Ep. 050: Balaam’s Donkey

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Ep. 050: Balaam’s Donkey

The Israelites camped in the valley of Moab, next to the Jordan River across from Jericho.
The king of Moab was a man named Balak. He was terrified when he saw the great mass of people in his valley. He had heard what they’d done to other kings. He said to the Midianites, “These people are more powerful than us. I’m afraid they’ll totally destroy us.”
Together, the two nations decided to send for Balaam, a prophet who lived in the east next to the Euphrates River. They sent gifts with a message, “Come quickly. A huge mass of people has come out of Egypt, and they’re now in our valley. They’re stronger than us, so we want you to curse them so we can defeat them and send them away. We know you’re a prophet, and whoever you curse is cursed, and whoever you bless is blessed.”
Balaam said, “Stay the night. In the morning I’ll tell you what God told me to do.”
During the night, God said to Balaam, “Who are these men staying with you?”
“They’re from the king of Moab. He says there are a large mass of people come out of Egypt, and he wants me to go and curse them.”
The Lord said, “No, you’re not to go with them. You’re not to curse those people, because they’re blessed.”
The next morning, Balaam told the delegation, “Go back to your king. The Lord won’t let me go with you.”
The delegation went back and gave Balak this message. The king then sent a delegation of more important people. Through them he said, “Don’t let anything stop you from coming to me. If you’ll curse these people, I’ll make you a rich man.”
Balaam said, “If the king filled my house with gold, I can only say what the Lord tells me to say. Still, stay the night. I’ll see if the Lord says something different.”
That night, the Lord said to Balaam, “Since these men have come to you a second time, you may go with them. But, be careful. Only say what I tell you to say.” So the next morning, Balaam saddled his donkey, took his two servants, and started on his journey to Moab.
As he traveled along, the Angel of the Lord stood in his path with a sword in his hand. The donkey looked up and saw the angel, so she turned and went into a field. Balaam beat her until she got back on the path.
The angel went down the path and stood at a place where there was a wall on both sides. The donkey looked up and saw the angel with his sword drawn. She pushed up against the wall, trapping Balaam’s foot. He beat her again.
The angel went down the path, but this time he stood in a place where there was no room on either side. The donkey looked up and saw the angel, so she crouched down beneath Balaam.
Balaam flew into a rage. He took a stick and started beating his donkey. With that, God allowed the donkey to talk. She said, “Why have you beaten me three times?”
Balaam yelled at her. “Because you’ve made me look like a fool. If this was a sword instead of a stick, I’d kill you right here on the spot.”
The donkey said, “Haven’t I served you ever since you were born? Have I ever done this before?”
Balaam said, “No, you never have.”
Suddenly, his eyes were opened and he saw the Angel of the Lord standing in the path with his sword drawn. Balaam bowed down before him.
The angel said, “You have beaten your donkey three times. Yet, if it hadn’t been for her, I would have killed you and let her live.”
Balaam said, “If you don’t want me to go to Moab, I’ll turn around and go home.”
The angel said, “No, you may go. But be careful. Only say the words I give you to say.” And with that, Balaam went on to Moab.

 

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