Old Testament Summary Lesson 16: “Cannot Go Beyond the Word of the Lord”
- What Do Jews Think of Balaam? The collection of Jewish traditions about Balaam are mostly negative and confusing. First of all, he is considered a “gentile prophet.” What makes this of interest is the acknowledgment, or at least the inference, that there were prophets outside of ethnic Israel. Unfortunately, the same Jewish tradition distrusts “gentile” prophets. In the same breath, it diminishes the importance of the positive Biblical accounts of Balaam before his apostasy.
- Balaam Speaks of a Latter-day David: Balaam was very politically involved and apparently prophesied of a latter-day King David: “Even in parashat-Bilam, the prophecy in that section bears upon two Mashiachs; the first, namely David, who helped to save Israel from the hand of their enemies, and the future Mashiach, a descendant of David, who will help Israel.” (Torah and Existence – Dr. Chaim Zimmerman)
- Tradition: There is a Jewish tradition that after a good life, an evil spirit entered Balaam and he “counterfeited” God’s word.