top of page

A Talking Donkey - Torah Portion Balak

Numbers 22:2–25:9

In this portion of scripture we read the story about Balaam, the talking donkey, and the King of Moab.

Balaam was a sorcerer and prophet who was commissioned by King Balak of the Moabites to curse the Hebrews. Problem is, he found himself incapable of cursing them. Although he tried three different times, each time he found himself blessing them instead.

The Israelites had just spent 40 years wandering in the wilderness and now they found themselves on the threshold of entering Canaan, the Promised Land. They were camped at the border of Moab. Now,

the Moabites were terrified of the Israelites. They had seen what they had done to the other nations, but especially what they had just done to the Amorites. King Balak recognized a supernatural power residing with these Israelites so he sought a way to

undermine them by hiring Balaam to come and pronounce curses over them.

According to Jewish literature Balaam was a well known and very powerful sorcerer and prophet.

After finally engaging Balaam to come, we find that YHVH set out to slay him along the way but his donkey prevented the slaying. Balaam, not understanding the donkey's actions, struck him. It was at this point that the donkey spoke to him.

It was not that Balaam had never heard of the God of the Hebrews, for he surely had. In fact he refers to Him as YHVH, His memorial name. It is noted in scripture that YHVH spoke to Balaam and told him not to go to Balak, then to go to Balak, and then upon his leaving, YHVH tried to kill him along the journey. Why would YHVH do this? The Rabbi's see this as a means to an end. They see from this that the will of Balaam had to be broken, by a speaking donkey, so that He would obey what YHVH

spoke to him and also that this would be carried out in front of the right, higher up, officials of the land.

Others see it as YHVH letting Balaam go because that is what he so desperately wanted to do, so that he could curse Israel. However, YHVH had other plans.

Although Balaam tried to curse Israel on three different occasions, he was unable to do so, and instead he blessed them three times. He told Balak that it was impossible for him to curse what YHVH had blessed.

After the third blessing of Israel, King Balak asked Balaam to leave. Before Balaam left he turned and blessed Israel a fourth time, this fourth blessing was about a future Messianic redemption:

“I see it, but not now; I behold it, but not soon. A star has gone forth from Jacob, and a staff will arise from Israel which will crush the princes of Moab and uproot all the sons of Seth. Edom

shall be possessed, and Seir shall become the possession of his enemies, and Israel shall triumph“.

The reason that Balaam could not curse Israel was because they were obeying YHVH's Torah. The same applies to us today. If we are obeying God and His Word, then no voodoo witch, or other vice of Hasatan, can put a curse upon us.

However, we find that Balaam did instruct Balak as to how Israel could be cursed. How? They will curse themselves when they disobey YHVH's Word.

You see, there was no need for Balaam or anyone else to pronounce a curse upon Israel because they would curse themselves when they disobeyed. We do the same thing today!

What was the response of King Balak to this news? He sent women in amongst the Hebrews and made them commit sexual sins with them. When Israel did this, they brought a curse upon themselves.

Many times in our lives we blame God or Satan when bad things, or some may say curses, seem to be upon us. Do we ever stop to examine ourselves and our obedience to God's Word? No demon, human or otherwise, can curse an obedient child of YHVH but we can curse ourselves when we are disobedient.

Satan knows this so he works overtime to bring temptations our way, which are meant to draw us away and make us sin. When we sin, we have brought a curse upon ourselves.

In Deuteronomy Chapter 28:15-68, we can read about the curses of disobedience. Prior to these verses we read about the blessings of obedience. If a person wants curses to be upon them, then all they have

to do is to disobey. Of course, repentance (teshuva in Hebrew) before YHVH will take away these curses.

We must all be diligent in our obedience.

In the book of Jude we are warned about “evil ones” who will slip in among the obedient and lead them astray with heresies and falsehood. A half truth is the worst kind of heresy in my opinion. The sin of Balaam is mentioned. Some will sell their soul for monetary gain. We must speak the truth with boldness and reject all that does not line up with the holy Word. We must always be on guard! Never give an inch to the enemy! Time is short! Stay warrior equipped! Know the battle lines clearly! Heresies are encamped everywhere! Remain diligent!




Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page