Balaam, bil-AM, בִּלְעָם
Balaam (Wikipedia)
Balaam and the angel, painting from Gustav Jaeger, 1836.

Balaam /ˈbeɪlæm/ (Hebrew:

בִּלְעָם‬, Standard Bilʻam Tiberian Bilʻām) is a diviner in the Torah (Old Testament), his story begins in Chapter 22 in the Book of Numbers (Numbers:22). Every ancient reference to Balaam considers him a non-Israelite, a prophet, and the son of Beor, though Beor is not clearly identified. Though some sources may only describe the positive blessings he delivers upon the Israelites, he is reviled as a "wicked man" in both the Torah and the New Testament (2 Peter 2:15, Jude 1:11, Revelation 2:14). Balaam refused to speak what God did not speak and would not curse the Israelites, even though King Balak of Moab offered him money to do so (Numbers 22–24). But Balaam's error and the source of his wickedness came from sabotaging the Israelites as they entered the Promised Land. According to Revelation (Revelation 2:14), Balaam told King Balak how to get the Israelites to commit sin by enticing them with sexual immorality and food sacrificed to idols. The Israelites fell into transgression due to these traps and God sent a deadly plague to them as a result (Numbers 31:16).

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