Saturday, August 21, 2010


Balaam (Hebrew: בִּלְעָם, nm. absorption; swallowing) is a prophet in the Torah, his story occurring in Numbers 22-24). The etymology of his name is uncertain, and discussed below. Every ancient reference to Balaam considers him a non-Israelite, a prophet, and the son of Beor, though Beor is not so clearly identified. Though other sources describe the apparently positive blessings he delivers upon the Israelites, he is reviled as a "wicked man" in the major story concerning him.

Impure seducers and their abandoned followers, give themselves up to their own fleshly minds. Refusing to bring every thought to the obedience of Christ, they act against God's righteous precepts. They walk after the flesh, they go on in sinful courses, and increase to greater degrees of impurity and wickedness.

They also despise those whom God has set in authority over them, and requires them to honour. Outward temporal good things are the wages sinners expect and promise themselves. And none have more cause to tremble, than those who are bold to gratify their sinful lusts, by presuming on the Divine grace and mercy. Many such there have been, and are, who speak lightly of the restraints of God's law, and deem themselves freed from obligations to obey it. Let Christians stand at a distance from such. (2 Peter 2:17-22)

The stories

There are two fairly separate accounts of Balaam in the Bible:
  1. Balaam and Balak, containing a brief aside concerning Balaam, the Donkey, and the Angel
  2. Balaam and the Midianites


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