Everybody wants to know what the significance of the donkey speaking is, but just as interesting is the significance of what Balaam speaking is in Numbers 22-24!
Not many sermons touch on the exclusion of Moses from the promised land in Nm 20. The first explanation of it comes immediately after the event: God tells Moses "because you have not believed Me ...." (20:12).
In contrast to what we have read regarding the failures of Israel, and even Moses, the reader hears from Balaam, and from God through Balaam, that Israel is "not cursed" (23:8), "not denounced" (23:8), and "blessed" (23:11). The very first thing God tells Balaam about Israel -- and this is after we have read about so many plagues from God (11:33, 14:37, 16:46) and a larger plague from God to come (25:9) -- is that "they are blessed" (22:12).
Therefore, what a contrasting picture is given of Israel in 23:21-24, than what we have learned from their sins! Is this textual corruption? No! Is this documentary fragmentation? No! It is dramatic juxtaposition. Numbers 21-24 is placed squarely in the middle of, and surrounded by, events that involve the sins of Israel and its leaders. But 23:21 states "He [God] has not observed misfortune in Jacob; / Nor has He seen trouble in Israel."
What about the fact that the whole generation except for Moses and two spies dies in the wilderness from what was announced in 14:33? A whole generation dies off in this time between Nm 14:1 and 26:65.
The three chapters, Nm 22-24, containing the prophecy of Balaam about Israel, when combined with what the reader already knows about Israel to this point, and will continue to read in 25:1ff., are some of the most amazing founding documents of any world religion. We may say 'this is typical of prophecy, to look beyond the bleak prospect of present sins.' But here, prophecy is not talking about only the immediate future, but the present (23:21-23), and even the end (23:10)!
- ► 2017 (53)
- New Year: Dt 25-27 for Feb 28
- New Year: Dt 22-24 for Feb 27
- New Year: Dt 19-21 for Feb 26
- New Year: Dt 16-18 for Feb 25
- New Year: Dt 13-15 for Feb 24
- New Year: Dt 10-12 for Feb 23
- New Year: Dt 7-9 for Feb 22
- New Year: Dt 4-6 for Feb 21
- New Year: Dt 1-3 for Feb 20
- New Year: Nm 34-36 for Feb 19
- New Year: Nm 31-33 for Feb 18
- New Year: Nm 28-30 for Feb 17
- New Year: Nm 24-27 for Feb 16
- New Year: Nm 21-23 for Feb 15
- New Year: Nm 17-20 for Feb 14
- New Year: Nm 15-16 for Feb 13
- New Year: Nm 13-14 for Feb 12
- New Year: Nm 10-12 for Feb 11
- New Year: Nm 7-9 for Feb 10
- New Year: Nm 5-6 for Feb 9
- New Year: Nm 3-4 for Feb 8
- New Year: Lv 27; Nm 1-2 for Feb 7
- New Year: Lev 25-26 for Feb 6
- New Year: Lev 23-24 for Feb 5
- New Year: Lev 20-22 for Feb 4
- New Year: Lev 16-19 for Feb 3
- New Year: Lev 13-15 for Feb 2
- New Year: Lev 10-12 for Feb 1
- ▼ February (28)
- ► 2006 (24)