The Prophesies of Balaam

Scripture Passage: 
Numbers 23:1-30; Numbers 24:1-25

INTRODUCTION: This lesson tells of three attempts by Balak to get Balaam to curse Israel and four prophecies given as a result. Each attempt begins with a sacrifice followed by God’s word to Balaam and closes with Balak’s reaction to the message.

  1. THE FIRST ATTEMPT TO CURSE ISRAEL (Numbers 23:1-13)
    1. The Sacrifice (Numbers 23:1-2)
      1. The place (Numbers 22:39-41)
        1. Near Kirjath-huzoth which means “a city of streets”
        2. To the high places of Baal
      2. The altars - seven in number and newly built
      3. The animals - seven oxen and seven rams
    2. The Word from the Lord (Numbers 23:3-10)
      1. Balaam gives instructions to Balak (Numbers 23:3).
      2. Balaam tells the Lord of his sacrifice (Numbers 23:4).
      3. The Lord responds to Balaam (Numbers 23:5).
      4. Balaam returns to Balak (Numbers 23:6).
      5. Balaam speaks the words of God (Numbers 23:7-10).
    3. The Response of Balak (Numbers 23:11-13)
      1. Balak’s frustration (Numbers 23:11)
      2. Balaam’s response (Numbers 23:12)
      3. Balak’s offer to compromise (Numbers 23:13)
  2. A SECOND ATTEMPT TO CURSE ISRAEL (Numbers 23:14-27)
    1. The Sacrifice (Numbers 23:14)
      1. The place
        1. Into the field of Zophim meaning the field of watchers
        2. To the top of Pisgah
        3. This place was possibly a more elevated place than the last.
      2. The altars - seven in number and newly built
      3. The animals - seven oxen and seven rams
    2. The Word from the Lord (Numbers 23:15-24)
      1. Balaam gives instructions to Balak (Numbers 23:15).
      2. The Lord meets with Balaam (Numbers 23:16).
      3. Balaam returns to Balak (Numbers 23:17).
      4. Balaam speaks the words of God (Numbers 23:18-24).
        1. The character of God (Numbers 23:19)
        2. The commandment of God (Numbers 23:20)
        3. God’s view of His people (Numbers 23:21)
          1. He hath not beheld iniquity in Jacob neither hath He seen perverseness in Israel.
          2. When compared to preceding chapters, we know that God found iniquity among His people. Therefore they must have had some benefit of imputed righteousness before the eyes of God.
          3. This is not uncommon in the Old Testament.
            1. The scripture deals with times when God did not impute a man’s iniquities to him (Psalm 32:1-2).
            2. The scripture deals with God giving to man His righteousness (Job 33:26; Psalm 24:3-5).
        4. God’s deliverance of His people (Numbers 23:22)
        5. God’s protection of His people (Numbers 23:23-24)
    3. The Response of Balak (Numbers 23:25-27)
      1. Neither curse nor bless them (Numbers 23:25).
      2. The Lord said to bless them (Numbers 23:26).
      3. Maybe God will curse them from another place (Numbers 23:27).
  3. A THIRD ATTEMPT TO CURSE ISRAEL (Numbers 23:28-30; Numbers 24:1-13)
    1. The Sacrifice (Numbers 23:28-30)
      1. The place (Numbers 23:28)
        1. The top of Peor looking toward Jeshimon
        2. Balak thought God was upset because of the place (Numbers 23:27).
      2. The altars - seven in number and newly built
      3. The animals - seven oxen and seven rams
    2. The Word from the Lord (Numbers 24:1-9)
      1. A different approach by Balaam (Numbers 24:1-2)
      2. His claim to authority (Numbers 24:3-4)
      3. The blessings upon Israel (Numbers 24:5-9)
    3. The Response of Balak (Numbers 24:10-13)
      1. Balak’s anger toward Balaam (Numbers 24:10-11)
      2. Balaam’s response to Balak (Numbers 24:12-13)
  4. THE OPENING FOR THE FINAL PROPHECY (Numbers 24:14-16)
    1. The Conqueror of the Prophecy (Numbers 24:14)
      1. This people
      2. This is an obvious reference to Israel (Numbers 24:1-2).
    2. The Conquered of the Prophecy (Numbers 24:14)
      1. Thy people
      2. Refers to the Moabites, but it must refer to more as the prophecies include the children of Sheth, Edom, Seir, Amalek, the Kenites, Asshur and Eber.
    3. The Time of Fulfillment (Numbers 24:14)
      1. The latter days
      2. Though David partially fulfilled this prophecy (2 Samuel 8:2), the focus was on something that would happen in the latter days.
    4. The Authority for This Prophecy (Numbers 24:15-16)
      1. His eyes have been opened.
      2. He heard the words of God.
      3. He knew the knowledge of the most High.
      4. He saw the vision of the Almighty.
      5. He fell into a trance.
  5. THE PERSON OF BALAAM’S PROPHECY (Numbers 24:17)
    1. The Star Out of Jacob
      1. The Star
        1. This is a reference to the Lord Jesus Christ.
        2. Jesus Christ as a star
          1. The day star (1 Peter 2:19)
          2. The bright and morning star (Revelation 22:16)
          3. The dayspring (Job 38:12-15; Luke 1:57-80)
          4. Note: These references to Christ as a star are almost certainly pointing to the sun which is the bright and morning star.
      2. The sun’s connection to the coming of Christ (Malachi 4:1-3)
        1. The sign of the Son of man
          1. “The sign of the Son of man in heaven” immediately precedes His coming in power and great glory (Matthew 24:30).
          2. The identity of the Son of man (Revelation 1:13, 16)
        2. The literal sun at the coming slaughter (Isaiah 30:25-33)
          1. “The day of the great slaughter” (Isaiah 30:25). This matches “the supper of the great God” (Revelation 19:17).
          2. At this time, there is a sign in the heaven (Isaiah 30:26).
          3. The sun is given power to scorch men (Revelation 16:8-9).
    2. The Sceptre Out of Israel
      1. The sceptre is connected to a king and a kingdom.
      2. The sceptre of the Lord (Psalm 45:6; Hebrews 1:8)
      3. Jesus Christ as the King (Genesis 49:10; Matthew 2:2; Revelation 19:16-17)
    3. The Wise Men from the East (Matthew 2:1-2)
      1. How did they know?
        1. Two prophecies (Numbers 24:17; Daniel 9:20-26)
        2. The location of these prophecies
          1. Daniel’s prophecy came in Babylon (Daniel 1:1-6).
          2. Balaam’s prophecy came on the eastern side of Jordan, and he was a prophet from Mesopotamia (Deuteronomy 23:4).
          3. Both prophecies were provided and known in the eastern world.
      2. Why did they come? (Matthew 2:2)
  6. THE SLAUGHTER OF BALAAM’S PROPHECY (Numbers 24:17-19)
    1. The Corners of Moab (Numbers 24:17)
      1. Partially fulfilled by David (Psalm 108:9-13; 2 Samuel 8:2)
      2. To occur again after David (Jeremiah 48:42-47; Isaiah 25:6-12)
    2. The Children of Sheth (Numbers 24:17)
    3. The Possession of Edom and Seir (Numbers 24:18)
      1. Possessions for His enemies
      2. Edom will be judged (Isaiah 63:1-4).
      3. Seir is in the country of Edom (Genesis 32:3).
    4. The Dominion of Israel (Numbers 24:18-19)
  7. THE PROPHECY CONCERNING AMALEK (Numbers 24:20)
    1. His Beginning
      1. The first of the nations
      2. Probably in reference to being the first to war with Israel (Exodus 17:8)
    2. His End
      1. His latter end
        1. It is almost as though there were two ends to Amalek.
        2. Israel, under Saul, was to put an end to them but did not (1 Samuel 15:13-24). Haman was also a descendant of Agag (Esther 3:1).
      2. The Lord signifies their latter end will be when they perish forever.
  8. THE PROPHECY CONCERNING THE KENITES (Numbers 24:21-22)
    1. His Strength (Numbers 24:21)
    2. His Captivity (Numbers 24:22)
  9. THE PROPHECY CONCERNING ASSHUR AND EBER (Numbers 24:23-24)
    1. The Fierceness of the Coming Judgment (Numbers 24:23)
    2. The Affliction upon Asshur and Eber (Numbers 24:24)
      1. Asshur
        1. A son of Shem (Genesis 10:22)
        2. Came from the land of Shinar (Genesis 10:8-10)
        3. Built the city of Nineveh (Genesis 10:11-12)
        4. Possibly connected to Assyria
        5. Quite possibly connected to the Assyrian, which is another name for the antichrist (Isaiah 30:31; Micah 5:5-6)
        6. Consider the mention of ships from coast of Chittim (Numbers 24:24),  and the mention of Chittim again with the antichrist (Daniel 11:30-31)
      2. Eber
        1. From the line of Shem (Genesis 10:22, 24)
        2. Grandson of Arphaxad and son of Salah (Genesis 10:24)
  10. THE DEPARTURE OF BALAAM (Numbers 24:25)
    1. Balaam Returned to His Place.
    2. Balak Went His Way.

CONCLUSION: Because of the incident with the ass, Balaam knew better than to cross God and curse Israel in order to please Balak. However, he is by no means an example of a godly prophet. He was a Gentile soothsayer who made money from his sayings. He was motivated by money to the end and his end was death by the sword.

God’s word will have the victory in the end. We can oppose the Lord and hurt ourselves and others or we can submit to Him and be part of His plan. Which are you going to do?

David Reagan and Andrew Ray

Daily Proverb

Proverbs 18:3

When the wicked cometh, then cometh also contempt, and with ignominy reproach.