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“(B.C. 1451), the son of Beor, a man endowed with the gift of prophecy. (Num. 22: 5). He is mentioned in conjunction with the five kings of Midian, apparently as a person of the same rank. (Num. 31: 18 cf. Num. 31:16. He seems to have lived at Pethor, (23: 4; 22: 5) on the river Euphrates, in Mesopotamia. Such was his reputation that when the Israelites were encamped in the plains of Moab, Balak, the king of Moab, sent for Balaam to curse them. Balaam at first was prohibited by God from going. He was again sent for by the king and again refused, but was at length allowed to go.
“…He yielded to the temptations of riches and honor which Balak set before him; but God’s anger was kindled at this manifestation of determined self-will, and the angel of the Lord stood in the way for an adversary against him. See (2 Pet. 2: 16). Balaam predicted a magnificent career for the people whom he was called to curse, but he nevertheless suggested to the Moabites the expedient of seducing them to commit fornication. The effect of this is recorded in (Num. 25: 1) ... A battle was afterwards fought against the Midianites, in which Balaam sided with them, and was slain by the sword of the people whom he had endeavored to curse. (Num. 31: 8)” (Smith’ Bible Dictionary.)
“Balaam's character and history have supplied materials for many theological and ethical studies. His character and conduct, though somewhat perplexing, are not more so than those of many around us, and are full of instruction and warning” (The Pulpit Commentary, Homilies).
Breakdown of study:
“Come now therefore, I pray thee, curse me this people…” (Num. 22: 6). (See Numbers 22: 2, ch. 21).
The man Balaam:
Said to be a “soothsayer” (Josh. 13: 22, cp. Num. 24: 1, 2 Pet. 2: 16). God used Balaam (Num. 23: 16, 24: 2 cp. v. 19, 24: 17f.).
“Thou shalt not go with them, thou shalt not curse the people: for they are blessed” (Num. 22: 12).
God’s teaching plain:
Music in worship (Eph. 5: 19, positive command).
Treasury limited (I Tim. 5: 16, negative command).
Grow in grace and knowledge (2 Pet. 3: 18, positive command).
No women in pulpit (I Tim. 2: 12, negative command).
“And Balak sent yet again princes, more, and more honourable than they…” (Num. 22: 15). He appeals to Balaam’s pride (Num. 22: 17).
Compare with Pharaoh: Exodus 8: 25-27; 28; 10: 11; 24.
“…if Balak would give me his house full of silver and gold, I cannot go beyond the word of the Lord my God, to do less or more” (Num. 22: 18, cp. 24: 13).
Deuteronomy 4: 2; 12: 32; Rev. 22: 18, 19.
Matthew 28: 18, Colossians 3: 17.
Ver. 18. - I cannot go beyond the word of the Lord my God. Balaam's faith was paramount within its own sphere of operation. It did not control his wishes; it did not secure the heart obedience which God loves; but it did secure, and that absolutely, outward obedience to every positive command of God, however irksome; and Balaam never made any secret of this” (Pulpit Commentary).
Balaam’s mistake was he sought to negotiate with God (Num. 22: 19). God’s reply and anger (Num. 22: 19, 20-22).
“It is true that God had given him permission to go, but that very permission was a judicial act whereby God punished the covetous and disobedient longings of Balaam in allowing him to have his own way….
“…God's anger is kindled by sin, and it was not less truly sin which prompted Balaam to go because he had succeeded in obtaining formal leave to go. The angel of the Lord stood in the way…” (Pulpit Commentary).
“…the miracle which followed – when the “beast” spake with the voice of a man – brought to his attention the perverseness of his way. It is significant that Peter accepted and adopted the narrative in Num. 22, regarding Balaam and the “beast,” as authentic. It was, to him, no imaginary incident, no fictitious account….
…The beast spake; he spake with the voice of a man; he spake audibly, and his words have been recorded and reserved (Num. 22: 28)” (A Commentary on the New Testament Epistles by Guy N. Woods, Vol. 13, p. 174).
“10: And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. 11: And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: 12: That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness” (2 Thes. 2).
Many examples of “strong delusion”:
“I believe all will be saved!”
“Once saved, always saved!”
“God has before pre-determined lost and saved!”
“One church is as good as another.”
“Salvation is by faith only and grace only!”
“It matters not how you worship, just sincerity!”
“There are faithful Christians in all religions!”
Numbers 22: 22-35. More negotiations followed (Num. 22: 40 – ch. 23, 24). (See 2 Pet. 2: 14-16; Jude 11; Rev. 2: 14, it appears Balaam was responsible for what happened in Numbers 25).
Review of Breakdown: