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Tiresias: The Ancient Mediterranean Religions Source Database



7236
Josephus Flavius, Against Apion, 1.258


οὐχὶ καθᾶραι τὴν χώραν προαιρούμενος. φησὶ δὲ τὸν μὲν μάντιν αὑτὸν ἀνελεῖν τὴν ὀργὴν τῶν θεῶν προορώμενον καὶ τὰ συμβησόμενα περὶ τὴν Αἴγυπτον, τῷ δὲ βασιλεῖ γεγραμμένην τὴν πρόρρησιν καταλιπεῖν. εἶτα πῶς οὐκ ἐξ ἀρχῆς ὁ μάντις τὸν αὑτοῦ θάνατον προηπίστατο;He says farther, that “This prophet slew himself, as foreseeing the anger of the gods, and those events which were to come upon Egypt afterward; and that he left this prediction for the king in writing.”


Intertexts (texts cited often on the same page as the searched text):

11 results
1. Hebrew Bible, Numbers, 22.12-22.13 (9th cent. BCE - 3rd cent. BCE)

22.12. וַיֹּאמֶר אֱלֹהִים אֶל־בִּלְעָם לֹא תֵלֵךְ עִמָּהֶם לֹא תָאֹר אֶת־הָעָם כִּי בָרוּךְ הוּא׃ 22.13. וַיָּקָם בִּלְעָם בַּבֹּקֶר וַיֹּאמֶר אֶל־שָׂרֵי בָלָק לְכוּ אֶל־אַרְצְכֶם כִּי מֵאֵן יְהוָה לְתִתִּי לַהֲלֹךְ עִמָּכֶם׃ 22.12. And God said unto Balaam: ‘Thou shalt not go with them; thou shalt not curse the people; for they are blessed.’" 22.13. And Balaam rose up in the morning, and said unto the princes of Balak: ‘Get you into your land; for the LORD refuseth to give me leave to go with you.’"
2. Cicero, On Divination, 1.74, 1.87 (2nd cent. BCE - 1st cent. BCE)

1.74. Quid? Lacedaemoniis paulo ante Leuctricam calamitatem quae significatio facta est, cum in Herculis fano arma sonuerunt Herculisque simulacrum multo sudore manavit! At eodem tempore Thebis, ut ait Callisthenes, in templo Herculis valvae clausae repagulis subito se ipsae aperuerunt, armaque, quae fixa in parietibus fuerant, ea sunt humi inventa. Cumque eodem tempore apud Lebadiam Trophonio res divina fieret, gallos gallinaceos in eo loco sic adsidue canere coepisse, ut nihil intermitterent; tum augures dixisse Boeotios Thebanorum esse victoriam, propterea quod avis illa victa silere soleret, canere, si vicisset. 1.87. Dixi de Pythagora, de Democrito, de Socrate, excepi de antiquis praeter Xenophanem neminem, adiunxi veterem Academiam, Peripateticos, Stoicos; unus dissentit Epicurus. Quid vero hoc turpius, quam quod idem nullam censet gratuitam esse virtutem? Quis est autem, quem non moveat clarissumis monumentis testata consignataque antiquitas? Calchantem augurem scribit Homerus longe optumum, eumque ducem classium fuisse ad Ilium, auspiciorum credo scientia, non locorum. 1.74. Again: what a warning was given to the Spartans just before the disastrous battle of Leuctra, when the armour clanked in the temple of Hercules and his statue dripped with sweat! But at the same time, according to Callisthenes, the folding doors of Hercules temple at Thebes, though closed with bars, suddenly opened of their own accord, and the armour which had been fastened on the temple walls, was found on the floor. And, at the same time, at Lebadia, in Boeotia, while divine honours were being paid to Trophonius, the cocks in the neighbourhood began to crow vigorously and did not leave off. Thereupon the Boeotian augurs declared that the victory belonged to the Thebans, because it was the habit of cocks to keep silence when conquered and to crow when victorious. 1.87. I have already cited Pythagoras, Democritus, and Socrates and, of the ancients, I have excluded no one except Xenophanes. To them I have added the Old Academy, the Peripatetics, and the Stoics. The only dissenter is Epicurus. But why wonder at that? for is his opinion of divination any more discreditable than his view that there is no such thing as a disinterested virtue?[40] But is there a man anywhere who is uninfluenced by clear and unimpeachable records signed and sealed by the hand of Time? For example, Homer writes that Calchas was by far the best augur among the Greeks and that he commanded the Greek fleet before Troy. His command of the fleet I suppose was due to his skill as an augur and not to his skill in seamanship.
3. Polybius, Histories, 6.56.6-6.56.12 (2nd cent. BCE - 2nd cent. BCE)

6.56.6.  But the quality in which the Roman commonwealth is most distinctly superior is in my opinion the nature of their religious convictions. 6.56.7.  I believe that it is the very thing which among other peoples is an object of reproach, I mean superstition, which maintains the cohesion of the Roman State. 6.56.8.  These matters are clothed in such pomp and introduced to such an extent into their public and private life that nothing could exceed it, a fact which will surprise many. 6.56.9.  My own opinion at least is that they have adopted this course for the sake of the common people. 6.56.10.  It is a course which perhaps would not have been necessary had it been possible to form a state composed of wise men 6.56.11.  but as every multitude is fickle, full of lawless desires, unreasoned passion, and violent anger, the multitude must be held in by invisible terrors and suchlike pageantry. 6.56.12.  For this reason I think, not that the ancients acted rashly and at haphazard in introducing among the people notions concerning the gods and beliefs in the terrors of hell, but that the moderns are most rash and foolish in banishing such beliefs.
4. Philo of Alexandria, On The Life of Moses, 1.266 (1st cent. BCE - 1st cent. CE)

1.266. So this man, Balak, now sent some of his companions, entreating him to come to him, and he gave him some presents at once, and he promised to give him others also, explaining to him the necessity which he was in, on account of which he had sent for him. But he did not treat the messengers with any noble or consistent disposition, but with great courtesy and civility evaded their request, as if he were one of the most celebrated prophets, and as such was accustomed to do nothing whatever without first consulting the oracle, and so he declined, saying that the Deity would not permit him to go with them.
5. Josephus Flavius, Jewish Antiquities, 2.15, 2.65, 2.72, 2.217, 4.105-4.106, 4.118, 7.67 (1st cent. CE - 1st cent. CE)

2.15. Now Jacob was pleased with the dream: for, considering the prediction in his mind, and shrewdly and wisely guessing at its meaning, he rejoiced at the great things thereby signified, because it declared the future happiness of his son; and that, by the blessing of God, the time would come when he should be honored, and thought worthy of worship by his parents and brethren 2.15. and the reproachful manner of our ruin will hasten his end, and will directly kill him; nay, will bring him to a miserable death, while he will make haste to rid himself out of the world, and bring himself to a state of insensibility, before the sad story of our end come abroad into the rest of the world. 2.65. This, he said, was what he saw; and he desired Joseph, that if he had any portion of understanding in such matters, he would tell him what this vision foretold. Who bid him be of good cheer, and expect to be loosed from his bonds in three days’ time, because the king desired his service, and was about to restore him to it again; 2.72. And he expected a prediction like to that of the cupbearer. But Joseph, considering and reasoning about the dream, said to him, that he would willingly be an interpreter of good events to him, and not of such as his dream denounced to him; but he told him that he had only three days in all to live, for that the [three] baskets signify 2.217. 4. When the vision had informed him of these things, Amram awaked and told it to Jochebed who was his wife. And now the fear increased upon them on account of the prediction in Amram’s dream; for they were under concern, not only for the child, but on account of the great happiness that was to come to him also. 4.105. So Balsam received the ambassadors, and treated them very kindly; and when he had supped, he inquired what was God’s will, and what this matter was for which the Midianites entreated him to come to them. But when God opposed his going, he came to the ambassadors, and told them that he was himself very willing and desirous to comply with their request, but informed them that God was opposite to his intentions, even that God who had raised him to great reputation on account of the truth of his predictions; 4.106. for that this army, which they entreated him to come and curse, was in the favor of God; on which account he advised them to go home again, and not to persist in their enmity against the Israelites; and when he had given them that answer, he dismissed the ambassadors. 4.118. 5. Thus did Balaam speak by inspiration, as not being in his own power, but moved to say what he did by the Divine Spirit. But then Balak was displeased, and said he had broken the contract he had made, whereby he was to come, as he and his confederates had invited him, by the promise of great presents: for whereas he came to curse their enemies, he had made an encomium upon them, and had declared that they were the happiest of men. 7.67. It was David, therefore, who first cast the Jebusites out of Jerusalem, and called it by his own name, The City of David: for under our forefather Abraham it was called [Salem, or] Solyma; but after that time, some say that Homer mentions it by that name of Solyma, (for he named the temple Solyma, according to the Hebrew language, which denotes security.)
6. Josephus Flavius, Against Apion, 1.73, 1.75, 1.78, 1.88, 1.100-1.105, 1.174, 1.229, 1.232, 1.234, 1.237-1.240, 1.248-1.250, 1.252 (1st cent. CE - 1st cent. CE)

1.73. 14. I shall begin with the writings of the Egyptians; not indeed of those that have written in the Egyptian language, which it is impossible for me to do. But Manetho was a man who was by birth an Egyptian; yet had he made himself master of the Greek learning, as is very evident, for he wrote the history of his own country in the Greek tongue, by translating it, as he saith himself, out of their sacred records: he also finds great fault with Herodotus for his ignorance and false relations of Egyptian affairs. 1.75. “There was a king of ours, whose name was Timaus. Under him it came to pass, I know not how, that God was averse to us; and there came, after a surprising manner, men of ignoble birth out of the eastern parts, and had boldness enough to make an expedition into our country, and with ease subdued it by force, yet without our hazarding a battle with them. 1.78. and as he found in the Saite Nomos [Seth-roite] a city very proper for his purpose, and which lay upon the Bubastic channel, but with regard to a certain theologic notion was called Avaris, this he rebuilt, and made very strong by the walls he built about it, and by a most numerous garrison of two hundred and forty thousand armed men whom he put into it to keep it. 1.88. but that Thummosis, the son of Alisphragmuthosis, made an attempt to take them by force and by a siege, with four hundred and eighty thousand men to lie round about them; but that, upon his despair of taking the place by that siege, they came to a composition with them that they should leave Egypt, and go, without any harm to be done them, whithersoever they would; 1.101. but then, he who was set over the priests of Egypt, wrote letters to Sethosis, and informed him of all that had happened, and how his brother had set up to oppose him; he therefore returned back to Pelusium immediately, and recovered his kingdom again. 1.102. The country also was called from his name Egypt; for Manetho says that Sethosis himself was called Egyptus, as was his brother Armais, called Danaus.” /p 1.103. 16. This is Manetho’s account; and evident it is from the number of years by him set down belonging to this interval if they be summed up together, that these shepherds, as they are here called, who were no other than our forefathers, were delivered out of Egypt, and came thence, and inhabited this country three hundred and ninety-three years before Danaus came to Argos; although the Argives look upon him as their most ancient king. 1.104. Manetho, therefore, bears this testimony to two points of the greatest consequence to our purpose, and those from the Egyptian records themselves. In the first place, that we came out of another country into Egypt; and that withal our deliverance out of it was so ancient in time, as to have preceded the siege of Troy almost a thousand years; 1.105. but then, as to those things which Manetho adds, not from the Egyptian records, but, as he confesses himself, from some stories of an uncertain original, I will disprove them hereafter particularly, and shall demonstrate that they are no better than incredible fables. /p 1.174. I think, therefore, that it is evident to every body that Cherilus means us, because the Solymean mountains are in our country, wherein we inhabit; as is also the lake called Asphaltitis, for this is a broader and larger lake than any other that is in Syria: 1.229. but after this he permits himself, in order to appear to have written what rumors and reports passed abroad about the Jews, and introduces incredible narrations, as if he would have the Egyptian multitude, that had the leprosy and other distempers, to have been mixed with us, as he says they were, and that they were condemned to fly out of Egypt together; 1.232. When Manetho therefore had acknowledged that our forefathers were gone out of Egypt so many years ago he introduces his fictitious king Amenophis, and says thus:—“This king was desirous to become a spectator of the gods, as had Orus, one of his predecessors in that kingdom, desired the same before him; he also communicated that his desire to his namesake Amenophis, who was the son of Papis, and one that seemed to partake of a divine nature, both as to wisdom and the knowledge of futurities.” 1.234. that the king was pleased with this injunction, and got together all that had any defects in their bodies out of Egypt. And that their number was eighty thousand; 1.237. After which he writes thus, verbatim:—“After those that were sent to work in the quarries had continued in that miserable state for a long while, the king was desired that he would set apart the city Avaris, which was then left desolate of the shepherds, for their habitation and protection; which desire he granted them. Now this city, according to the ancient theology, was Trypho’s city. 1.238. But when these men were gotten into it, and found the place fit for a revolt, they appointed themselves a ruler out of the priests of Heliopolis, whose name was Osarsiph, and they took their oaths that they would be obedient to him in all things. 1.239. He then, in the first place, made this law for them, that they should neither worship Egyptian gods, nor should abstain from any one of those sacred animals, which they have in the highest esteem, but kill and destroy them all; that they should join themselves to nobody but to those that were of this confederacy.— 1.248. And this was the state of things in Ethiopia. But for the people of Jerusalem, when they came down together with the polluted Egyptians, they treated the men in such a barbarous manner, that those who saw how they subdued the forementioned country, and the horrid wickedness they were guilty of, thought it a most dreadful thing; 1.249. for they did not only set the cities and villages on fire, but were not satisfied till they had been guilty of sacrilege, and destroyed the images of the gods, and used them in roasting those sacred animals that used to be worshipped, and forced the priests and prophets to be the executioners and murderers of those animals, and then ejected them naked out of the country. 1.252. These and the like accounts are written by Manetho. But I will demonstrate that he trifles, and tells arrant lies, after I have made a distinction which will relate to what I am going to say about him; for this Manetho had granted and confessed that this nation was not originally Egyptian, but that they had come from another country, and subdued Egypt, and then went away again out of it.
7. Martial, Epigrams, 7.55 (1st cent. CE - 2nd cent. CE)

8. Martial, Epigrams, 7.55 (1st cent. CE - 2nd cent. CE)

9. Tacitus, Histories, 5.2.3 (1st cent. CE - 2nd cent. CE)

10. Valerius Flaccus Gaius, Argonautica, 1.13 (1st cent. CE - 1st cent. CE)

11. Anon., Numbers Rabba, 20.12, 20.19 (4th cent. CE - 9th cent. CE)

20.12. וַיָּבֹא אֱלֹהִים אֶל בִּלְעָם לַיְלָה. זֶה שֶׁאָמַר הַכָּתוּב (שמות יב, מב): לֵיל שִׁמֻרִים הוּא לַה' הוּא הַלַּיְלָה הַזֶּה. כָּל הַנִּסִּים שֶׁנַּעֲשׂוּ לְיִשְׂרָאֵל וּפָרַע לָהֶם מִן הָרְשָׁעִים בַּלַּיְלָה הָיָה (בראשית לא, כד): וַיָּבֹא אֱלֹהִים אֶל לָבָן הָאֲרַמִּי בַּחֲלֹם הַלָּיְלָה, (בראשית כ, ג): וַיָּבֹא אֱלֹהִים אֶל אֲבִימֶלֶךְ בַּחֲלוֹם הַלָּיְלָה, (שמות יב, כט): וַיְהִי בַּחֲצִי הַלַּיְלָה, וּכְתִיב (שמות יד, כ): וַיְהִי הֶעָנָן וְהַחשֶׁךְ וַיָּאֶר אֶת הַלָּיְלָה, (בראשית יד, טו): וַיֵּחָלֵק עֲלֵיהֶם לַיְלָה, וְכֵן כֻּלָּם. דָּבָר אַחֵר, לָמָּה נִגְלָה עַל בִּלְעָם לַיְלָה, לֹא הָיָה רָאוּי לְרוּחַ הַקֹּדֶשׁ, לְפִי שֶׁכָּל נְבִיאֵי הַגּוֹיִם בַּלַּיְלָה מְדַבֵּר עִמָּהֶם. וְכֵן אֱלִיפַז אוֹמֵר (איוב ד, יג): בִּשְׂעִפִּים מֵחֶזְיוֹנוֹת לָיְלָה. וְכֵן אֱלִיהוּא אוֹמֵר עַל זֶה שֶׁדִּבֵּר אִתּוֹ לַיְלָה. (במדבר כב, כ): אִם לִקְרֹא לְךָ בָּאוּ הָאֲנָשִׁים קוּם לֵךְ אִתָּם. מִכָּן אַתּ לָמֵד שֶׁבַּדֶּרֶךְ שֶׁאָדָם רוֹצֶה לֵילֵךְ בָּהּ מוֹלִיכִין אוֹתוֹ, שֶׁמִּתְּחִלָּה נֶאֱמַר לוֹ (במדבר כב, יב): לֹא תֵלֵךְ, כֵּיוָן שֶׁהֵעֵז פָּנָיו לַהֲלֹךְ הָלַךְ, שֶׁכֵּן כְּתִיב (במדבר כב, כב): וַיִּחַר אַף אֱלֹהִים כִּי הוֹלֵךְ הוּא. אָמַר לוֹ הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא רָשָׁע אֵינִי חָפֵץ בְּאִבּוּדָן שֶׁל רְשָׁעִים, הוֹאִיל וְאַתְּ רוֹצֶה לֵילֵךְ לֵאָבֵד מִן הָעוֹלָם קוּם לֵךְ. (במדבר כב, כ): וְאַךְ אֶת הַדָּבָר, לְלַמֶּדְךָ שֶׁבְּהַתְרָאָה הָלַךְ, מִיָּד וַיַּשְׁכֵּם, קָדַם וְעָמַד בִּזְרִיזוּת הוּא בְּעַצְמוֹ, אָמַר לוֹ הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא, רָשָׁע, כְּבָר קְדָמְךָ אַבְרָהָם אֲבִיהֶם לַעֲקֹד אֶת יִצְחָק בְּנוֹ, (בראשית כב, ג): וַיַּשְׁכֵּם אַבְרָהָם בַּבֹּקֶר וַיַּחֲבשׁ אֶת חֲמֹרוֹ וגו'. (במדבר כב, כא): וַיֵּלֶךְ עִם שָׂרֵי מוֹאָב, לְלַמֶּדְךָ שֶׁהָיָה שָׂמֵחַ בְּפֻרְעָנוּת יִשְׂרָאֵל כְּמוֹתָן. 20.19. וַיִּשָֹּׂא מְשָׁלוֹ וַיֹּאמַר מִן אֲרָם יַנְחֵנִי, פָּתַח וְאָמַר מִן הָרָמִים הָיִיתִי וְהוֹרִידַנִי בָּלָק לִבְאֵר שַׁחַת. יַנְחֵנִי, כְּמָה דְאַתְּ אָמַר (יחזקאל לב, יח): נְהֵה עַל הֲמוֹן מִצְרַיִם וְהוֹרִדֵהוּ. דָּבָר אַחֵר, מִן אֲרָם, עִם רָם, שֶׁלְּמַעְלָן הָיִיתִי וְהוֹרִידַנִי בָּלָק מִכְּבוֹדִי, מָשָׁל לְמִי שֶׁמְהַלֵּךְ עִם הַמֶּלֶךְ, רָאָה לִיסְטִין הִנִּיחַ אֶת הַמֶּלֶךְ וְטִיֵּל עִם הַלִּיסְטִין, כְּשֶׁחָזַר אֵצֶל הַמֶּלֶךְ אָמַר לוֹ הַמֶּלֶךְ לֵךְ עִם אוֹתוֹ שֶׁטִּיַּלְתָּ עִמּוֹ, שֶׁאִי אֶפְשָׁר לְךָ שֶׁתֵּלֵךְ עִמִּי. כָּךְ בִּלְעָם נִזְקַק לְרוּחַ הַקֹּדֶשׁ וְחָזַר לִהְיוֹת קוֹסֵם כְּבַתְּחִלָּה, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (יהושע יג, כב): וְאֶת בִּלְעָם בֶּן בְּעוֹר הַקּוֹסֵם, לְפִיכָךְ צָוַח רָם הָיִיתִי וְהוֹרִידַנִי בָּלָק. דָּבָר אַחֵר, מִן אֲרָם יַנְחֵנִי, אָמַר לוֹ הֻשְׁוֵינוּ שְׁנֵינוּ לִהְיוֹת כְּפוּיֵי טוֹבָה, אִלּוּלֵי אַבְרָהָם אֲבִיהֶם לֹא הָיָה בָלָק, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (בראשית יט, כט): וַיְהִי בְּשַׁחֵת אֱלֹהִים אֶת עָרֵי הַכִּכָּר וַיִּזְכֹּר אֱלֹהִים אֶת אַבְרָהָם וַיְשַׁלַּח אֶת לוֹט, וְלוּלֵי אַבְרָהָם לֹא פָּלַט לוֹט מִסְּדוֹם, וְאַתָּה מִבְּנֵי בָּנָיו שֶׁל לוֹט. וְאִלּוּלֵי יַעֲקֹב אֲבִיהֶם לֹא הָיִיתִי אֲנִי בָעוֹלָם, שֶׁלֹא רָאָה לָבָן בָּנִים אֶלָּא בִּזְכוּת יַעֲקֹב, שֶׁבַּתְּחִלָּה כְּתִיב (בראשית כט, ט): וְרָחֵל בָּאָה עִם הַצֹּאן, וְאִלּוּ הָיָה לוֹ בָנִים הֵיאַךְ בִּתּוֹ רוֹעָה, וּמִשֶּׁהָלַךְ יַעֲקֹב לְשָׁם נִתְּנוּ לוֹ בָנִים, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (בראשית לא, א): וַיִּשְׁמַע אֶת דִּבְרֵי בְנֵי לָבָן, וְכֵן אָמַר לוֹ (בראשית ל, כז): נִחַשְׁתִּי וַיְבָרְכֵנִי ה' בִּגְלָלֶךָ. (במדבר כג, ז): לְכָה אָרָה לִי, מִי שֶׁהוּא מְאָרֵר לְעַצְמוֹ מְאָרֵר, שֶׁכָּךְ כְּתִיב (בראשית יב, ג): וּמְקַלֶּלְךָ אָאֹר, וְאוֹמֵר (בראשית כז, כט): אֹרְרֶיךָ אָרוּר. לְכָה אָרָה לִי יַעֲקֹב וּלְכָה זֹעֲמָה יִשְׂרָאֵל, אִלּוּ לְאֻמָּה אַחֶרֶת בִּקֵּשׁ שֶׁאֲקַלֵּל, כְּגוֹן בְּנֵי אַבְרָהָם וְיִצְחָק, הָיִיתִי יָכוֹל, אֶלָּא יַעֲקֹב, מֶלֶךְ שֶׁבּוֹרֵר לְעַצְמוֹ מָנָה וְעָמַד אֶחָד וְאָמַר גְּנַאי עָלֶיהָ כְּלוּם יֵשׁ לוֹ חַיִּים, וְאֵלּוּ חֶבְלָתוֹ וְנַחֲלָתוֹ וּסְגֻלָּתוֹ, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (דברים לב, ט): כִּי חֵלֶק ה' עַמּוֹ יַעֲקֹב חֶבֶל נַחֲלָתוֹ, (שמות יט, ה): וִהְיִיתֶם לִי סְגֻלָּה. וּלְכָה זֹעֲמָה יִשְׂרָאֵל, מֶלֶךְ שֶׁנָּטַל עֲטָרָה וּנְתָנָהּ בְּרֹאשׁוֹ וְאָמַר אָדָם שֶׁאֵינָהּ כְּלוּם, יֵשׁ לוֹ חַיִּים, וְאֵלּוּ כְּתִיב בָּהֶן (ישעיה מט, ג): יִשְׂרָאֵל אֲשֶׁר בְּךָ אֶתְפָּאָר. מָה אֶקֹּב לֹא קַבֹּה אֵל (במדבר כג, ח), בְּשָׁעָה שֶׁהָיוּ רְאוּיִין לְהִתְקַלֵּל לֹא נִתְקַלְּלוּ, כְּשֶׁנִּכְנַס יַעֲקֹב לִטֹּל אֶת הַבְּרָכוֹת נִכְנַס בְּמִרְמָה, דִּכְתִיב (בראשית כז, טז): וְאֵת עֹרֹת גְּדָיֵי הָעִזִּים, אָמַר אָבִיו (בראשית כז, יח): מִי אַתָּה, אָמַר לוֹ (בראשית כז, יט): אָנֹכִי עֵשָׂו בְּכֹרֶךָ, מִי שֶׁמּוֹצִיא שֶׁקֶר מִפִיו אֵינוֹ רָאוּי לְהִתְקַלֵּל, וְלֹא עוֹד אֶלָּא שֶׁנִּתְבָּרֵךְ, דִּכְתִיב (בראשית כז, לג): גַּם בָּרוּךְ יִהְיֶה, וְהֵיאַךְ אֲנִי מְקַלְּלָן לֹא קַבֹּה אֵל. דָּבָר אַחֵר, מָה אֶקֹּב לֹא קַבֹּה אֵל, בְּנֹהַג שֶׁבָּעוֹלָם לִגְיוֹן שֶׁמָּרַד בַּמֶּלֶךְ חַיָּב מִיתָה, וְאֵלּוּ כָּפְרוּ בּוֹ וּמָרְדוּ וְאָמְרוּ (שמות לב, ד): אֵלֶּה אֱלֹהֶיךָ יִשְׂרָאֵל, לֹא הָיָה צָרִיךְ לְכַלּוֹתָן, אֶלָּא אֲפִלּוּ בְּאוֹתָהּ שָׁעָה לֹא זָז מֵחִבָּתָן, לִוָּה לָהֶן עַנְנֵי כָּבוֹד וְלֹא פָסְקוּ מֵהֶם הַמָּן וְהַבְּאֵר, וְכֵן הוּא אוֹמֵר (שמות לב, ח): כִּי עָשׂוּ עֵגֶל מַסֵּכָה. (נחמיה ט, יט כ): וְאַתָּה בְּרַחֲמֶיךָ הָרַבִּים לֹא עֲזַבְתָּם בַּמִּדְבָּר אֶת עַמּוּד הֶעָנָן לֹא סָר מֵעֲלֵיהֶם בְּיוֹמָם, וּמַנְךָ לֹא מָנַעְתָּ מִפִּיהֶם וּמַיִם נָתַתָּה לָהֶם לִצְמָאָם, וְהֵיאַךְ אֲנִי יָכוֹל לְקַלְּלָם, מָה אֶקֹב לֹא קַבֹּה אֵל, בְּשָׁעָה שֶׁהָיָה מְצַוֶּה אוֹתָם עַל הַבְּרָכוֹת וְעַל הַקְּלָלוֹת, בַּבְּרָכוֹת הָיָה מַזְכִּירָן, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (דברים כז, יב): אֵלֶּה יַעַמְדוּ לְבָרֵךְ אֶת הָעָם, בַּקְּלָלוֹת לֹא הָיָה טוֹבְעָן, שֶׁכֵּן הוּא אוֹמֵר (דברים כז, יג): וְאֵלֶּה יַעַמְדוּ עַל הַקְּלָלָה בְּהַר עֵיבָל. וּכְשֶׁהֵן חוֹטְאִין וְאוֹמֵר לְהָבִיא עֲלֵיהֶן קְלָלָה, אֵינוֹ כּוֹתֵב שֶׁהוּא מְבִיאָהּ, אֶלָּא בַּבְּרָכוֹת הוּא בְּעַצְמוֹ מְבָרְכָן, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (דברים כח, א): וּנְתָנְךָ ה' אֱלֹהֶיךָ עֶלְיוֹן וגו', (דברים כח, ח): יְצַו ה' אִתְּךָ אֶת הַבְּרָכָה, וּבַקְּלָלוֹת לֹא הָיָה טוֹבְעָן, שֶׁכֵּן הוּא אוֹמֵר (דברים כח, טו): וְהָיָה אִם לֹא תִשְׁמַע, וּבָאוּ עָלֶיךָ, מֵעַצְמָן, הֱוֵי מָה אֶקֹּב לֹא קַבֹּה אֵל. כְּתִיב (במדבר כג, ט): כִּי מֵרֹאשׁ צֻרִים אֶרְאֶנּוּ, לְהוֹדִיעַ שִׂנְאָתוֹ שֶׁל אוֹתוֹ רָשָׁע שֶׁמִּתּוֹךְ בִּרְכוֹתָיו אַתָּה יוֹדֵעַ מַחֲשַׁבְתּוֹ, לְמָה הַדָּבָר דּוֹמֶה, לְאָדָם שֶׁבָּא לָקֹץ אֶת אִילָן, מִי שֶׁאֵינוֹ בָּקִי קוֹצֵץ אֶת הַנּוֹפִים, כָּל עָנָף וְעָנָף וּמִתְיַגֵּעַ, וְהַפִּקֵּחַ מְגַלֶּה אֶת הַשָּׁרָשִׁין וְקוֹצֵץ, כָּךְ אָמַר אוֹתוֹ רָשָׁע, מָה אֲנִי מְקַלֵּל כָּל שֵׁבֶט וְשֵׁבֶט, הֲרֵינִי הוֹלֵךְ לְשָׁרְשָׁן, בָּא לִגַּע מְצָאָן קָשִׁים, לָכֵן אָמַר: כִּי מֵרֹאשׁ צֻרִים אֶרְאֶנּוּ. דָּבָר אַחֵר, כִּי מֵרֹאשׁ, אֵלּוּ אָבוֹת, (במדבר כג, ע): וּמִגְּבָעוֹת, אֵלּוּ אִמָּהוֹת. (במדבר כג, ט): הֶן עָם לְבָדָד יִשְׁכֹּן. וּכְשֶׁהוּא מְשַׂמְּחָן מְשַׂמְּחָן לְבַדָּן, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (דברים לב, יב): ה' בָּדָד יַנְחֶנּוּ. וּכְשֶׁהָאֻמּוֹת בָּעוֹלָם הַזֶּה שְׂמֵחִים הֵן אוֹכְלִים עִם כָּל מַלְכוּת וּמַלְכוּת וְאֵין עוֹלֶה לָהֶם מִן הַחֶשְׁבּוֹן, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (במדבר כג, ט): וּבַגּוֹיִם לֹא יִתְחַשָּׁב. (במדבר כג, י): מִי מָנָה עֲפַר יַעֲקֹב, מִי יוּכַל לִמְנוֹת מִצְווֹת שֶׁהֵן עוֹשִׂין בֶּעָפָר, (דברים כב, י): לֹא תַחֲרשׁ בְּשׁוֹר וּבַחֲמֹר, (דברים כב, ט): לֹא תִזְרַע כַּרְמְךָ כִּלְאָיִם. (במדבר יט, ט): וְאָסַף אִישׁ טָהוֹר אֵת אֵפֶר הַפָּרָה, (במדבר ה, יז): וּמִן הֶעָפָר אֲשֶׁר יִהְיֶה בְּקַרְקַע הַמִּשְׁכָּן. (ויקרא יט, כג): שָׁלשׁ שָׁנִים יִהְיֶה לָכֶם עֲרֵלִים, וְכֵן כֻּלָּם. (במדבר כג, י): וּמִסְפָּר אֶת רֹבַע יִשְׂרָאֵל, הָרְבִיעִית שֶׁלָּהֶן, מִי יוּכַל לִמְנוֹת אֻכְלוּסִין שֶׁיָּצְאוּ מֵאוֹתָן שֶׁהָיוּ חוֹטְפוֹת וּמְחַבְּבוֹת אֶת הַמִּצְווֹת, (בראשית ל, טו): וַתֹּאמֶר לָהּ הַמְעַט קַחְתֵּךְ אֶת אִישִׁי. (בראשית ל, ג): הִנֵּה אֲמָתִי בִלְהָה בֹּא אֵלֶיהָ, (בראשית ל, ט): וַתֵּרֶא לֵאָה כִּי עָמְדָה מִלֶּדֶת. (בראשית טז, ג): וַתִּקַּח שָׂרַי אֵשֶׁת אַבְרָם אֶת הָגָר, (במדבר כג, י): תָּמֹת נַפְשִׁי מוֹת יְשָׁרִים, מָשָׁל לְטַבָּח שֶׁבָּא לִשְׁחֹט פָּרָתוֹ שֶׁל מֶלֶךְ, הִתְחִיל הַמֶּלֶךְ רוֹאֶה, כֵּיוָן שֶׁהִרְגִּישׁ שֶׁהַמֶּלֶךְ רוֹאֶה הִתְחִיל מַשְׁלִיךְ אֶת הַסַּכִּין וּמְשַׁפְשֵׁף בָּהּ וּמְמַלֵּא אֶת הָאֵבוּס לְפָנֶיהָ, הִתְחִיל לוֹמַר תֵּצֵא נַפְשִׁי שֶׁבָּאתִי לְשָׁחֲטָהּ וַהֲרֵי זְנַחְתִּיהָ. כָּךְ בִּלְעָם אָמַר תֵּצֵא נַפְשִׁי שֶׁבָּאתִי לְקַלֵּל וַאֲנִי אֲבָרֵךְ. (במדבר כג, יד): וַיִּקָּחֵהוּ שְׂדֵה צֹפִים רֹאשׁ הַפִּסְגָּה, רֹאשׁ שֶׁיֵּשׁ פְּרָצִים שָׁם, שֶׁשָּׁם מֵת משֶׁה, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (דברים ג, כז): עֲלֵה רֹאשׁ הַפִּסְגָּה, יֵשׁ פִּרְצָה גְדוֹלָה מִזּוֹ שֶׁרָאָה בַּנְּחָשִׁים וְהָיָה סָבוּר שֶׁשָּׁם יִכְלוּ. 20.12. 12 (Numb. 22:20) “Then God came unto Balaam at night”: This text is related (to Exod. 12:42), “That was for the Lord a night of vigil […].” All miracles which were done for Israel and which involved exacting retribution for them from the wicked took place at night: (Gen. 31:24) “And God came unto Laban the Aramean in a dream at night”: And it is written (in Gen. 20:3), “But God came unto Abimelech in a dream at night.” And it is written (in Exod. 12:29), “And it came to pass in the middle of the night.” And it is written (in Exod. 14:20), “there was the cloud with the darkness, and it cast a spell upon the night.” And it is written (in Gen. 14:15), “And he deployed at night.” And so [it was with] all of them. Another interpretation: Why did he reveal himself to Balaam by night? He was not worthy of [receiving] the holy spirit [except at night]. As He speaks at night with all the prophets of the nations, as stated (in Job 4:13), “In opinions from night visions.” And so Eliphaz says (in Job 4:13), “In a dream, a vision of the night,” about [Balaam’s] speaking with him at night. And similarly Elihou speaks about that which He had spoken with him at night. (Numb. 22:20, cont.) “If these men have come to invite you, arise and go with them”: From here you learn that in the way that a man wants to go, in it is he driven. As at first it was said to him (in Numb. 22:12), “Do not go with them.” As soon as he had become defiant, he went. As so is it written about him (in Numb. 22:22), “But God's anger was kindled because he was going.” The Holy One, blessed be He, said to him, “I do not desire the death of the wicked. [But] in as much as you want to be obliterated from the world, ‘arise and go with them.’” (Numb. 22:20, cont.), “But only the thing [that I tell you are you to do].” [These words are] to teach you that he went with a warning. Immediately he got up early in the morning [preparing his donkey] quickly all by himself. The Holy One, blessed be He, said to him, “You wicked man! Their ancestor Abraham has already anticipated you at the binding of his son Isaac,” as stated (in Gen. 22:3), “So Abraham arose early in the morning, saddled his he-ass.” (Numb. 22:21, cont.) “And went with the princes of Moab”: [These words are] to teach you that he was as glad at the tribulation of Israel as they were. " 20.19. 19 (Numb. 23:7) “So he took up his theme and said, ‘From Aram, Balak the king of Moab has brought me, from the hills of the east.’” I was one of the exalted ones, sup31 /supclass=\"footnote\" iRamim.The midrash links this word with ARAM in Numb. 23:7.but Balak has brought me down to the pit of corruption. (Ibid.) “Brought me ( iyanheni,rt.: inhh /i),” [is to be understood] just as you say (in Ezek. 32:18), “bring (rt.: inhh /i) the masses of Egypt [and cast them down [… unto the lowest part of the netherworld along with those who go down to the pit].” sup32 /supclass=\"footnote\"Thus Numb. 23:7 comes to mean that Balak BROUGHT (rt.: iNHH /i) Balaam down to the grave. The unusual Biblical translation is necessary to fit the sense of the midrash.Another interpretation (of Numb. 23:7), “From Aram”: I was with the highest ( iram /i) of the high, and Balak has brought me down from my glory. [The matter] is comparable to one who was walking with the king. When he saw [some] robbers, sup33 /supclass=\"footnote\"Gk.: ilestai./i he left the king and toured along with the robbers. When he returned to be with the king, the king said to him, “Go with whomever you have toured with, because it not possible for you to walk with me again.” Similarly Balaam had been bound to the holy spirit. When he paired himself with Balak, the holy spirit departed from him. So he returned to being a diviner as in the beginning. Thus it is stated (at his execution in Josh. 13:22), “Balaam ben Beor the diviner….” Therefore did he yell out, “I was high up ( iram /i), and Balak brought me down.” Another interpretation (of Numb. 23:7), “From Aram, he has brought me”: [Balaam] said to [Balak], “We are alike, even both of us, for being ungrateful, because were it not for their father Abraham, there would have been no Balak. Thus it is stated (in Gen. 19:29), ‘And it came to pass that when God destroyed the cities of the plain, God remembered Abraham and sent Lot away.’ Except for Abraham, he would not have delivered Lot from Sodom; and you are one of the children of the children of Lot. sup34 /supclass=\"footnote\"As a Moabite, Balak was descended from Moab, the son of Lot. See Gen. 19:37.Moreover, if it were not for their father Jacob, I should not have been present in the world, because Laban had sons only through the merit of Jacob, since it is written at the beginning (in Gen. 29:9), ‘Rachel came with the sheep.’ Now if he had sons, how was his daughter a shepherdess? As soon as Jacob came there, sons were given to him, as stated (in Gen. 31:1), ‘Now he heard the things that Laban's sons [were saying].’ sup35 /supclass=\"footnote\"Jewish tradition gives three views on Balaam’s relation to Laban: That he was Laban himself, that he was Laban’s nephew, and that he was Laban’s grandson. See Ginzberg, vol. III, p. 354; vol.. V, p. 303, n. 229; vol. VI, pp. 123f., nn. 722f.; p. 130, n. 764.And it also says [that Laban said] (in Gen. 30:27), ‘I have learned by divination that the Lord has blessed me for your sake.’” (Numb. 23:7, cont.) “Come, curse Jacob for me”: Whoever curses [the Children of Jacob] is cursing himself, since it is stated (in Gen. 12:3), “and the one who curses you, I will curse.” It also says (in Gen. 27:29), “cursed be those who curse you.” (Numb. 23:7) “Come, curse [Jacob] for me […].” If you had told me to curse another people, for example, the Children of Abraham and Isaac, I would have been able [to do so]. But Jacob? When a king selects a portion for himself, and someone else gets up and speaks disparagingly about it, will he keep his life? Now these people are the Holy One, blessed be He’s, heritage, His portion, and His treasure. Thus it is stated (in Deut. 32:9), “For the Lord's share is His people; Jacob the portion of His heritage.” And it is written (in Exod. 19:5), “and you shall be My treasure.” (Numb. 23:7, cont.) “And come, denounce Israel:” When a king takes a crown and puts it on his head, and someone says of it that it is nothing, will he keep his life? Now in regard to these people it is written about them (in Is. 49:3), “Israel, in whom I will be glorified.” (Numb. 23:8) “How shall I curse [the one] whom God has not cursed”: When they deserved to be cursed, they were not cursed: When Jacob went in to receive the blessings, he went it with deception. As it is written (in Gen. 27:16), “[Then she clothed his arms and the hairless part of his neck] with the skins of goat kids.” His father said to him (in Gen. 27:18), “Who are you?” He said to him (in vs. 19), “I am Esau, your first-born.” Does not the one who puts forth a lie with his mouth deserve to be cursed? Yet not only [was he not cursed], but he was blessed; as stated (in Gen. 27:33), “he shall also be blessed.” So how do I curse them? (In the words of Numb. 23:8) “God has not cursed.” Another interpretation (of Numb. 23:8), “How shall I curse whom God has not cursed?” According to universal custom, when a legion sup36 /supclass=\"footnote\"Lat.: ilegio./i rebels against the king, it incurs the penalty of death. Now since these denied and revolted against Him, when they said [about the calf] (in Exod. 32:4), “This is your god, O Israel,” was it not necessary to have Him destroy them at that time? [Still] He did not cease to cherish them. Instead He had clouds of glory accompany them. Nor did He withhold the manna and the well from them. And so it says (in Exod. 32:4), “When they made a molten calf,” (in Neh. 9:18-20), “You in Your great mercies did not abandon them in the desert […]; and You did not withhold Your manna from their mouth […].” How can I curse them? (Numb. 23:8) “How shall I curse whom God has not cursed” When He commanded them concerning the blessings and the curses, He mentioned them (as the people) in connection with the blessings where it is stated (in Deut. 27:12), “These shall stand [on Mount Gerizim] for blessing the people;” but He did not mention them in connection with the curses. Thus it is stated (in vs. 13), “And these shall stand on Mount Ebal for the curse.” Moreover, when they sin and He plans to bring a curse upon them, it is not written that He Himself is bringing them (i.e., the curses); but with respect to the blessings, He Himself is blessing them; for so it says (in Deut. 28:1, 8), “And it shall come to pass that, if you diligently obey […], the Lord your God will set you high [over all the nations of the earth]. The Lord will command the blessing to be with you.” But with respect to the curses, it is written (according to Deut. 28:15), “And it shall come to pass that, if you do not obey […], then [all these curses] shall come upon you,” [i.e.,] of their own accord. Ergo (in Numb. 23:8), “How shall I curse whom God has not cursed?” (Numb. 23:9) “For from the top of the rocks I see him,” in order to make the hatred of that evil man (i.e., Balaam) known to you. As from his blessing you may know his thoughts. To what is he comparable? To someone who came to chop down a tree. One who is not an expert chops off the branches one at a time and becomes tired, but the clever one exposes the roots and [then] chops it down. Similarly that wicked man said, “Why shall I curse each and every tribe? Rather I will go to their roots.” When he came to touch them, he found them hard [to cut]. It is therefore stated (in Numb. 23:9), “For from the top of the rocks I see him.” Another interpretation (of Numb. 23:9): “For from the top of the rocks,” these are the patriarchs; (ibid., cont.) “and from the hills I behold him,” these are the matriarchs. (Numb. 23:9, cont.) “Here is a people dwelling alone”: When He makes them rejoice, no nation rejoices along with them. But when the nations are rejoicing in this world, they (i.e., the Children of Israel) eat with each and every kingdom, and no one is charging [such pleasures] against their account (rt: ihshb /i). sup37 /supclass=\"footnote\"In other words the pleasures that Israel enjoys in this world are not to be deducted from their pleasures in the world to come.It is so stated (in Numb. 23:9, cont.), “and they shall not be reckoned (rt.: ihshb /i) among the nations.” (Numb. 23:10) “Who has counted the dust of Jacob”: Who is able to count the commandments which they carry out upon the dust: (In Deut. 22:10,) “You shall not plow with an ox and an ass”; (in Deut. 22:9,) “You shall not sow your vineyard with two kinds of seed”; (in Numb. 19:9,) “Then someone clean shall gather the ashes of the heifer”; (in Numb. 5:17,) “[Then the high priest shall take holy water in an earthen vessel] and some of the dust which is on the floor of the tabernacle”; (in Lev. 19:23,) “[Moreover, when you come into the land and plant any tree for food, you shall count its fruit as forbidden,] three years it shall be forbidden to you, [it shall not be eaten]”; and so on with all of them. (Numb. 23:10, cont.) “Or numbered the sand ( irb /i') of Israel,” [i.e.,] their copulations (rt.: irb /i') sup38 /supclass=\"footnote\"For this interpretation, cf. iNid.31a.Who can number the masses sup39 /supclass=\"footnote\"Gk.: iochloi./i that have emerged from them, from those women who seize on and cherish the commandments (of procreation), as stated (in Gen. 30:15), “But she said to her, ‘Is it a small matter that you have taken away my husband?’” [And so too (in Gen. 30:3, 9),] “Here is my maid Bilhah; go into her.” “When Leah saw that she had ceased bearing children, [she took her maidservant Zilpah and gave her to Jacob as a wife].” [And so too (in Gen. 16:3),] “So Abraham's wife Sarai took her maidservant Hagar the Egyptian… [and gave her to her husband Abraham as a wife].” (Numb. 23:10, cont.) “Let me die the death of the upright”: The matter is comparable to a butcher who came to slaughter a cow that belonged to a king. The king began to take notice. When [the butcher] realized [what was happening], he began by discarding the knife, then giving [the cow] a rubdown [and] filling the feeding trough for it. He began to say, “Let my life be forfeit for coming to slaughter it; but observe that I have [now given it sustece].” Similarly Balaam said, “Let my life be forfeit for coming to curse, but I will bless [them].” Ergo (in Numb. 23:10), “let me die the death of the upright!” (Numb. 23:14) “So he took him to the Field of Zophim at the top of Pisgah”: He saw that [Israel would be] breached there, for it was there that Moses died, as stated (in Deut. 3:27), “Go up to the top of Pisgah …, [for you shall not cross over this Jordan].” Is there a breach greater than this? What he saw was through divinations, and he was of the opinion that because of him they would fall there."


Subjects of this text:

subject book bibliographic info
balaam, prophecy of, according to josephus Feldman, Judaism and Hellenism Reconsidered (2006) 590
burkert, w. Bar Kochba, Pseudo-Hecataeus on the Jews: Legitimizing the Jewish Diaspora (1997) 65
chronology, patriarchal Beckwith, Calendar, Chronology and Worship: Studies in Ancient Judaism and Early Christianity (2005) 113
claudius, roman emperor, expulsion of jews from rome by Feldman, Judaism and Hellenism Reconsidered (2006) 590
demetrius, chronology of Beckwith, Calendar, Chronology and Worship: Studies in Ancient Judaism and Early Christianity (2005) 113
disciplina auguralis, greek Bar Kochba, Pseudo-Hecataeus on the Jews: Legitimizing the Jewish Diaspora (1997) 65
disciplina auguralis, in hellenistic period Bar Kochba, Pseudo-Hecataeus on the Jews: Legitimizing the Jewish Diaspora (1997) 65
homer Neusner Green and Avery-Peck, Judaism from Moses to Muhammad: An Interpretation: Turning Points and Focal Points (2022) 37
jews, in hellenistic period Neusner Green and Avery-Peck, Judaism from Moses to Muhammad: An Interpretation: Turning Points and Focal Points (2022) 37
josephus Neusner Green and Avery-Peck, Judaism from Moses to Muhammad: An Interpretation: Turning Points and Focal Points (2022) 37
kenan, second Beckwith, Calendar, Chronology and Worship: Studies in Ancient Judaism and Early Christianity (2005) 113
klein r.w. Beckwith, Calendar, Chronology and Worship: Studies in Ancient Judaism and Early Christianity (2005) 113
larsson g. Beckwith, Calendar, Chronology and Worship: Studies in Ancient Judaism and Early Christianity (2005) 113
mosollamus story, not written by greek Bar Kochba, Pseudo-Hecataeus on the Jews: Legitimizing the Jewish Diaspora (1997) 65
samaritan pentateuch' Beckwith, Calendar, Chronology and Worship: Studies in Ancient Judaism and Early Christianity (2005) 113