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Balaam and his donkey

Balaam travels to curse the Israelites but God intervenes.
Contributed by Richard Gunther
Story also available on our translated websites: Spanish, Portuguese, Polish
Balaam lived in the land of Pethor, near the Euphrates River. He was a prophet for hire. When Balek the King of Moab saw all the Israelites camped east of the Jordan River, opposite Jericho, his people were terrified. ‘This mob will eat us like an ox eats grass,’ they exclaimed. So Balek sent messengers to Balaam. – Slide 1
Balek’s messengers offered Balaam money to come and curse the Israelites. ‘We believe those you bless are blessed and those you curse are doomed,’ they said. – Slide 2
That night God spoke to Balaam in a dream. ‘Don’t do it!’ God told him. ‘You are not to curse the Israelites, for I have blessed them!’ Balaam obeyed and sent the messengers home, but they returned, offering more money and honours. Again God spoke to Balaam at night. ‘You may get up and go with these men, but be sure to say only what I tell you.’ – Slide 3
The next morning Balaam saddled his donkey and set off towards Moab. But God was angry with Balaam’s eager attitude. – Slide 4
As Balaam and two servants were riding along, Balaam’s donkey suddenly saw the Angel of the Lord standing in the road with a drawn sword. She bolted off the road into a field, but Balaam beat her back onto the road. – Slide 5
The Angel then stood where the road went between two vineyard walls. The donkey squirmed past the angel by pressing against the wall, crushing Balaam’s foot in the process. So he beat the donkey again. Then the angel blocked the path and the donkey lay down. – Slide 6
In a fit of temper Balaam beat the donkey a third time. The Lord caused the donkey to speak! ‘What have I done that deserves your beating me these three times?’ she asked. – Slide 7
‘You have made me look like a fool!’ Balaam shouted. ‘I wish I had a sword with me to kill you.’ Then God opened Balaam’s eyes to see the angel. The Angel told him, ‘Go with the men, but say only what I tell you to say.’ – Slide 8
Balaam went to Balek and was taken to Mount Bamoth-baal overlooking the Israelite army. Balaam offered sacrifices then spoke what God told him. Instead of cursing Israelites he blessed them.‘What have you done to me?’ demanded King Balak. <br/>He marched Balaam to Mount Pisgah to make more sacrifices. Again Balaam spoke what God told him and blessed the Israelites. – Slide 9
A furious Balek then took Balaam to Mount Peor to offer sacrifices. But the Spirit of God came on Balaam and he spoke only good things about the Israelites. King Balak, livid with rage, shouted, ‘I called you to curse my enemies and instead you have blessed them three times. Get out of here! Go back home!’<br/>Balaam announced that the Israelites would overcome their enemies and then went home. He was not given the honours Balek had promised. – Slide 10
Slide 11