Prophecy of Balaam Found in Jordan -- By: Anonymous
BSP 6:4 (Autumn 1977) p. 121
Prophecy of Balaam Found in Jordan
The non-Israelite prophet Balaam is mentioned a number of times throughout the Bible (Numbers 22–24, 31:8, 16; Deuteronomy 23:4, 5; Joshua 13:22; 24:9, 10; Nehemiah 13:2; Micah 6:5; 2 Peter 2:15; Jude 11; and Revelation 2:14). In Numbers 22, Balaam was summoned by Balak, the king of Moab, to curse the Israelites, who were camped on the east side of the Jordan river about to make their historic entry into the promised land. But through God’s intervention Balaam was obliged to bless the Israelites rather than curse them (Numbers 22–24). Shortly thereafter, Balaam was killed when Moses sent the Israelites against the Midianites (Numbers 31).
Balaam seems to have been the cause of the Israelites’ sin in Numbers 25 when they took Moabite women and worshipped the Moabite god Baal-Peor. This is indicated by Moses after the defeat of the Midianites in Numbers 31, when he said of the Midianite women, “Behold these caused the children of Israel, through the counsel of Balaam, to commit trespass against the Lord in the matter of Peor.” Balaam is further condemned in scripture in 2 Peter 2:15 (he loved the wages of unrighteousness), Jude 11 (ungodly men ran greedily after the error of Balaam for reward) and Revelation 2:14 (he taught Balak to cast a stumblingblock before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed to idols, and to commit fornication).
In an unprecedented discovery, an ancient text found in Deir Alla, Jordan, in 1967 tells about the activities of a prophet named Balaam. Not only is this text important because it apparently is
BSP 6:4 (Autumn 1977) p. 122
about an Old Testament figure, but also because it represents the first prophecy of any scope from the ancient West Semitic World to be found outside the Old Testament. The responsiblity f...
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