Balaam and Balak

Balaam, son of Beor, was a prophet from Penthor, on the Euphrates River, and Balak, son of Zippor, was a king of Moab.

When Balak realized how many Israelites were camped east of the Jordan River, and how they had conquered the Amorites, he sent messengers to Balaam to come and put a curse of the Israelites, so he could drive them out of his land. Balaam saddled his donkey and started off with the messengers. But God, who had already told Balaam not to curse the Israelites, was angry with Balaam's eager attitude, so he sent an angel to stand in the road to stop him. The donkey could see the angel (Balaam could not) and shied away. After Balaam beat the donkey, the Lord caused the donkey to speak, rebuking Balaam for beating him. God then allowed Balaam to see the angel.

When Balaam realized he had sinned by traveling to Moab, he offered to go back home, but the angel told him to go on to Moab, and to say what the angel told him to say. When Balaam meets Balak, he blesses the Israelites instead of cursing them. Balak went into a rage, but Balaam reminded him that he could not go beyond the words of God. Balaam then prophesies to Balak on the future destruction of Moab and other surrounding countries, by Israel. Balaam and Balak then return to their homes. Later when Moses and the Israelites fought Sihon and the other Kings of Midian, Balaam was killed in the battle.

Balaam is mentioned in 2 Peter 2:15, and Jude, verse 11, as one who would do wrong for the love of money. In Revelation 2:14, God tells the church in Pergamos that Balaam taught Balak how to ruin the people of Israel, by involving them in sexual sin, and encouraging them to go to idol feasts.

The events of Balaam and Balak are found in the Bible's book called Numbers, chapters 22-24.

Next person in the Bible: Barabbas

Go to: List of people in the Bible

Go to: Women in the Bible