The Website for Book Lovers

Legands of the Jews > Volume 3 >

Prev | Next | Contents


Balaam, on the other hand, made no further attempts to induce God to curse Israel, but thought he might be able to bring misfortune upon Israel by enumerating the sins they had committed in the desert, and in this way to conjure up God's wrath against them. But the desert had also been the place where Israel had accepted the Torah, hence the mention of the desert called up God's love instead of His wrath. [776] Balaam himself, when he let his eyes wander over the camp of Israel, and perceived how their tents were so pitched that no one might see what was going on in the homes of the others, found himself compelled to burst into praises of Israel; [777] and, under the inspiration of the prophetic spirit, the curses he had intended to speak were changed in his mouth into blessings, and he spoke of the extent and importance of the kingdom of Israel. [778] But whereas Moses blessed his people in a low, quiet voice, Balaam spoke his words of blessing in a very loud voice, so that all the other nations might hear and out of envy make war upon Israel. Balaam's blessings were therefore accounted to him not as blessings, but as curses. God said: "I have promised Abraham, 'And I will bless them that bless thee, and him that curseth thee will I curse,' hence will I account Balaam's blessings as curses." [779] And indeed all of Balaam's blessing later turned to curses, except his blessing that houses of teaching and of prayer should never be missing among Israel. [780]

The words that Balaam announced were heard by all the inhabitants of the earth, such power did God lend to his voice, for He knew that at some future time there would be a man born of woman who would pass himself for a god and would mislead all the world. Hence God permitted all the world to hear Balaam's words, that said: "God is not a man, and the man that passeth himself for God lieth. But he that will mislead the world by declaring that he will disappear for a time and then reappear will promise what he can never fulfil. Woe then to that nation that will lend ear to the man who will pass himself for God." [781] Balaam furthermore announced the events that would come to pass at the time of David's sovereignty; and also what will happen at the end of days, in the time of Messiah, when Rome and all other nations will be destroyed by Israel, excepting only the descendants of Jethro, who will participate in Israel's joy and sorrows. [782] Yea, the Kenites are to be the ones to announce to Israel the arrival of the Messiah, and the sons of the Kenite Jonadab are to be the first at the time of the Messiah to bring offerings at the Temple and to announce to Jerusalem its deliverance. [783] This was Balaam's last prophecy. After this, the prophetic spirit left Balaam, and God in this way granted Moses' wish to reserve the gift of prophecy as a special distinction to Israel. Balaam was the last prophet of the nations. [784]

Prev | Next | Contents

The Heptameron: The Very Naughty Book By Margueritte de Navarre

Princess Belle Etoile
The Beautiful Illustrations of a Dark Fairy Tale

WW1 Poster
World War One Propaganda Posters

Charles Dickens Mistress
A Victorian Scandal: Charles Dickens and The Actress

Art of Albrecht Durer
The Art of Albrecht Durer