Word of the defeat of Sichon, king of Emori must have traveled to Balak quickly, even without TV and the Internet. Balak most likely saw himself next in line for defeat. Immediate action and strategic planning were needed to defeat Israel and avoid catastrophe. Their reputation for having great strength preceded them. We can read in Joshua that the exploits of Israel leaving Egypt were still being talked about. Balak needed to get the upper hand of this situation so he sought a weapon far greater than human strength. As an interesting side note, I wonder what the outcome of this Torah portion would have been if instead of trying to defeat Israel, Balak had sought to bless Israel. We will never know.
Balak’s strategy was to utilize Balaam, a priest known for his power to curse people. The curses he had spoken over armies powerfully defeated them. Balaam’s destructive words were successful numerous times. Could they bring Balak victory?
We all know well the account of Balaam and his apparent struggle to do good. How many of us who grew up in Sunday school will ever forget the day they heard the story of the talking donkey? We were instructed in school on the sin of cursing Yah’s people. The important lesson of being sensitive to hear Yah’s guidance, before He had to use our favorite pet to give us the message was also etched in our hearts.
There is more to the story of Balaam’s greediness for us to glean. In Numbers 23:9 Balaam says, “yes, a people that will dwell alone and not think itself one of the nations.” This verse is very rich in its meaning to us today.
A number of years ago, then prime minister of Israel, Yitzchak Rabin made an infamous speech in Jerusalem. In that speech he stated that the people of Israel were only interested in being like all other nations. How do we interpret this statement? He was saying that although the State of Israel was founded by a miracle of Elohim Himself and they were called by Elohim to live by His commandments, they just wanted to look like, act like and be like all the other nations of the world. They did not want to be different; they did not desire to dwell alone as a nation clearly devoted to the One who had brought them out of the ashes of the Holocaust. Although Yitzchak Rabin was a citizen of the State of Israel, his words in that speech, before his assassination, proved he had not learned what it was to be part of the Nation of Israel, a nation called to be unique from others, even if it meant living alone. (Click to Article)