Parshat BalakParsha BalakComplete: (Numbers 22:2 - 25:9)First PortionNumbers Chapter 22Balak the son of Zippor saw all that Israel had done to the Amorites.Moab became terrified of the people, for they were numerous, and Moab became disgusted because of the children of Israel.Moab said to the elders of Midian, "Now this assembly will eat up everything around us, as the ox eats up the greens of the field. Balak the son of Zippor was king of Moab at that time.He sent messengers to Balaam the son of Beor, to Pethor, which is by the river of the land of his people, to call for him, saying, "A people has come out of Egypt, and behold, they have covered the "eye" of the land, and they are stationed opposite me.So now, please come and curse this people for me, for they are too powerful for me. Perhaps I will be able to wage war against them and drive them out of the land, for I know that whomever you bless is blessed and whomever you curse is cursed."So the elders of Moab and the elders of Midian went, with magic charms in their hands, and they came to Balaam and conveyed Balak's message to him.He said to them, "Lodge here for the night, and I will give you an answer when the Lord speaks to me." So the Moabite nobles stayed with Balaam.God came to Balaam and said, "Who are these men with you?"Balaam said to God, "Balak the son of Zippor the king of Moab has sent [them] to me, [saying]:"Behold the people coming out of Egypt, a nation, has covered the 'eye' of the earth. Come and curse them for me, perhaps I will be able to fight against them and drive them out."God said to Balaam, "You shall not go with them! You shall not curse the people because they are blessed."Second PortionNumbers Chapter 22When Balaam arose in the morning, he said to Balak's nobles, "Return to your country, for the Lord has refused to let me go with you."Moab's nobles arose and came to Balak and said, "Balaam refuses to come with us."So Balak continued to send dignitaries, more and higher in rank than these.They came to Balaam and said to him, "So said Balak the son of Zippor, 'Please do not hesitate to come to me.For I will honor you greatly and do whatever you tell me to do. So please come and curse this people for me.'"Balaam answered and said to Balak's servants, "Even if Balak gives me a house full of silver and gold, I cannot do anything small or great that would transgress the word of the Lord, my God.Now, you too, please remain here overnight, and I will know what the Lord will continue to speak with me."God came to Balaam at night and said to him, "If these men have come to call for you, arise and go with them, but the word I speak to you-that you shall do."Third PortionNumbers Chapter 22In the morning Balaam arose, saddled his she-donkey and went with the Moabite dignitaries.God's wrath flared because he was going, and an angel of the Lord stationed himself on the road to thwart him, and he was riding on his she-donkey, and his two servants were with him.The she-donkey saw the angel of the Lord stationed on the road with his sword drawn in his hand; so the she-donkey turned aside from the road and went into a field. Balaam beat the she-donkey to get it back onto the road.The angel of the Lord stood in a path of the vineyards, with a fence on this side and a fence on that side.The she-donkey saw the angel of the Lord, and she was pressed against the wall. She pressed Balaam's leg against the wall, and he beat her again.The angel of the Lord continued going ahead, and he stood in a narrow place, where there was no room to turn right or left.The she-donkey saw the angel of the Lord, and it crouched down under Balaam. Balaam's anger flared, and he beat the she-donkey with a stick.The Lord opened the mouth of the she-donkey, and she said to Balaam, "What have I done to you that you have struck me these three times?"Balaam said to the she-donkey, "For you have humiliated me; if I had a sword in my hand, I would kill you right now."The she-donkey said to Balaam, "Am I not your she-donkey on which you have ridden since you first started until now? Have I been accustomed to do this to you?" He said, "No."The Lord opened Balaam's eyes, and he saw the angel of the Lord standing in the road, with a sword drawn in his hand. He bowed and prostrated himself on his face.The angel of the Lord said to him, "Why have you beaten your she-donkey these three times? Behold, I have came out to thwart you, for the one embarking on the journey has hastened against me.When the she-donkey saw me, it turned aside these three times. Had she not turned aside before me, now also I would also have killed you and spared her [the she-donkey]."Balaam said to the angel of the Lord, "I have sinned, for I did not know that you were standing on the road before me. Now, if it displeases you, I will return."The angel of the Lord said to Balaam, "Go with these men, but the word I will speak to you-that you shall speak." So Balaam went with Balak's dignitaries.Balak heard that Balaam was coming; so he went out toward him to the city of Moab which is on the border of Arnon-at the extreme edge of the border.Balak said to Balaam, "Did I not send to you to call for you? Why did you not come to me? Am I indeed incapable of honoring you?"Balaam said to Balak, "Behold I have come to you, do I have any power to say anything? The word God puts into my mouth-that I will speak."Fourth PortionNumbers Chapter 22Balaam went with Balak, and they arrived at Kiryath Huzoth [a city of streets].Balak slaughtered cattle and sheep and sent [some] to Balaam and to the dignitaries with him.And in the morning Balak took Balaam and led him up to Bamoth Baal, and from there he saw part of the people.Numbers Chapter 23Balaam said to Balak, "Build me seven altars here, and prepare for me seven bulls and seven rams."Balak did as Balaam had requested, and Balak and Balaam offered up a bull and a ram on [each] altar.Balaam said to Balak, "Stand beside your burnt offering, and I will go. Perhaps the Lord will happen to appear to me, and He will show me something that I can tell you," and he went alone.God chanced upon Balaam, and he said to Him, "I have set up the seven altars, and I have offered up a bull and a ram on [each] altar."The Lord placed something into Balaam's mouth, and He said, "Return to Balak and say as follows."When he returned, Balak was standing next to his burnt offering, he and all the Moabite dignitaries.He took up his parable and said, "Balak the king of Moab has brought me from Aram, from the mountains of the east [saying], 'Come, curse Jacob for me and come invoke wrath against Israel.'How can I curse whom God has not cursed, and how can I invoke wrath if the Lord has not been angered?For from their beginning, I see them as mountain peaks, and I behold them as hills; it is a nation that will dwell alone, and will not be reckoned among the nations.Who counted the dust of Jacob or the number of a fourth of [or, of the seed of] Israel? May my soul die the death of the upright and let my end be like his."Balak said to Balaam, "What have you done to me? I took you to curse my enemies, but you have blessed them!"He answered, saying, "What the Lord puts into my mouth that I must take care to say."Fifth PortionNumbers Chapter 23Balak said to him, "Come with me to another place from where you will see them; however, you will see only a part of them, not all of them and curse them for me from there.He took him to the field of the lookouts, to the peak of the mountain, and he built seven altars and offered up a bull and a ram on [each] altar.He said to Balak, "Stand here next to your burnt offering and I will be chanced on here.The Lord chanced upon Balaam and placed something into his mouth. He said, "Return to Balak and so you shall speak."When he came to him, he was standing next to his burnt offering, and the Moabite dignitaries were with him, and Balak said to him, "What did the Lord speak?"He took up his parable and said, "Arise, Balak, and hear; listen closely to me, son of Zippor.God is not a man that He should lie, nor is He a mortal that He should relent. Would He say and not do, speak and not fulfill?I have received [an instruction] to bless, and He has blessed, and I cannot retract it.He does not look at evil in Jacob, and has seen no perversity in Israel; the Lord, his God, is with him, and he has the King's friendship.God has brought them out of Egypt with the strength of His loftiness.For there is no divination in Jacob and no soothsaying in Israel. In time it will be said to Jacob and Israel, 'What has God wrought?'Behold, a people that rises like a lioness (See Malbim) and raises itself like a lion. It does not lie down until it eats its prey and drinks the blood of the slain."Balak said to Balaam, "You shall neither curse them nor shall you bless them."Balaam answered and said to Balak, "Have I not spoken to you, saying, 'Everything the Lord speaks that I shall do."Sixth PortionNumbers Chapter 23Balak said to Balaam, "Come now, I will take you to a different place. Perhaps it will please God, and you will curse them for me from there.So Balak took Balaam to the peak of Peor, overlooking the wastelands.Balaam said to Balak, "Build me seven altars here and prepare for me seven bulls and seven rams.Balak did as Balaam told him, and offered up a bull and a ram on [each] altar.Numbers Chapter 24Balaam saw that it pleased the Lord to bless Israel; so he did not go in search of omens as he had done time and time again, but turned his face toward the desert.Balaam raised his eyes and saw Israel dwelling according to its tribes, and the spirit of God rested upon him.He took up his parable and said, "The word of Balaam the son of Beor and the word of the man with an open eye.The word of the one who hears God's sayings, who sees the vision of the Almighty, fallen yet with open eyes.How goodly are your tents, O Jacob, your dwelling places, O Israel!They extend like streams, like gardens by the river, like aloes which the Lord planted, like cedars by the water.Water will flow from his wells, and his seed shall have abundant water; his king shall be raised over Agag, and his kingship exalted.God, Who has brought them out of Egypt with the strength of His loftiness He shall consume the nations which are his adversaries, bare their bones and dip His arrows [into their blood].He crouches and lies like a lion and like a lioness; who will dare rouse him? Those who bless you shall be blessed, and those who curse you shall be cursed.Balak's anger flared against Balaam, and he clapped his hands. Balak said to Balaam, "I called you to curse my enemies, but you have blessed them these three times.Now, hurry back to your place. I said I would honor you greatly, but the Lord has deprived you of honor."Balaam said to Balak, "But I even told the messengers you sent to me, saying,'If Balak gives me his house full of silver and gold, I cannot transgress the word of the Lord to do either good or evil on my own; only what the Lord speaks can I speak.'Seventh PortionNumbers Chapter 24And now, I am going to my people. Come, I will advise you...what this people will do to your people at the end of days."He took up his parable and said, "The word of Balaam, son of Beor, the word of a man with an open eye.The word of the one who hears God's sayings and perceives the thoughts of the Most High; who sees the vision of the Almighty, fallen yet with open eyes.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.A ruler shall come out of Jacob, and destroy the remnant of the city."When he saw Amalek, he took up his parable and said, "Amalek was the first of the nations, and his fate shall be everlasting destruction."When he saw the Kenite, he took up his parable and said, "How firm is your dwelling place, and your nest is set in a cliff.For if Kain is laid waste, how far will Assyria take you captive?"He took up his parable and said, Alas! Who can survive these things from God?Ships will come from the Kittites and afflict Assyria and afflict those on the other side, but he too will perish forever."Balaam arose, went, and returned home, and Balak went on his way.Numbers Chapter 25Israel settled in Shittim, and the people began to commit harlotry with the daughters of the Moabites.They invited the people to the sacrifices of their gods, and the people ate and prostrated themselves to their gods.Israel became attached to Baal Peor, and the anger of the Lord flared against Israel.The Lord said to Moses, "Take all the leaders of the people and hang them before the Lord, facing the sun, and then the flaring anger of the Lord will be removed from Israel.Moses said to the judges of Israel, "Each of you shall kill the men who became attached to Baal Peor.Then an Israelite man came and brought the Midianite woman to his brethren, before the eyes of Moses and before the eyes of the entire congregation of the children of Israel, while they were weeping at the entrance of the Tent of Meeting.Phinehas the son of Eleazar the son of Aaron the kohen saw this, arose from the congregation, and took a spear in his hand.He went after the Israelite man into the chamber and drove [it through] both of them; the Israelite man, and the woman through her stomach, and the plague ceased from the children of Israel.Those that died in the plague numbered twenty four thousand.