The story of Balaam – Part 2
“And Balak again sent princes, more numerous and more honorable than the first. And they came to Balaam, and said to him, “Thus says Balak the son of Zippor, “Please do not let anything hinder you from coming to me. For I will honor you greatly, and whatever you say to me I will do. So come, put a curse on this nation for me.” And Balaam answered and said to the servants of Balak, “If Balak would give me his house full of silver and gold, I could not transgress the commandment of the LORD my God, to do less or more.
Now therefore, please stay the night here also, that I might know what more the LORD might say to me.” And God came to Balaam at night, and said to him, “If the men come to call you, rise up and go with them; but the word which I will say to you, that you must do.” So Balaam rose up in the morning, and saddled his donkey, and went with the princes of Moab”-Num. 22:15-21.
One would have thought it was all over. Balak had made Balaam a tempting offer, but God had forbidden him to accept it, and so Balaam sent the delegation back to Balak. Balak’s response is interesting and informative. First, we see that he refuses to take “No” for an answer. He is determined to have Israel cursed, and he is likewise determined that Balaam is the man to do it.
Second, we can see that Balak really offers Balaam nothing new; he simply enhances the offer he has already made. Balak initially sought to flatter Balaam with the delegation of princes he had sent, and with the money they had in their hands as a fee for divination. Balak now sends a larger and nobler delegation and seems to offer even more money. By inference, this new delegation of high-powered dignitaries says, “Name your own price.”
At first impression, Balaam’s response to this enhanced offer seems commendable. Isn’t he telling Balak that he cannot and will not come, no matter how much money he is offered? It may seem so, but I doubt that this is really the case. It is my personal opinion that Balaam is attempting to use God to further his own interests. He seems to be saying that there is no way he can be persuaded to violate the commandment of Yahweh, his God (verse 18).
And yet, if Balaam is so determined not to transgress the commandment of the Lord, then why does he invite this delegation to spend the night with him “also” as though God may have some further word? What more does God need to say to him besides “No!”? Surely God’s words to him the first time he entertained such a delegation would have sufficiently informed him that God was not pleased with this kind of hospitality. Furthermore, if God had blessed Israel, and this blessing could not be reversed, then what profit would there be in continuing negotiations regarding his cursing the Israelites?
• Prophet (Dr.) Abiara is General Evangelist, CAC Worldwide