Numbers 22:6 – Balaam’s Attempted Divination

From the very beginning when God interacted with Abram (Abraham), He pronounced a decree with everlasting consequences.  The Childre in Genesis 12:3 specifies an amazing law that is in effect to this day:

“I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonors you I will curse, and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”

This is such a powerful commandment that every person or nation that acts in any way – or that even plots – against Israel, God will curse them in some way.  Conversely, those which do favorably for Israel receive God’s blessings.

Bill Koenig, a Christian White House correspondent, has chronicled this phenomenon in his book, Eye to Eye: Facing the Consequences of Dividing Israel (  Looking at America over the years and at how various presidential administrations have approached the Mideast situation in regards to Israel, Koenig has shown a direct correlation between positive and negative actions our nation has taken toward God’s Promised Land and His Chosen People.  Inevitably, when we have taken steps to divide Israel, or so much as plot how to effect a two-state solution with the so-called Palestians, God has taken that as a personal affront and executed His wrath.  Often, severe weather catastrophes come upon different parts of our country; many times with storms arising suddenly with our having no foreknowledge.

On the other hand, through the years, as America has acted favorably toward Israel, God has immensely blessed our nation.  Unfortunately, because we’ve tended to simultaneously act in Israel’s interests while also doing something that will harm her, our blessings and curses have been intermingled.

During the Exodus, as God led the children of Israel steadily to the north on the east side of the Jordan River, they encountered hostile nations.  One such was Edom.  Look at what God declares later in Isaiah 34:5 for how Jacob’s brother (Esau founded Edom) treated Israel:

“For my sword has drunk its fill in the heavens; behold, it descends for judgment upon Edom, upon the people I have devoted to destruction.”

When Israel reached the border of Moab, King Balak grew fearful and summoned the prophet Balaam to curse her.  Balaam is an interesting character.  As a legitimate prophet, he heard from Yahweh, but he was not a Hebrew.  Balaam was a pagan prophet who practiced divination (Numbers 22:7), and who likely sought counsel from gods other than Yahweh as well.  He wasn’t an obedient follower of God.  We learn later that his advice caused the Moabites to seduce the Israelites (Numbers 31:16).

In this account, King Balak makes a statement concerning Balaam.  He says in Numbers 22:6:

“Come now, curse this people for me, since they are too mighty for me. Perhaps I shall be able to defeat them and drive them from the land, for I know that he whom you bless is blessed, and he whom you curse is cursed.”

Balak attributes to the prophet Balaam the ability to curse and bless as though he is acting according to the Abrahamic Covenant.  In a sense Balak is usurping this command of God to use for his personal reasons.  And, as we subsequently see, Balaam apparently believes he has this power in regards to Israel.  But God will not allow a pagan prophet to appropriate His authority against the nation of Israel which He has called forth and shepherded.  This law of blessings and curses cannot be used for any purpose other than what it was intended.  When Balaam attempts to speak curses, God makes only blessings come from his mouth (Numbers 23:11).  It confounds both the king and Balaam.

God specifically spoke this mandate to reflect His glory and power.  He made it a universal edict so that His protection upon Israel would be known.  Whether from the lips of Balaam or from an American president, when God’s Word is despised, He will not remain idle.  Yahweh is God Most High, and He will not be mocked.

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