My Study Notes on Balaam


Introduction: Numbers 22:1-25:9

1. A special people (Israel). A strange petition (curse Israel). A sinful person (Balaam). One of the most unusual stories in the Bible. He is like a “Jeckel and Hyde” type “prophet.”
2. He was a man who said things like:
a. I could not go beyond the word of the Lord My God to do more or less (22:18).
b. How can I curse whom God has not cursed? (23:8).
c. Let me die the death of the righteous and let my end be like his (23:10).
d. God is not a man, that He should lie, Nor a son of man, that He should repent. Has He said, and    will He not do it? Or has He spoken, and will He not make it good? Behold, I have received a    command to bless; He has blessed, and I cannot reverse it (23:19-20).
3. Yet he is condemned every time he is mentioned in the New Testament.


1. Num. 22:1-7 Balak king of Maob sent for Balaam to curse Israel.
2. Num. 22:8-14 God asked Balaam who these men were and told him that Israel is blessed.
3. Num. 22:15-18 Balak sends other more prominent men.
4. Num. 22:19-21 God said “If” the men come then go with them. They didn’t and he shouldn’t.
5. Num. 22:20-33 The donkey rebuked the prophet and she actually saved his life.


1. Num. 23:11 Balaam attempted to curse Israel, but he blessed them bountifully.
2. Num. 23:13 Move to another place and curse them from there.
3. Num. 23:27 Yet another place and curse them from there.
4. Num. 24:10 Blessed them three times when he tried to curse them.
5. Num. 23:20 God had bless them and no one could reverse it.


1. Num. 25:1-9 He advised Balak to send women among them and lead them into idolatry, then God would judge them. He said something like: “I can’t curse them but I can tell you how to corrupt them and then God will consume them.” When they turned from God to idolatry God punished them with a plague and many died.
2. Joshua 24:9-10 Balaam wanted to curse them for the money.
2. Num. 31:8 Balaam was later killed with the sword.


A. The Blunders. He committed numerous sins against Israel. In the example of Balaam we are warned against the love of money and false teaching.

1. II Peter 2:15-16 He loved the wages of unrighteousness. It drove him to madness.
2. Jude v. 11 He went into error for profit.
3. Rev. 2:14 He taught Balak how to corrupt the children of Israel.
4. Joshua 24:9-10 Balaam wanted to curse them for the money.
5. Numbers 24:1-4 He fell down with his eyes wide open.
6. Balaam was condemned for loving the “wages” of unrighteousness (2 Pet. 2:15; preaching error for “profit” (Jude 1:11); and teaching God’s children to “eat things sacrificed to idols and to commit sexual immorality” (Rev. 2:14).
7.  His example should help us better understand the following words of Paul:

 But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and harmful lusts which drown men in destruction and perdition. 10 For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith IN THEIR GREEDINESS, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows (1 Timothy 6:9-10).

B. The Blessings. He taught numerous good things about Israel and that a “Star” (Jesus) would come from Jacob.

1. Num. 24:2 Balaam sees that it pleased the Lord to bless Israel.
2. Num. 24:9 “Blessed is he who blesses you and cursed is he who curses you.”
3. Num. 24:17 “I shall see him but not now; I shall behold Him…A Star shall come out of Jacob, A Scepter shall rise out of Israel.” (Rev. 22:16).
4. Num. 24:19 “Out of Jacob One shall have dominion.”
5. Balaam teaches that Satan cannot curse those whom God has blessed.
6. The main lesson for me from the story is summed up in Numbers 23:20-21:

“God is not a man, that He should lie,
Nor a son of man, that He should repent.
Has He said, and will He not do?
Or has He spoken, and will He not make it good?
20 Behold, I have received a command to bless;
HE HAS BLESSED, AND I CANNOT REVERSE IT.                                                                           “He has not observed iniquity in Jacob,
Nor has He seen wickedness in Israel.
And the shout of a King is among them.

7. We cannot curse those whom God has blessed. If we try, God will simply reverse the curse. Satan and all of his demons cannot curse those whom God has blessed. Unbelievers can’t do it. Brethren can’t do it. When God blesses us with forgiveness He does not observe “iniquity” nor does He see “wickedness” in us because when He has blessed no one can “reverse it.” The Lord our God is “with” us. It is “just as David also describes the blessedness of the man to whom God imputes righteousness apart from works: “Blessed are those whose lawless deeds are forgiven, And whose sins are covered; Blessed is the man to whom the Lord shall not impute sin.” (Romans 4:6-8). Remember we cannot out sin the blood of Jesus. He is better at saving than we are at sinning. But, like Balak, Satan will always be seeking to find ways to put “curses” on us from various sources. If one way does not work he will try another. But we must remember when God “HAS BLESSED” then others “CANNOT REVERSE IT.” When Satan tries to curse us with guilt, or shame, or unworthiness, or rejection, or whatever else he may conjure up, we must remember that God can and will always reverse the curse!

Wayne Dunaway

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