Commentary on Parashat Balak

Bamidbar (Numbers) 22:2–25:9
Our weekly portion is called “Balak”, which is named after Balak, who was the king of Moav during that time. Balak summoned Balaam to curse the Children of Israel. The scriptures are unclear if Balaam was an actual prophet (with questionable character), or some kind of magician. In any case, it is very interesting that the words here remind us of God’s promise to Abraham, and to his descendants. The main difference is, however, that Balak spoke these words to Balaam, who was not a descendant of Abraham. In other words, Balak put himself in the same place as God! That always has troubling consequences…

I would also like to point out that the text reveals that the messengers had heard about the Israelites, and acknowledged their exodus from Egypt. Clearly, Balak knew that Israel were God’s people, yet he still tested God’s faithfulness. Let’s see what is written in the Scriptures about this:

So 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, “Behold, a people came out of Egypt; behold, they cover the surface of the land, and they are living opposite me. Now, therefore, please come, curse this people for me since they are too mighty for me; perhaps I may be able to defeat 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 22:5–6

We see that God directly spoke with Balaam, and He instructs Balaam to not have anything to do with Balak. Even when Balak sends even greater princes to convince Balaam to curse the Israelites, Balaam hints that if he’s paid enough, he might be persuaded:

“And 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 do anything, either small or great, contrary to the command of the LORD my God. ”
Numbers 22:18

Balaam continued to request permission from God, as if God would change His mind about this. One must understand that God promised to bless Israel and to curse those who curse Israel (Genesis 12), which means that God will not, cannot change His mind.

Balaam did end up going, and as verses 21–35 show us, God used a donkey to fulfill His will! I believe that this is so important for us to understand, as to the fact that God can use anyone and anything to accomplish His purpose, even a donkey. While Balaam ended up going to Balak, he also ended up blessing Israel, which is yet one more sign of God’s amazing faithfulness. The bottom line is this: God will accomplish His plan no matter what…even through a donkey if necessary.

I love what’s written in Numbers 23:18–20; it’s so important for us to understand today!

“Then he took up his discourse and said, “Arise, O Balak, and hear; give ear to me, O son of Zippor! “God is not a man, that He should lie, nor a son of a man [a human is a better way to translate the Hebrew text here], that He should repent; Has He said, and will He not do it? Or has He spoken, and will He not make it good? “Behold, I have received a command to bless; When He has blessed, then I cannot revoke it.”

Our God is faithful to fulfill His promises! Let us also remember that God does not need us to accomplish His plan. He can work through whomever – or whatever – He desires. It is a great privilege to serve Him! We need to make a choice if we are going to be obedient to Him and serve Him with all our hearts. As I said earlier God can use anyone and anything to fulfill His will, even donkeys… will you choose God today?

This article originally appeared on Hope for Israel and is reposted with permission.

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Moran is the Founder and Executive Director of Hope for Israel, which is a service and resource-providing ministry that aims to bring the hope of the Messiah back to Israel. It is also a resource center for current and timely news updates concerning Israel that provides daily prayer alerts, Bible teachings, and weekly blogs in order to help believers across the world understand what God is doing in the Land, how to pray for Israel and filter everything through the Word of God.