|Balaam and the Ass|
by James Tissot 1900
- The Israelites continued their journey and camped in the plains of Moab. The people of Moab were frightened of them and so their king sends for Balaam to curse them so he can go to war and win.
- ... for I know that he whom you bless is blessed, and he whom you curse is cursed. Numbers 22:6
- The LORD appears to Balaam and insructs him not to curse Israel because they are a blessed nation and not to go with the officials of Moab.
- The king then bribes Balaam with the promise of honour and requests his presence and curse Israel. He said no way even if I was given a house hold full of silver I could not go. But the Lord appears to him and says go.
- Interesting God tells Balaam to go to the king and then sends an Angel to confront him because He is not pleased with Balaam going and calls it an evil thing. Twice he warns Balaam to only say what He tells him to say.
- The king meets with Balaam but Balaam warns him I can only say what God wants me to not what you want me to.
- Balaam requests 7 altars, 7 bulls and 7 rams. Balaam meets with the Lord who gives him a poem to tell the king that there is no curse.
How can I curse those whom God has not cursed? How can I denounce those whom the LORD has not denounced? Numbers 23:8
- Once again the king tries, he takes Balaam to another look out over Israel and sacrifices with 7 altars, 7 bulls and 7 rams and God says no they are blessed.
God is not a man, that He should tell or act a lie, neither the son of man, that He should feel repentance or compunction [for what He has promised]. Has He said and shall He not do it? Or has He spoken and shall He not make it good? You see, I have received His command to bless Israel. He has blessed, and I cannot reverse or qualify it. Numbers 23:19-20
- Balak takes Balaam yet to a third look out and sacrifices once again. So God used Balaam to pronounce His blessing over Israel from the heights surrounding their encampment.
- Balak then got angry with Balaam because he blessed and did not curse and Balaam says to him but I told you I can not curse whom God has not cursed.