The service opened with a procession of Old Testament characters, prophets, patriarchs and kings, together with heathen prophets, including Virgil, the chief figure being Balaam on his ass.
A similar spirit appears among the prophecies ascribed to Balaam: "Amalek, first (or chief) of nations, his latter end [will be] destruction" (Num.
" If the law simply consists of ordinary expressions and narratives, such as the words of Esau, Hagar, Laban, the ass of Balaam or Balaam himself, why should it be called the law of truth, the perfect law, the true witness of God ?
There is an obscure allusion to their destruction in an appendage to the oracles of Balaam (Num.
BALAAM (o; t ?
Balaam; the etymology of the name is uncertain), a prophet in the Bible.
Balak, king of Moab, became alarmed, and sent for Balaam to curse Israel; Balaam came after some hesitation, but when he sought to curse Israel Yahweh compelled him to bless them.
The main passage concerning Balaam in Num.
Balak, king of Moab, alarmed at the Israelite conquests, sends elders of Moab and Midian to Balaam, son of Beor, to the land of Ammon, to induce him to come and curse Israel.
22-35a to "Balaam," also "Go" and "So Balaam went."
Nevertheless Balaam sets out with two servants to go to Balak, but the Angel of Yahweh meets him.
Yahweh at last enables Balaam to see the Angel, who tells him that he would have slain him but for the ass.
Balaam offers to go back, but is told to go on.
" Bileam"), regard the statements about the ass speaking as figurative; the ass brayed, and Balaam translated the sound into words.
Balak meets Balaam and they go together [and offer sacrifices]; Balaam, however, blesses Israel by divine inspiration; Balak remonstrates, but Balaam reminds him of his message and again blesses Israel.
Then Balaam goes home.
Balak, king of Moab, alarmed at the conquests of Israel, sends the princes of Moab to Balaam at Pethor on the Euphrates, that he may come and curse Israel.
Balak meets them, and Balaam warns him that he can only speak what God tells him.
Balak offers sacrifices, but Yahweh inspires Balaam with a blessing on Israel.
Balak remonstrates and Balaam explains.
They try to get a more favourable result by sacrificing on a different spot, and by placing Balaam on the top of Pisgah to view Israel, but he is again compelled to bless Israel.
After further remonstrances and explanations [Balaam goes home].
The Priestly Code 3 has a different story to Balaam, in which he advises the Midianites how they may bring disaster on Israel by seducing the people Quoted Neh.
It is often supposed that the name of the king of Edom,4 Bela, son of Beor, is a corruption of Balaam, and that, therefore, one form of the tradition made him a king of Edom.
In the New Testament Balaam is cited as a type of avarice;6 in Rev. ii.
14 we read of false teachers at Pergamum who held the "teaching of Balaam, who taught Balak to cast a stumblingblock before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed to idols, and to commit fornication."
Balaam has attracted much interest, alike from Jews, Christians and Mahommedans.
Josephus 7 paraphrases the story more suo, and speaks of Balaam as the best prophet of his time, but with a disposition ill adapted to resist temptation.
Philo describes him in the Life of Moses as a great magician; elsewhere 8 he speaks of "the sophist Balaam, being," i.e.
That he was blind of one eye; that he was the Elihu of Job; that, as one of Pharaoh's counsellors, he was governor of a city of Ethiopia, and rebelled against Pharaoh; Moses was sent against him by Pharaoh at the head of an army, and stormed the city and put Balaam to flight, &c. &c.
' Curiously enough, the Rabbinical (Yalkut) identification of Balaam with Laban, Jacob's father-in-law, has been revived.
The names of their fathers are alike, and "Lugman" means devourer, swallower, a meaning which might be got out of Balaam by a popular etymology.
If we might accept the various theories mentioned above, Balaam would appear in one source of J as an Edomite, in another as an Ammonite; in E as a native of the south of Judah or' possibly as an Aramaean; in the tradition followed by the Priestly Code probably as a Midianite.
We may conclude that Balaam was an ancient figure of traditions originally common to all the Hebrews and their allies, and afterwards appropriated by individual tribes; much as there are various St Georges.
The chief significance of the Balaam narratives for the history of the religion of Israel is the recognition by J and E of the genuine inspiration of a non-Hebrew prophet.
Yahweh is as much the God of Balaam as he is of Moses.
Taking the narratives as we now have them, Balaam is a companion figure to Jonah, the prophet who wanted to go where he was not sent, over against the prophet who ran away from the mission to which he was called.
Gray on Numbers xxii.-xxiv.; and the articles on "Balaam" (Bileam) in Hamburger's Realencyclopddie fiir Bibel and Talmud, Hastings' Bible Diet., Black and Cheyne's Encyclopaedia Biblica, Herozog-Hauck's Realencyklopddie.
(the history of Balaam); Josh.
It is in this way that the function of the seer is closely connected (as in the case of Balaam) with sacrifices.
The account of Balaam, the son of Beor, the soothsayer, of the children of Ammon (xxii.
21 the latter is associated with both Sihon and Balaam, and in some obscure manner Midian and Moab are connected in Num.
Besides these works, Kalisch published in1877-1878two volumes of Bible studies (on Balaam and Jonah).
The first Bela, son of Beor, is often identified with Balaam, but the traditions of the Exodus are not precise enough to warrant the assumption that the seer was the king of a hostile land in Num.
1-8 appears to have been peaceful; see Balaam; Exodus.
(B) The story of Balaam as we have it in chaps.
8, 16 proves that Balaam was not unknown to P. According to E, Balak sent certain Moabite princes all the way to Pethor on the Euphrates to ask Balaam to come and curse Israel.
But Elohim came to Balaam by night and forbade him to go.
A second and still more influential embassy having been sent, Elohim again appeared by night, and this time permitted Balaam to go on condition that he said nothing but what Elohim bade him say.
The journey being a long one and across a difficult desert, requiring a caravan well equipped with camels, the princes of Moab waited till Balaam was ready to accompany them.
When Balaam reached the frontier of Moab Balak was waiting to welcome him, but could not refrain from asking why he had not come with the first embassy.
With equal frankness Balaam replied that, though he had come now, he had no power to say anything but what Elohim might put into his mouth.
Thereupon, instead of cursing the Israelites, Balaam blessed them.
Though bitterly disappoii_ted Balak still attempted to effect his purpose and took Balaam to the top of Pisgah, with the result that Israel received a second blessing.
According to J, Balaam was among his own people the BneAmmon when Balak sent messengers to him with presents such as soothsayers generally received, asking him to come and curse a people that had come up out of Egypt.
Balaam protested that, though he were to receive a houseful of silver and gold, he could not go beyond the word of Yahweh, his God.
As the journey was not a long or dangerous one, the servants of Balak returned at once to inform their master of their success, leaving Balaam to follow at his own convenience.
So Balaam, still without consulting Yahweh, saddled his ass and set out for Moab, attended only by two servants.
The land through which he had to pass, so far from being a desert, was a land of oil and wine; and when Balaam was riding along a narrow path between two vineyards, the angel of Yahweh would have slain him, had not his ass swerved and saved him.
Balaam, after being sternly rebuked, was allowed to proceed, but only on condition that "the word that I shall speak to thee, that thou shalt speak."
Balak met Balaam at Ar-Moab, whence they went to Kiriath-Huzoth and thence to the top of Peor.
Balak angrily taunted Balaam with having lost the honours intended for him, and bade him flee to his own place.
Balaam reminded Balak of his declaration that he could not go beyond the word of Yahweh, and then boldly announced the respective destinies of Israel and Moab, xxiv.
As seven is the perfect number and as Balaam had ordered seven altars to be built, the Redactor thought it would be well to have seven M6shalim or metrical oracles; and so he added other three which are certainly not pertinent to the situation, as they allude not merely to the Assyrian empire but to the Macedonian, and even, as some maintain, to the Roman empire, cf.