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.
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.
(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.