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The Book of Numbers 0004 - Lesson 6

Scripture Passage: 
Numbers 22:1-41

Chapter 22

The Call of Balaam to Curse Israel

  1. INTRODUCTION
    1. Division of the Chapter
      1. The Israelites set forward (Numbers 22:1).
      2. The fear of the Moabites (Numbers 22:2-4)
      3. The request for Balaam’s services (Numbers 22:5-14)
      4. The second request for Balaam’s services (Numbers 22:15-21)
      5. The angel of the Lord stands in the way (Numbers 22:22-27).
      6. Balaam’s ass speaks (Numbers 22:28-30).
      7. The angel of the Lord reveals himself to Balaam (Numbers 22:31-35).
      8. The reception of Balak (Numbers 22:36-38)
      9. The offering of Balak (Numbers 22:39-41)
    2. The Number Three in this Chapter
      1. The scriptures give three reasons why Moab was afraid of Israel (Numbers 22:2-4).
      2. Balaam was supposed to go with the messengers after the third time (Numbers 22:20).
      3. The Lord gives a threefold response to Balaam (Numbers 22:12).
      4. Balaam and two of his servants went with the princes (Numbers 22:22).
      5. The ass saw the angel of the Lord in the way three times.
      6. Balaam smote the ass three times (Numbers 22:28).
      7. The ass asked Balaam three questions (Numbers 22:28, 30).
      8. Balak asked Balaam three questions (Numbers 22:37).
  2. THE ISRAELITES SET FORWARD (Numbers 22:1)
  3. THE FEAR OF THE MOABITES (Numbers 22:2-4; Exodus 15:13-15)
    1. Israel’s Defeat of the Amorites (Numbers 22:2)
    2. The Number of Israelites (Numbers 22:3)
    3. Fear of Their Own Future Defeat (Numbers 22:4)
      1. This was an unnecessary fear (Deuteronomy 2:9).
      2. Israel had defeated one of Moab’s enemies (Numbers 21:26).
      3. They had departed from Lot’s faith (Numbers 21:29; Proverbs 28:1).
      4. The ox licketh up the grass.
        1. Licketh up means to devour or consume (1 Kings 18:38).
        2. Israel is elsewhere likened to an ox (Deuteronomy 33:17).
        3. The wicked are elsewhere likened to grass (Psalm 37:1-2).
  4. THE REQUEST FOR BALAAM’S SERVICES (Numbers 22:5-14)
    1. The Call for Balaam (Numbers 22:5)
      1. The son of Beor
      2. A soothsayer (Joshua 13:22)
      3. A prophet (2 Peter 2:16)
      4. Of Pethor of Mesopotamia (Deuteronomy 23:4)
    2. The Job for Balaam (Numbers 22:6)
      1. Curse this people.
      2. That we may drive them out
      3. Balaam’s reputation for results
    3. The Pay for Balaam (Numbers 22:7)
      1. The rewards of divination – gifts and money given to those who tell fortunes, bless, curse, etc.
      2. Balaam’s love for the wages of unrighteousness (2 Peter 2:15)
    4. The Submission of Balaam (Numbers 22:8-13)
      1. Balaam expected to hear from God (Numbers 22:8).
      2. God questions the identity of the men with Balaam (Numbers 22:9).
      3. Balaam explains the purpose for which these men sought his services (Numbers 22:10-11).
      4. God gives Balaam a response (Numbers 22:12).
        1. Thou shalt not go with them.
        2. Thou shalt not curse the people.
        3. They are blessed.
      5. Balaam refuses to go with the princes (Numbers 22:13).
        1. Balaam only gave them part of God’s answer.
        2. If he had declared all of God’s answer, they would have known that he was no use to them.
    5. The Return of the Princes Numbers 22:14)
  5. THE SECOND REQUEST FOR BALAAM’S SERVICES (Numbers 22:15-21)
    1. The Second Call for Balaam (Numbers 22:15)
      1. Balak sends princes again.
      2. This time he sends more in number and in honour that the first.
    2. The Deal Offered by Balak (Numbers 22:16-17)
      1. Let nothing hinder you from coming.
      2. I will promote thee unto great honour.
      3. I will do whatsoever you say unto me.
    3. The Response of Balaam (Numbers 22:18)
      1. If Balak offered his house full of silver and gold
      2. I cannot go beyond the word of the Lord.
    4. The Seeking of the Will of the Lord (Numbers 22:19-20)
      1. Balaam was looking for the Lord to say more.
      2. The Lord says that if the men come again, then Balaam is to go with them.
    5. The Rebellion of Balaam (Numbers 22:21)
      1. Balaam rose up in the morning and went with them.
      2. The men had not come again.  They were still there from the night before.
      3. Balaam had already heard from the Lord that he was not to go.  He had no business asking again.  Notice also that in verse 18, Balaam says that he cannot do less or more than what God tells him.
  6. THE ANGEL OF THE LORD STANDS IN THE WAY (Numbers 22:22-27)
    1. God’s Anger was Kindled (Numbers 22:22).
      1. God was angry with Balaam for going with the men.
      2. The angel of the Lord stood in the way as an adversary.
    2. The Ass’s First Vision of the Angel of the Lord (Numbers 22:23)
      1. The ass saw the angel of the Lord with His sword drawn.
      2. The ass turned aside out of the way and went into the field.
      3. Balaam smote the ass to turn her into the way.
    3. The Ass’s Second Vision of the Angel of the Lord (Numbers 22:24-25)
      1. The angel of the Lord stood in a path of the vineyards.
        1. A wall being on this side
        2. A wall on that side
      2. The ass saw the angel of the Lord.
      3. She thrust herself unto the wall and crushed Balaam’s foot.
      4. Balaam smote the ass again.
    4. The Ass’s Third Vision of the Angel of the Lord (Numbers 22:26-27)
      1. The angel of the Lord went and stood in a narrow place where there was no way to turn to the right hand or to the left.
      2. Note:  Notice the progression of difficulty to avoid the angel of the Lord.
        1. The first time the ass could turn into the field to avoid the angel.
        2. The second time the ass could thrust herself up against the wall to avoid the angel.
        3. This time the ass could only fall down.
      3. The ass saw the angel of the Lord.
      4. She fell down under Balaam.
      5. Balaam smote the ass with a staff.
  7. BALAAM’S ASS SPEAKS (Numbers 22:28-30)
    1. The Lord Opens the Mouth of the Ass (Numbers 22:28; Job 12:7-8).
    2. The Ass’s First Question (Numbers 22:28)
      1. What have I done unto thee
      2. That thou hast smitten me these three times
    3. Balaam’s Response (Numbers 22:29; Proverbs 12:10)
      1. Thou hast mocked me.
      2. I wish I had a sword for now would I kill thee.
    4. The Ass’s Second Question (Numbers 22:30)
      1. Am not I thine ass
      2. Upon which thou hast ridden ever since I was thine unto this day
    5. The Ass’s Third Question (Numbers 22:30)
    6. The Irony of Balaam’s Response (Numbers 22:30)
      1. The ass speaks as does a man and makes complete sense.
      2. Balaam responds “nay” like an animal.
  8. THE ANGEL OF THE LORD REVEALS HIMSELF TO BALAAM (Numbers 22:31-35)
    1. The Lord Opens Balaam’s Eyes (Numbers 22:31).
      1. Notice that Balaam could not see the angel of the Lord until his eyes were opened.  This is not said of the ass, only that the Lord had to open its mouth.
      2. Balaam sees the angel of the Lord standing in the way with His sword drawn (Revelation 2:12-14).
      3. Balaam bowed down his head and fell flat on his face.
    2. The Life Saving Ass (Numbers 22:32-33)
      1. The angel of the Lord defends the ass (Numbers 22:32).
      2. The angel of the Lord rebukes Balaam (Numbers 22:32).
      3. If the ass had not turned from the angel of the Lord, Balaam would have been slain and the ass would have been spared.
    3. The Fear of Balaam (Numbers 22:34)
      1. His ignorance of the opposition from God
      2. If it displeases the Lord I will go back.
    4. The Command of the Angel of the Lord (Numbers 22:35)
      1. Go with the men.
      2. Speak only the words that I speak unto you.
  9. THE RECEPTION OF BALAK (Numbers 22:36-38)
    1. Balak’s Questions for Balaam (Numbers 22:37)
    2. Balaam’s Response (Numbers 22:38)
  10. THE OFFERING OF BALAK (Numbers 22:39-41)
Andrew Ray

Daily Proverb

Proverbs 15:26

The thoughts of the wicked are an abomination to the LORD: but the words of the pure are pleasant words.