name written, a secret: BAḆEL THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF THE WHORES AND OF THE ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH. (Revelation 17:3-5)
This beast is the epitome of evil. Balaam’s desire for riches is portrayed in this woman and her adornment. Balaam’s advice to Balak is also hinted at through the mention of her harlotries. The name on her forehead stands in sharp contrast to what will be found on the foreheads of the righteous in Revelation 22:4 (They shall see His face, and His name shall be on their foreheads.)
He desires for you to be riding on that beast. His agenda is to tempt you with what the world has to offer. Temptation begins in a subtle way:
Let no one say when he is enticed, “I am enticed by Elohim,” for Elohim is not enticed by evil matters, and He entices no one. But each one is enticed when he is drawn away by his own desires and trapped. Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin. And sin, when it has been accomplished, brings forth death. (James 1:13-15)
Once we have come to know יהושע, we now have what it takes to resist evil and choose the good He has given us through His Torah. Ride the donkey. You won’t have to fear the Angel of יהושע who stands in the narrow path between the vineyards. He is there for your protection and to continue to show you the way along the narrow path. AMEN
The series of Balaam's inspired discourses speaks of four periods of Israel's history and our walk.
Israel in the Wilderness (Nu. 23:7-10) - Salvation
Israel staging and preparing to enter and conquer Canaan (Nu. 233:18-24) – Preparation Matt 6:33
Israel after conquering their enemies and settling in the land (Nu. 24:3-9) – Receiving the inheritance, Galatians 4:7
Israel in the latter days (Nu. 24:15-24) – The rapture of the body and the pure and spotless bride.
Wouldn’t we all be better off to resolve to speak only what יהוה gives us to speak, nothing more or less? Wouldn’t our words be fewer and our sin be less? What did James say about bridling the tongue (Jas 3:2)? How did , יהושע characterize all the words that he spoke?
“It is the Spirit that gives life, the flesh does not profit at all. The words that I speak to you are Spirit and are life. (John 6:63)
“Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father is in Me? The words that I speak to you I do not speak from Myself. But the Father who stays in Me does His works.
“Because the Words which You gave to Me, I have given to them. And they have received them, and have truly known that I came forth from You, and they believed that You sent Me.
Some truths stand out in Balaam's narrative.
Spiritual gifting does not assure good character (Luke 13:24-30).
A person may have religious faith--"the demons believe and tremble"--but that faith will not save him if it does not change the heart and (yes) produce good works (James 1:14-17).
Work and sacrifice may not earn, or bring, the expected reward (Gal.1:10; Col.3:1). [We may, at times, have to be content with His praise.]
A person may appear noble and honourable yet inwardly be displeasing to Elohim (John 7:24; 2 Cor. 10:7).
A man may have great spiritual discernment and knowledge but be blind to his own moral failures, ethical improprieties, and family responsibilities (Mark 8:18; Acts 28:27).