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Tiresias: The Ancient Mediterranean Religions Source Database



9242
Philo Of Alexandria, On The Life Of Moses, 1.292-1.304


nanAnd the king, being very indignant at these words, said: "Having been invited hither to curse my enemies, you have now prayed for and blessed them these three times. Fly, therefore, quickly, passion is a hasty affection, lest I be compelled to do something more violent than usual.


nanOf what a vast amount of money, O most foolish of men, of how many presents, and of how much renown, and celebrity, and glory, hast thou deprived thyself in thy madness! Now you will return to thy home from a foreign land, bearing with thee no good thing, but only reproaches and (as it seems likely


nanAnd Balaam replied: "All that I have hitherto uttered have been oracles and words of God; but what I am going to say are merely the suggestions of my own mind: and taking him by the right hand, he, while they two were alone, gave him advice, by the adoption of which he might, as far as possible, guard against the power of his enemies, accusing himself of the most enormous crimes. For why, some one may perhaps say, do you thus retire into solitude and give counsel suggesting things contrary to the oracles of God, unless indeed that your counsels are more powerful than his decrees?


nanCome, then, let us examine into his fine recommendations, and see how cunningly they were contrived with reference to the most certain defeat of those who had hitherto always been able to conquer. As he knew that the only way by which the Hebrews could be subdued was by leading them to violate the law, he endeavoured to seduce them by means of debauchery and intemperance, that mighty evil, to the still greater crime of impiety, putting pleasure before them as a bait;


nanfor, said he, "O king! the women of the country surpass all other women in beauty, and there are no means by which a man is more easily subdued than by the beauty of a woman; therefore, if you enjoin the most beautiful of them to grant their favours to them and to prostitute themselves to them, they will allure and overcome the youth of your enemies.


nanBut you must warn them not to surrender their beauty to those who desire them with too great facility and too speedily, for resistance and coyness will stimulate the passions and excite them more, and will kindle a more impetuous desire; and so, being wholly subdued by their appetites, they will endure to do and to suffer anything.


nanAnd let any damsel who is thus prepared for the sport resist, and say, wantonly, to a lover who is thus influenced, "It is not fitting for you to enjoy my society till you have first abandoned your native habits, and have changed, and learnt to honour the same practices that I do. And I must have a conspicuous proof of your real change, which I can only have by your consenting to join me in the same sacrifices and libations which I use, and which we may then offer together at the same images and statues, and other erections in honour of my gods.


nanAnd the lover being, as it were, taken in the net of her manifold and multiform snares, not being able to resist her beauty and seductive conversation, will become wholly subdued in his reason, and, like a miserable man, will obey all the commands which she lays upon him, and will en enrolled as the salve of passion.


nanThis, then, was the advice which Balaam gave to Balak. And he, thinking that what he said to him did not want sense, repealed the law against adulteries, and having abrogated all the enactments which had been established against seduction and harlotry, as if they had never been enacted at all, exhorted the women to admit to their favours, without any restraint, every man whom they chose.


nanAccordingly, when licence was thus given, they brought over a multitude of young men, having already long before this seduced their minds, and having by their tricks and allurements perverted them to impiety; until Phinehas, the son of the chief priest, being exceedingly indignant at all that was taking place (for it appeared to him to be a most scandalous thing for his countrymen to give up at one time both their bodies and souls--their bodies to pleasure, and their souls to transgression of the law, and to works of wickedne


nanFor when he saw a man of his nation sacrificing with and then entering into the tent of a harlot, and that too without casting his eyes down on the ground and seeking to avoid the notice of the multitude, but making a display of his licentiousness with shameless boldness, and giving himself airs as if he were about to engage in a creditable action, and one deserving of smiles--Phinehas, I say, being very indignant and being filled with a just anger, ran in, and while they were still lying on the bed, slew both the lover and the harlot, cutting them in two pieces in the middle, because they thus indulged in illicit connections.


nanWhen some persons of those who admired temperance, and chastity, and piety, saw this example, they, at the command of Moses, imitated it, and slew all their own relations and friends, even to a man, who had sacrificed to idols made with hands, and thus they effaced the stain which was defiling the nation by this implacable revenge which they thus wreaked on those who had set the example of wrong doing, and so saved the rest, who made a clear defence of themselves, demonstrating their own piety, showing no compassion on any one of those who were justly condemned to death, and not passing over their offences out of pity, but looking upon those who slew them as pure from all sin. Therefore they did not allow any escape whatever to those who sinned in this way, and such conduct is the truest praise;


nanand they say that twenty-four thousand men were slain in one day, the common pollution, which was defiling the whole army, being thus at once got rid of. And when the works of purification were thus accomplished, Moses began to seek how he might give an honour worthy of him who had displayed such permanent excellence to the son of the chief priest, who was the first who hastened to inflict chastisement on the offenders. But God was beforehand with him, giving to Phinehas, by means of his holy word, the greatest of all good things, namely, peace, which no man is able to bestow; and also, in addition to this peace, he gave him the perpetual possession of the priesthood, an inheritance to his family, which could not be taken from it.


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

22 results
1. Hebrew Bible, Deuteronomy, 23.5 (9th cent. BCE - 3rd cent. BCE)

23.5. עַל־דְּבַר אֲשֶׁר לֹא־קִדְּמוּ אֶתְכֶם בַּלֶּחֶם וּבַמַּיִם בַּדֶּרֶךְ בְּצֵאתְכֶם מִמִּצְרָיִם וַאֲשֶׁר שָׂכַר עָלֶיךָ אֶת־בִּלְעָם בֶּן־בְּעוֹר מִפְּתוֹר אֲרַם נַהֲרַיִם לְקַלְלֶךָּ׃ 23.5. because they met you not with bread and with water in the way, when ye came forth out of Egypt; and because they hired against thee Balaam the son of Beor from Pethor of Aram-naharaim, to curse thee."
2. Hebrew Bible, Exodus, 14.11-14.12, 16.2, 17.4 (9th cent. BCE - 3rd cent. BCE)

14.11. וַיֹּאמְרוּ אֶל־מֹשֶׁה הַמִבְּלִי אֵין־קְבָרִים בְּמִצְרַיִם לְקַחְתָּנוּ לָמוּת בַּמִּדְבָּר מַה־זֹּאת עָשִׂיתָ לָּנוּ לְהוֹצִיאָנוּ מִמִּצְרָיִם׃ 14.12. הֲלֹא־זֶה הַדָּבָר אֲשֶׁר דִּבַּרְנוּ אֵלֶיךָ בְמִצְרַיִם לֵאמֹר חֲדַל מִמֶּנּוּ וְנַעַבְדָה אֶת־מִצְרָיִם כִּי טוֹב לָנוּ עֲבֹד אֶת־מִצְרַיִם מִמֻּתֵנוּ בַּמִּדְבָּר׃ 16.2. וילינו [וַיִּלּוֹנוּ] כָּל־עֲדַת בְּנֵי־יִשְׂרָאֵל עַל־מֹשֶׁה וְעַל־אַהֲרֹן בַּמִּדְבָּר׃ 16.2. וְלֹא־שָׁמְעוּ אֶל־מֹשֶׁה וַיּוֹתִרוּ אֲנָשִׁים מִמֶּנּוּ עַד־בֹּקֶר וַיָּרֻם תּוֹלָעִים וַיִּבְאַשׁ וַיִּקְצֹף עֲלֵהֶם מֹשֶׁה׃ 17.4. וַיִּצְעַק מֹשֶׁה אֶל־יְהוָה לֵאמֹר מָה אֶעֱשֶׂה לָעָם הַזֶּה עוֹד מְעַט וּסְקָלֻנִי׃ 14.11. And they said unto Moses: ‘Because there were no graves in Egypt, hast thou taken us away to die in the wilderness? wherefore hast thou dealt thus with us, to bring us forth out of Egypt?" 14.12. Is not this the word that we spoke unto thee in Egypt, saying: Let us alone, that we may serve the Egyptians? For it were better for us to serve the Egyptians, than that we should die in the wilderness.’" 16.2. And the whole congregation of the children of Israel murmured against Moses and against Aaron in the wilderness;" 17.4. And Moses cried unto the LORD, saying: ‘What shall I do unto this people? they are almost ready to stone me.’"
3. Hebrew Bible, Hosea, 4.10-4.15, 4.17 (9th cent. BCE - 3rd cent. BCE)

4.11. זְנוּת וְיַיִן וְתִירוֹשׁ יִקַּח־לֵב׃ 4.12. עַמִּי בְּעֵצוֹ יִשְׁאָל וּמַקְלוֹ יַגִּיד לוֹ כִּי רוּחַ זְנוּנִים הִתְעָה וַיִּזְנוּ מִתַּחַת אֱלֹהֵיהֶם׃ 4.13. עַל־רָאשֵׁי הֶהָרִים יְזַבֵּחוּ וְעַל־הַגְּבָעוֹת יְקַטֵּרוּ תַּחַת אַלּוֹן וְלִבְנֶה וְאֵלָה כִּי טוֹב צִלָּהּ עַל־כֵּן תִּזְנֶינָה בְּנוֹתֵיכֶם וְכַלּוֹתֵיכֶם תְּנָאַפְנָה׃ 4.14. לֹא־אֶפְקוֹד עַל־בְּנוֹתֵיכֶם כִּי תִזְנֶינָה וְעַל־כַּלּוֹתֵיכֶם כִּי תְנָאַפְנָה כִּי־הֵם עִם־הַזֹּנוֹת יְפָרֵדוּ וְעִם־הַקְּדֵשׁוֹת יְזַבֵּחוּ וְעָם לֹא־יָבִין יִלָּבֵט׃ 4.15. אִם־זֹנֶה אַתָּה יִשְׂרָאֵל אַל־יֶאְשַׁם יְהוּדָה וְאַל־תָּבֹאוּ הַגִּלְגָּל וְאַל־תַּעֲלוּ בֵּית אָוֶן וְאַל־תִּשָּׁבְעוּ חַי־יְהוָה׃ 4.17. חֲבוּר עֲצַבִּים אֶפְרָיִם הַנַּח־לוֹ׃ 4.10. And they shall eat, and not have enough, They shall commit harlotry, and shall not increase; Because they have left off to take heed to the LORD." 4.11. Harlotry, wine, and new wine take away the heart." 4.12. My people ask counsel at their stock, And their staff declareth unto them; For the spirit of harlotry hath caused them to err, And they have gone astray from under their God." 4.13. They sacrifice upon the tops of the mountains, And offer upon the hills, Under oaks and poplars and terebinths, Because the shadow thereof is good; Therefore your daughters commit harlotry, And your daughters-in-law commit adultery. ." 4.14. I will not punish your daughters when they commit harlotry, Nor your daughters-in-law when they commit adultery; For they themselves consort with lewd women, And they sacrifice with harlots; And the people that is without understanding is distraught." 4.15. Though thou, Israel, play the harlot, Yet let not Judah become guilty; And come not ye unto Gilgal, Neither go ye up to Beth-aven, Nor swear: ‘As the LORD liveth.’" 4.17. Ephraim is joined to idols; Let him alone."
4. Hebrew Bible, Numbers, 16.31-16.34, 18.4, 18.13, 19.1-19.3, 21.23-21.25, 31.16 (9th cent. BCE - 3rd cent. BCE)

16.31. וַיְהִי כְּכַלֹּתוֹ לְדַבֵּר אֵת כָּל־הַדְּבָרִים הָאֵלֶּה וַתִּבָּקַע הָאֲדָמָה אֲשֶׁר תַּחְתֵּיהֶם׃ 16.32. וַתִּפְתַּח הָאָרֶץ אֶת־פִּיהָ וַתִּבְלַע אֹתָם וְאֶת־בָּתֵּיהֶם וְאֵת כָּל־הָאָדָם אֲשֶׁר לְקֹרַח וְאֵת כָּל־הָרֲכוּשׁ׃ 16.33. וַיֵּרְדוּ הֵם וְכָל־אֲשֶׁר לָהֶם חַיִּים שְׁאֹלָה וַתְּכַס עֲלֵיהֶם הָאָרֶץ וַיֹּאבְדוּ מִתּוֹךְ הַקָּהָל׃ 16.34. וְכָל־יִשְׂרָאֵל אֲשֶׁר סְבִיבֹתֵיהֶם נָסוּ לְקֹלָם כִּי אָמְרוּ פֶּן־תִּבְלָעֵנוּ הָאָרֶץ׃ 18.4. וְנִלְווּ עָלֶיךָ וְשָׁמְרוּ אֶת־מִשְׁמֶרֶת אֹהֶל מוֹעֵד לְכֹל עֲבֹדַת הָאֹהֶל וְזָר לֹא־יִקְרַב אֲלֵיכֶם׃ 18.13. בִּכּוּרֵי כָּל־אֲשֶׁר בְּאַרְצָם אֲשֶׁר־יָבִיאוּ לַיהוָה לְךָ יִהְיֶה כָּל־טָהוֹר בְּבֵיתְךָ יֹאכֲלֶנּוּ׃ 19.1. וַיְדַבֵּר יְהוָה אֶל־מֹשֶׁה וְאֶל־אַהֲרֹן לֵאמֹר׃ 19.1. וְכִבֶּס הָאֹסֵף אֶת־אֵפֶר הַפָּרָה אֶת־בְּגָדָיו וְטָמֵא עַד־הָעָרֶב וְהָיְתָה לִבְנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל וְלַגֵּר הַגָּר בְּתוֹכָם לְחֻקַּת עוֹלָם׃ 19.2. זֹאת חֻקַּת הַתּוֹרָה אֲשֶׁר־צִוָּה יְהוָה לֵאמֹר דַּבֵּר אֶל־בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל וְיִקְחוּ אֵלֶיךָ פָרָה אֲדֻמָּה תְּמִימָה אֲשֶׁר אֵין־בָּהּ מוּם אֲשֶׁר לֹא־עָלָה עָלֶיהָ עֹל׃ 19.2. וְאִישׁ אֲשֶׁר־יִטְמָא וְלֹא יִתְחַטָּא וְנִכְרְתָה הַנֶּפֶשׁ הַהִוא מִתּוֹךְ הַקָּהָל כִּי אֶת־מִקְדַּשׁ יְהוָה טִמֵּא מֵי נִדָּה לֹא־זֹרַק עָלָיו טָמֵא הוּא׃ 19.3. וּנְתַתֶּם אֹתָהּ אֶל־אֶלְעָזָר הַכֹּהֵן וְהוֹצִיא אֹתָהּ אֶל־מִחוּץ לַמַּחֲנֶה וְשָׁחַט אֹתָהּ לְפָנָיו׃ 21.23. וְלֹא־נָתַן סִיחֹן אֶת־יִשְׂרָאֵל עֲבֹר בִּגְבֻלוֹ וַיֶּאֱסֹף סִיחֹן אֶת־כָּל־עַמּוֹ וַיֵּצֵא לִקְרַאת יִשְׂרָאֵל הַמִּדְבָּרָה וַיָּבֹא יָהְצָה וַיִּלָּחֶם בְּיִשְׂרָאֵל׃ 21.24. וַיַּכֵּהוּ יִשְׂרָאֵל לְפִי־חָרֶב וַיִּירַשׁ אֶת־אַרְצוֹ מֵאַרְנֹן עַד־יַבֹּק עַד־בְּנֵי עַמּוֹן כִּי עַז גְּבוּל בְּנֵי עַמּוֹן׃ 21.25. וַיִּקַּח יִשְׂרָאֵל אֵת כָּל־הֶעָרִים הָאֵלֶּה וַיֵּשֶׁב יִשְׂרָאֵל בְּכָל־עָרֵי הָאֱמֹרִי בְּחֶשְׁבּוֹן וּבְכָל־בְּנֹתֶיהָ׃ 31.16. הֵן הֵנָּה הָיוּ לִבְנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל בִּדְבַר בִּלְעָם לִמְסָר־מַעַל בַּיהוָה עַל־דְּבַר־פְּעוֹר וַתְּהִי הַמַּגֵּפָה בַּעֲדַת יְהוָה׃ 16.31. And it came to pass, as he made an end of speaking all these words, that the ground did cleave asunder that was under them." 16.32. And the earth opened her mouth and swallowed them up, and their households, and all the men that appertained unto Korah, and all their goods." 16.33. So they, and all that appertained to them, went down alive into the pit; and the earth closed upon them, and they perished from among the assembly." 16.34. And all Israel that were round about them fled at the cry of them; for they said: ‘Lest the earth swallow us up.’" 18.4. And they shall be joined unto thee, and keep the charge of the tent of meeting, whatsoever the service of the Tent may be; but a common man shall not draw nigh unto you." 18.13. The first-ripe fruits of all that is in their land, which they bring unto the LORD, shall be thine; every one that is clean in thy house may eat thereof." 19.1. And the LORD spoke unto Moses and unto Aaron, saying:" 19.2. This is the statute of the law which the LORD hath commanded, saying: Speak unto the children of Israel, that they bring thee a red heifer, faultless, wherein is no blemish, and upon which never came yoke." 19.3. And ye shall give her unto Eleazar the priest, and she shall be brought forth without the camp, and she shall be slain before his face." 21.23. And Sihon would not suffer Israel to pass through his border; but Sihon gathered all his people together, and went out against Israel into the wilderness, and came to Jahaz; and he fought against Israel." 21.24. And Israel smote him with the edge of the sword, and possessed his land from the Arnon unto the Jabbok, even unto the children of Ammon; for the border of the children of Ammon was strong." 21.25. And Israel took all these cities; and Israel dwelt in all the cities of the Amorites, in Heshbon, and in all the towns thereof." 31.16. Behold, these caused the children of Israel, through the counsel of Balaam, to revolt so as to break faith with the LORD in the matter of Peor, and so the plague was among the congregation of the LORD."
5. Hebrew Bible, Psalms, 106.35, 106.37-106.39 (9th cent. BCE - 3rd cent. BCE)

106.35. וַיִּתְעָרְבוּ בַגּוֹיִם וַיִּלְמְדוּ מַעֲשֵׂיהֶם׃ 106.37. וַיִּזְבְּחוּ אֶת־בְּנֵיהֶם וְאֶת־בְּנוֹתֵיהֶם לַשֵּׁדִים׃ 106.38. וַיִּשְׁפְּכוּ דָם נָקִי דַּם־בְּנֵיהֶם וּבְנוֹתֵיהֶם אֲשֶׁר זִבְּחוּ לַעֲצַבֵּי כְנָעַן וַתֶּחֱנַף הָאָרֶץ בַּדָּמִים׃ 106.39. וַיִּטְמְאוּ בְמַעֲשֵׂיהֶם וַיִּזְנוּ בְּמַעַלְלֵיהֶם׃ 106.35. But mingled themselves with the nations, And learned their works;" 106.37. Yea, they sacrificed their sons and their daughters unto demons," 106.38. And shed innocent blood, even the blood of their sons and of their daughters, Whom they sacrificed unto the idols of Canaan; And the land was polluted with blood." 106.39. Thus were they defiled with their works, And went astray in their doings."
6. Hebrew Bible, Ezekiel, 16.15, 16.34 (6th cent. BCE - 5th cent. BCE)

16.15. וַתִּבְטְחִי בְיָפְיֵךְ וַתִּזְנִי עַל־שְׁמֵךְ וַתִּשְׁפְּכִי אֶת־תַּזְנוּתַיִךְ עַל־כָּל־עוֹבֵר לוֹ־יֶהִי׃ 16.34. וַיְהִי־בָךְ הֵפֶךְ מִן־הַנָּשִׁים בְּתַזְנוּתַיִךְ וְאַחֲרַיִךְ לֹא זוּנָּה וּבְתִתֵּךְ אֶתְנָן וְאֶתְנַן לֹא נִתַּן־לָךְ וַתְּהִי לְהֶפֶךְ׃ 16.15. But thou didst trust in thy beauty and play the harlot because of thy renown, and didst pour out thy harlotries on every one that passed by; his it was." 16.34. And the contrary is in thee from other women, in that thou didst solicit to harlotry, and wast not solicited; and in that thou givest hire, and no hire is given unto thee, thus thou art contrary."
7. Philo of Alexandria, On The Life of Abraham, 68-80, 67 (1st cent. BCE - missingth cent. CE)

67. Therefore giving no consideration to anything whatever, neither to the men of his tribe, nor to those of his borough, nor to his fellow disciples, nor to his companions, nor those of his blood as sprung from the same father or the same mother, nor to his country, nor to his ancient habits, nor to the customs in which he had been brought up, nor to his mode of life and his mates, every one of which things has a seductive and almost irresistible attraction and power, he departed as speedily as possible, yielding to a free and unrestrained impulse, and first of all he quitted the land of the Chaldaeans, a prosperous district, and one which was greatly flourishing at that period, and went into the land of Charran, and from that, after no very distant interval, he departed to another place, which we will speak of hereafter, when we have first discussed the country of Charran. XV.
8. Philo of Alexandria, On The Cherubim, 33-34, 32 (1st cent. BCE - missingth cent. CE)

32. Moses also represents Balaam, who is the symbol of a vain people, stripped of his arms, as a runaway and deserter, well knowing the war which it becomes the soul to carry on for the sake of knowledge; for he says to his ass, who is here a symbol of the irrational designs of life which every foolish man entertains, that "If I had had a sword, I should ere now have slain Thee." And great thanks are due to the Maker of all things, because he, knowing the struggles and resistance of folly, did not give to it the power of language, which would have been like giving a sword to a madman, in order that it might have no power to work great and iniquitous destruction among all whom it should meet with. 32. This, then, may be enough to say on these subjects; but it is necessary now to connect with these things what I am about to say, namely, that it was the Father of the universe who delivered these ten maxims, or oracles, or laws and enactments, as they truly are, to the whole assembled nation of men and women altogether. Did he then do so, uttering himself some kind of voice? Away! let not such an idea ever enter your mind; for God is not like a man, in need of a mouth, and of a tongue, and of a windpipe
9. Philo of Alexandria, On The Decalogue, 175 (1st cent. BCE - missingth cent. CE)

10. Philo of Alexandria, On The Migration of Abraham, 114-115, 113 (1st cent. BCE - missingth cent. CE)

113. Therefore, the vain Balaam, although he sang hymns of exceeding sublimity to God, among which, also, is that one beginning, "God is not as a Man," the most beautiful of all songs, and who uttered panegyrics on the seeing multitude, Israel, going through a countless body of particulars, is rightly judged by the wise lawgiver to have been an impious man and accursed, and to have been cursing rather than blessing;
11. Philo of Alexandria, On Curses, 58 (1st cent. BCE - missingth cent. CE)

58. On which account, a man would not be wrong who called our minds the sun of our composition; as the mind, if it does not rise and shed its own light in man, who may be looked upon as a small world, leaves a great darkness diffused over all existing things, and suffers nothing to be brought to light. XVII.
12. Philo of Alexandria, On The Sacrifices of Cain And Abel, 135 (1st cent. BCE - missingth cent. CE)

135. for the departure of wickedness brings about the entrance of virtue, as, on the other hand, when what is good is driven away, then what was bad, having been lying in ambush, comes in to supply the void. Jacob then had scarcely at all gone out, when Esau entered, not the mind which receives everything, being stamped with the impression of wickedness instead of the figures of virtue, if that is possible; but he would not have been able to effect this, for he will be supplanted and overthrown by the wise man before he knows it, the wise man being prompt to repel the impending injury before it can affect him. XL.
13. Philo of Alexandria, On The Special Laws, 4.49 (1st cent. BCE - missingth cent. CE)

4.49. for a prophet does not utter anything whatever of his own, but is only an interpreter, another Being suggesting to him all that he utters, while he is speaking under inspiration, being in ignorance that his own reasoning powers are departed, and have quitted the citadel of his soul; while the divine spirit has entered in and taken up its abode there, and is operating upon all the organization of his voice, and making it sound to the distinct manifestation of all the prophecies which he is delivering.
14. Philo of Alexandria, On The Virtues, 213-219, 212 (1st cent. BCE - missingth cent. CE)

212. The most ancient person of the Jewish nation was a Chaldaean by birth, born of a father who was very skilful in astronomy, and famous among those men who pass their lives in the study of mathematics, who look upon the stars as gods, and worship the whole heaven and the whole world; thinking, that from them do all good and all evil proceed, to every individual among men; as they do not conceive that there is any cause whatever, except such as are included among the objects of the outward senses.
15. Philo of Alexandria, On The Life of Moses, 1.175, 1.243, 1.247-1.248, 1.254, 1.263-1.291, 1.293-1.318, 1.334, 2.259-2.265 (1st cent. BCE - missingth cent. CE)

1.175. Thus he spoke to them while yet standing still. But after a short time he became inspired by God, and being full of the divine spirit and under the influence of that spirit which was accustomed to enter into him, he prophesied and animated them thus: "This army which you behold so splendidly equipped with arms, you shall no more see arrayed against you; for it shall fall, utterly and completely overthrown, so that not a relic shall be seen any more upon the earth, and that not at any distance of time, but this very next night. 1.243. Therefore Moses, the leader of the Hebrews, although he might with one single effort, aye with the mere shout of his army, have subdued the whole nation, still, by reason of the aforesaid relationship did not think fit to do so; but desired only to use the road through their country, promising that he would in every respect observe the treaties between them, and not despoil them of territory, or cattle, or of any booty, that he would even pay a price for water if there should be a scarcity of drink, and for anything else that they might require to buy, as not being supplied with it; but they violently rejected their peaceful invitations, threatening them with war, if they heard of their crossing over their borders or even of their setting foot upon them. 1.247. and this was the most manifest proof of their sorrow, which they felt in consequence of the nation having obtained their liberty, namely when they rejoiced when they were enduring that bitter slavery of theirs in Egypt; for it follows of necessity that those men to whom the good fortune of their neighbours causes grief, do also rejoice at their evil fortune, even if they do not admit that they do so; 1.248. for they had already related to their neighbours, as to persons in accordance with themselves, and cherishing the same thoughts, all the misfortunes and also all the agreeable pieces of good fortune which had happened to them, not knowing that they had proceeded to a great degree of iniquity, and that they were full of unfriendly, and hostile, and malicious thoughts towards them, so that they were like to grieve at their good fortune, but to rejoice at any thing of a contrary tendency. 1.254. for, as every pious man offers unto God the first fruits of the fruits of the year, which he collects from his own possessions, so in the same manner did the Hebrews dedicate the whole nation of this mighty country into which they had come as settlers, and that great spoil, the kingdom which they had so speedily subdued, as a sort of first-fruit of their colony; for they did not think it consistent with piety to distribute the land among themselves, or to inherit the cities, before they had offered up to God the first fruits of that country and of those cities. 1.263. This war struck all the Asiatic nations with terrible consternation, and especially all those who were near the borders of the Amorites, inasmuch as they looked upon the dangers as being nearer to themselves. Accordingly, one of the neighbouring kings, by name Balak, who ruled over a large and thickly inhabited country of the east, before he met them in battle, feeling great distrust of his own power, did not think fit to meet them in close combat, being desirous to avoid carrying on a war of extermination by open arms; but he had recourse to inquiries and divination, thinking that by some kind of ruse or other he might be able to overthrow the irresistible power of the Hebrews. 1.264. Now there was a man at that time very celebrated for his skill in divination, dwelling in Mesopotamia, who was initiated in every branch of the soothsayers' art. And he was celebrated and renowned above all men for his experience as a diviner and prophet, as he had in many instances foretold to many people incredible and most important events; 1.265. for, on one occasion, he had predicted heavy rain to one nation at the height of summer; to another he had foretold a drought and burning heat in the middle of winter. Others he had forewarned of a dearth which should follow a season of abundance; and, on the other hand, plenty after famine. In some instances he had predicted the inundations of rivers; or, on the contrary, their falling greatly and becoming dried up; and the departure of pestilential diseases, and ten thousand other things. From all which he had obtained a name of wide celebrity, as he was believed to have foreseen them all, and so he had attained to great renown and his glory had spread everywhere and was continually increasing. 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. 1.267. So the messengers returned back to the king, without having succeeded in their errand. And immediately other messengers of the highest rank in the whole land were sent on the same business, bringing with them more abundant presents of money, and promising still more ample rewards than the former ambassadors had promised. 1.268. And Balaam, being allured by the gifts which were already proffered to him, and also by the hopes for the future which they held out to him, and being influenced also by the rank of those who invited him, began to yield, again alleging the commands of the Deity as his excuse, but no longer with sincerity. Accordingly, on the next day he prepared for his departure, relating some dreams by which he said he had been influenced, affirming that he had been compelled by their manifest visions not to remain, but to follow the ambassadors. 1.269. But when he was on his road a very manifest sign met him in the way, showing him plainly that the purpose for which he was travelling was displeasing to God, and ill-omened; for the beast on which he was riding, while proceeding onwards in the straight road, at first stopped suddenly 1.270. then, as if some one was forcibly resisting it, or standing in front and driving it back by force, it retreated, moving first to the right and then to the left, and could not stand still, but kept moving, first to one side and then to the other, as if it had been under the influence of wine and intoxication; and though it was repeatedly beaten, it disregarded the blows, so that it very nearly threw its rider, and though he stuck on did still hurt him considerably; 1.271. for close on each side of the path there were walls and strong fences; therefore, when the beast in its violent motions struck heavily against the walls, the owner had his knee, and leg, and foot pressed and crushed, and was a good deal lacerated. 1.272. The truth is, that there was, as it seems, a divine vision, which, as the beast, on which the diviner was seeking, saw at a great distance as it was coming towards him, and it was frightened at it; but the man did not see it, which was a proof of his insensibility, for he was thus shown to be inferior to a brute beast in the power of sight, at a time when he was boasting that he could see, not only the whole world, but also the Creator of the world. 1.273. Accordingly, having after some time seen the angel opposing him, not because he was desiring to see so astonishing a spectacle, but that he might become acquainted with his own insignificance and nothingness, he betook himself to supplications and prayers, entreating to be pardoned, on the ground that he had acted as he had done out of ignorance, and had not sinned of deliberate purpose. 1.274. Then, as he said that he ought to return back again, he asked of the vision which appeared to him, whether he should go back again to his own house; but the angel beholding his insincerity, and being indigt at it (for what need was there for him to ask questions in a matter which was so evident, which had its answer plain in itself, and which did not require any more positive information by means of words, unless a person's ears are more to be trusted than his eyes, and words than thing 1.275. But when the king heard that he was now near at hand, he went forth with his guards to meet him; and when they met at first there were, as was natural, greetings and salutations, and then a brief reproof of his tardiness and of his not having come more readily. After this there were feastings and costly entertainments, and all those other things which are usually prepared on the occasion of the reception of strangers, everything with royal magnificence being prepared, so as to give an exaggerated idea of the power and glory of the king. 1.276. The next day at the rising of the sun, Balak took the prophet and led him up to a high hill, where it also happened that a pillar had been erected to some deity which the natives of the country had been accustomed to worship; and from thence there was seen a portion of the camp of the Hebrews, which was shown to the magician from this point, as if from a watch tower. 1.277. And he when he beheld it said: "Do thou, O king, build here seven altars, and offer upon every one of them a bullock and a ram. And I will turn aside and inquire of God what I am to say." So, having gone forth, immediately he became inspired, the prophetic spirit having entered into him, which drove all his artificial system of divination and cunning out of his soul; for it was not possible that holy inspiration should dwell in the same abode with magic. Then, returning back to the king, and beholding the sacrifices and the altars flaming, he became like the interpreter of some other being who was prompting his words 1.278. and spoke in prophetic strain as follows: "Balak has sent for me from Mesopotamia, having caused me to take a long journey from the east, that he might chastise the Hebrews by means of curses. But in what manner shall I be able to curse those who have not been cursed by God? For I shall behold them with my eyes from the loftiest mountains, and I shall see them with my mind; and I shall never be able to injure the people which shall dwell alone, not being numbered among the other nations, not in accordance with the inheritance of any particular places, or any apportionment of lands, but by reason of the peculiar nature of their remarkable customs, as they will never mingle with any other nation so as to depart from their national and ancestral ways. 1.279. Who has ever discovered with accuracy the first origin of the birth of these people? Their bodies, indeed, may have been fashioned according to human means of propagation; but their souls have been brought forth by divine agency, wherefore they are nearly related to God. May my soul die as to the death of the body, that it may be remembered among the souls of the righteous, such as the souls of these men are. 1.280. When Balak heard these words he was grieved within himself; and after he had stopped speaking, not being able to contain his sorrow, he said: "You were invited hither to curse my enemies, and are you not ashamed to offer up prayers for their good? I must, without knowing it, have been deceiving myself, thinking you a friend; who were, on the contrary, without my being aware of it, enrolled among the ranks of the enemy, as is now plain. Perhaps, too, you made all the delay in coming to me by reason of the regard for them, which you were secretly cherishing in your soul, and your secret dislike to me and to my people; for, as the old proverb says, what is apparent affords the best means of judging of what is not visible. 1.281. But Balaam, his moment of inspiration being now past, replied: "I am exposed in this to a most unjust charge, and am undeservedly accused; for I am saying nothing of my own, but whatever the Deity prompts me to say. And this is not the first time that I have said and that you have heard this, but I declared it on the former occasion when you sent the ambassadors, to whom I made the same answer. 1.282. But as the king thought either that the prophet was deceiving him, or that the Deity might change his mind, and the consequence of a change of place might alter the firmness of his decision, he led him off to another spot, where, from an exceedingly long, and high, and distant hill, he might be able to show him a part of the army of his enemies. Then, again, he built seven altars and sacrificed the same number of victims that he had sacrificed at first, and sent the prophet to look for favourable omens and predictions. 1.283. And he, as soon as he was by himself, was again suddenly filled by divine inspiration, and, without at all understanding the words which he uttered, spoke everything that was put into his mouth, prophesying in the following manner:--"Rise up and listen, O king! prick up thy ears and hear. God is not able to speak falsely as if he were a man, nor does he change his purpose like the son of man. When he has once spoken, does he not abide by his word? For he will say nothing at all which shall not be completely brought to pass, since his word is also his deed. I, indeed, have been brought hither to bless this nation, and not to curse it. 1.284. There shall be no labour or distress among the Hebrews. God visibly holds his shield over them, who also dissipated the violence of the Egyptian attacks, leading forth all these myriads of people as one man. Therefore they disregarded auguries and every other part of the prophetic art, trusting to the one sole Governor of the world alone. And I see the people rising up like a young lion, and exulting as a lion. He shall feast on the prey, and for drink he shall drink the blood of the wounded; and, when he is satisfied, he shall not turn to sleep, but he shall be awake and sing the song of victory. 1.285. But Balak, being very indigt at finding that all the assistance which he expected to derive from divination was turning out contrary to his hopes, said: "O man, neither curse them at all, nor bless them at all; for silence, which is free from danger, is better than unpleasant speeches." And when he had said this, as if he had forgotten what he had said, owing to the inconstancy of his mind, he led the prophet to another place, from which he could show him a part of the Hebrew army; and again he invited him to curse them. 1.286. But the prophet, as being even more wicked than the king, although he had always replied to the accusations which were brought against him with one true excuse, namely, that he was saying nothing out of his own head, but was only interpreting the words of another, being himself carried away and inspired, when he ought no longer to have accompanied him but to have gone away home, ran forward even more eagerly than his conductor, although in his secret thoughts he was oppressed by a heavy feeling of evil, yet still desired in his mind to curse this people, though he was forbidden to do so with his mouth. 1.287. So, coming to a mountain greater than any of those on which he had stood before, and which reached a very long way, he bade the king perform the same sacrifices as before, again building seven altars, and again offering up fourteen victims, on each altar two, a bullock and a ram. And he himself did no longer, according to his usual custom, go to seek for divination and auguries, since he much loathed his art, looking upon it as a picture which had become defaced through age, and had been obscured, and lost its felicity of conjecture. But he now, though with difficulty, understood the fact that the designs of the king, who had hired him, did not correspond with the will of God. 1.288. Therefore, turning to the wilderness, he saw the Hebrews encamped in their tribes, and he saw their numbers and their array, and admired it as being like the order of a city rather than of a camp, and, becoming inspired, he again spoke. 1.289. What, then, said the man who saw truly, who in his sleep saw a clear vision of God with the ever open and sleepless eyes of his soul? "How goodly are thy abodes, O army of Hebrews; they tents are shady as groves, as a paradise on the bank of a river, as a cedar by the waters. 1.290. A man shall hereafter come forth out of thee who shall rule over many nations, and his kingdom shall increase every day and be raised up to heaven. This people hath God for its guide all the way from Egypt, who leads on their multitude in one line. 1.291. Therefore they shall devour many nations of their enemies, and they shall take all their fat as far as their very marrow, and shall destroy their enemies with their far-shooting arrows. He shall lie down to rest like a lion, and like a lion's whelp, fearing no one, but showing great contempt for every one, and causing fear to all other nations. Miserable is he who shall stir up and rouse him to anger. Blessed are they that bless thee, and cursed are they that curse thee. 1.293. of what a vast amount of money, O most foolish of men, of how many presents, and of how much renown, and celebrity, and glory, hast thou deprived thyself in thy madness! Now you will return to thy home from a foreign land, bearing with thee no good thing, but only reproaches and (as it seems likely 1.294. And Balaam replied: "All that I have hitherto uttered have been oracles and words of God; but what I am going to say are merely the suggestions of my own mind: and taking him by the right hand, he, while they two were alone, gave him advice, by the adoption of which he might, as far as possible, guard against the power of his enemies, accusing himself of the most enormous crimes. For why, some one may perhaps say, do you thus retire into solitude and give counsel suggesting things contrary to the oracles of God, unless indeed that your counsels are more powerful than his decrees? 1.295. Come, then, let us examine into his fine recommendations, and see how cunningly they were contrived with reference to the most certain defeat of those who had hitherto always been able to conquer. As he knew that the only way by which the Hebrews could be subdued was by leading them to violate the law, he endeavoured to seduce them by means of debauchery and intemperance, that mighty evil, to the still greater crime of impiety, putting pleasure before them as a bait; 1.296. for, said he, "O king! the women of the country surpass all other women in beauty, and there are no means by which a man is more easily subdued than by the beauty of a woman; therefore, if you enjoin the most beautiful of them to grant their favours to them and to prostitute themselves to them, they will allure and overcome the youth of your enemies. 1.297. But you must warn them not to surrender their beauty to those who desire them with too great facility and too speedily, for resistance and coyness will stimulate the passions and excite them more, and will kindle a more impetuous desire; and so, being wholly subdued by their appetites, they will endure to do and to suffer anything. 1.298. And let any damsel who is thus prepared for the sport resist, and say, wantonly, to a lover who is thus influenced, "It is not fitting for you to enjoy my society till you have first abandoned your native habits, and have changed, and learnt to honour the same practices that I do. And I must have a conspicuous proof of your real change, which I can only have by your consenting to join me in the same sacrifices and libations which I use, and which we may then offer together at the same images and statues, and other erections in honour of my gods. 1.299. And the lover being, as it were, taken in the net of her manifold and multiform snares, not being able to resist her beauty and seductive conversation, will become wholly subdued in his reason, and, like a miserable man, will obey all the commands which she lays upon him, and will en enrolled as the salve of passion. 1.300. This, then, was the advice which Balaam gave to Balak. And he, thinking that what he said to him did not want sense, repealed the law against adulteries, and having abrogated all the enactments which had been established against seduction and harlotry, as if they had never been enacted at all, exhorted the women to admit to their favours, without any restraint, every man whom they chose. 1.301. Accordingly, when licence was thus given, they brought over a multitude of young men, having already long before this seduced their minds, and having by their tricks and allurements perverted them to impiety; until Phinehas, the son of the chief priest, being exceedingly indigt at all that was taking place (for it appeared to him to be a most scandalous thing for his countrymen to give up at one time both their bodies and souls--their bodies to pleasure, and their souls to transgression of the law, and to works of wickedne 1.302. For when he saw a man of his nation sacrificing with and then entering into the tent of a harlot, and that too without casting his eyes down on the ground and seeking to avoid the notice of the multitude, but making a display of his licentiousness with shameless boldness, and giving himself airs as if he were about to engage in a creditable action, and one deserving of smiles--Phinehas, I say, being very indigt and being filled with a just anger, ran in, and while they were still lying on the bed, slew both the lover and the harlot, cutting them in two pieces in the middle, because they thus indulged in illicit connections. 1.303. When some persons of those who admired temperance, and chastity, and piety, saw this example, they, at the command of Moses, imitated it, and slew all their own relations and friends, even to a man, who had sacrificed to idols made with hands, and thus they effaced the stain which was defiling the nation by this implacable revenge which they thus wreaked on those who had set the example of wrong doing, and so saved the rest, who made a clear defence of themselves, demonstrating their own piety, showing no compassion on any one of those who were justly condemned to death, and not passing over their offences out of pity, but looking upon those who slew them as pure from all sin. Therefore they did not allow any escape whatever to those who sinned in this way, and such conduct is the truest praise; 1.304. and they say that twenty-four thousand men were slain in one day, the common pollution, which was defiling the whole army, being thus at once got rid of. And when the works of purification were thus accomplished, Moses began to seek how he might give an honour worthy of him who had displayed such permanent excellence to the son of the chief priest, who was the first who hastened to inflict chastisement on the offenders. But God was beforehand with him, giving to Phinehas, by means of his holy word, the greatest of all good things, namely, peace, which no man is able to bestow; and also, in addition to this peace, he gave him the perpetual possession of the priesthood, an inheritance to his family, which could not be taken from it. 1.305. But when none of the civil and intestine evils remained any longer, but when all the men who were suspected of having either forsaken the ways of their ancestors or of treachery had perished, it appeared to be a most favourable opportunity for making an expedition against Balak, a man who had both planned to do, and had also executed an innumerable host of evil deeds, since he had planned them through the agency of the prophet, who he hoped would be able, by means of his curses, to destroy the power of the Hebrews, and who had executed his purpose by the agency of the licentiousness and incontinence of the women, who destroyed the bodies of those who associated with them by debauchery, and their souls by impiety. 1.306. Therefore Moses did not think fit to carry on war against him with his whole army, knowing that superfluous numbers are apt to meet with disaster in consequence of those very numbers; and also, at the same time, thinking it useful to have stations of reserve, to be assistants to those of their allies who appeared likely to fail; but he selected a thousand picked men of the youth of the nation, selected man by man, out of each tribe, twelve thousand in all, for that was the number of the tribes, and he appointed Phinehas to be the commander in the war, as he had already given proof of the happy daring which becomes a general; and after he had offered up sacrifices of good omen, he sent forth his warriors, and encouraged them in the following words:-- 1.307. The present contest is not one for dominion or sovereignty, nor is it waged for the sake of acquiring the property of others, though these are the objects for which alone, or almost invariably, wars take place; but this war is undertaken in the cause of piety and holiness, from which the enemy has alienated our relations and friends, being the causes of bitter destruction to those who have been brought under their yoke. 1.308. It is therefore absurd for us to be the slayers of our own countrymen, for having offended against the law, and to spare our enemies, who have violated it in a much worse degree, and to slay, with every circumstance of violence, those who were only learning and beginning to sin, but to leave those who taught them to do so unpunished, who are, in reality, the guilty causes of all that has taken place, and of all the evils which our countrymen have either done or suffered. 1.309. Therefore being nerved by these exhortations, and being kindled and filled with noble courage which was indeed in their souls already, they went forth to that contest with invincible spirit as to a certain victory; and when they engaged with the enemy, they displayed such incredible vigour and courage that they slew all their enemies, and returned themselves unhurt, every one of them, not one of their number having been slain or even wounded. 1.310. Any one who did not know what had taken place, might have supposed, when he saw them returning, that they were coming in, not from war and from a pitched battle, but rather from a display and field-day of exercise under arms, such as often take place in time of peace; and these fielddays are days of exercise and practice, while the men train themselves among friends to attack their enemies. 1.311. Therefore they destroyed all their cities, razing them to the ground or else burning them, so that no one could tell that any cities had ever been inhabited in that land. And they led away a perfectly incalculable number of prisoners, of whom they chose to slay all the full-grown men and women, the men because they had set the example of wicked counsels and actions, and the women because they had beguiled the youth of the Hebrews, becoming the causes to them of incontinence and impiety, and at the last of death; but they pardoned all the young male children and all the virgins, their tender age procuring them forgiveness; 1.312. and as they had taken a vast booty from the king's palace, and from private houses, and also from the dwellings of all kinds in the open country (for there was not less booty in the country places than in the citie 1.313. And Moses praised Phinehas their general, and those who had served under him for their good success, and also because they had not been covetous of their own advantage, running after booty and thinking of nothing, but appropriating the spoil to themselves, but because they had brought it all into the common stock, so that they who had staid behind in the tents might share in the booty; and he ordered those men to remain outside the camp for some days, and the high priest he commanded to purify both the men themselves, and those of their allies who had returned from fighting by their side, of bloodshed; 1.314. for even though the slaughter of the enemies of one's country is according to law, still he who kills a man, even though justly and in self-defence, and because he has been attacked, still appears to be guilty of blood by reason of his supreme and common relationship to a common father; on which account those who had slain enemies were in need of rites of purification, to cleanse them from what was looked upon as a pollution. 1.315. However, after no long lapse of time he divided the booty among those who had taken a part in the expedition, and they were but a small number, giving one half among those who had remained inactive at home, and the other half to those who were still in the camp; for he looked upon it as just and equitable to give the share of the advantages gained, to those who had shared in the contest, if not with their souls, at all events with their bodies; for as the spectators were not inferior to the actual combatants in their zeal, they were inferior only in point of time and in respect of their being anticipated. 1.316. And as the smaller body had received each a larger share of the booty, by reason of their having been the foremost in encountering danger, and the larger body had received each a smaller share, by reason of their having remained at home; it appeared indispensable that they should consecrate the first fruits of the whole of the booty; those therefore who had remained at home brought a fiftieth, and those who had been actually engaged in the war, brought and contributed a five hundredth part; and of ten first fruits Moses commanded that portion which came from those who had borne a part in the expedition, to be given to the high priest, and that portion which came from those who had remained in the camp, to the keepers of the temple whose name were the Levites. 1.317. And the captains of thousands, and centurions, and all the rest of the multitude of commanders of battalions and companies willingly contributed special first fruits, as an offering for their own safety, and that of those who had gone out to war, and for the victory which had been gained in a manner beyond all hope, giving up all the golden ornaments which had fallen to the lot of each individual, in the apportionment of the booty, and the most costly vessels, of which the material was gold. All which things Moses took, and, admiring the piety of those who contributed them, dedicated them in the consecrated tabernacle as a memorial of the gratitude of the men; and the division of the first fruits was very beautiful; 1.318. those which had been given by the men who had borne their share in the war, he distributed among the keepers of the temple as among men who had only displayed one half of virtue, namely eagerness without action; but the first fruits of those who had warred and fought, who had encountered danger with their bodies and lives, and thus had displayed perfect and complete excellence, he allotted to him who presided over the keepers of the temple, namely to the high priest; and the first fruits of the captains, as being the offerings of chiefs and rulers, he allotted to the great ruler of all, namely to God. 1.334. I have now, then, given an account of what was done by Moses while invested with kingly power. I must now proceed to relate in order all the actions which he performed in accordance with virtue, and also successfully as a chief priest, and also in his character as a lawgiver; for he also exercised these two powers as very closely connected with his kingly authority 2.259. And Moses, when he saw it, commanded them to collect it; and being full of inspiration, said: "You must believe in God, inasmuch as you have already had experience of his mercies and benefits in matters beyond all your hopes. This food may not be treasured up or laid up in garners. Let no one leave any portion of it till the morning. 2.261. And Moses, when he saw this, was naturally indigt with those who were thus disobedient; for how could he help being so, when those who had beheld such numerous and great actions which could not possibly be perverted into mere fictitious and well contrived appearances, but which had been easily accomplished by the divine providence, did not only doubt, but even absolutely disbelieved, and were the hardest of all man to be convinced? 2.262. But the Father established the oracle of his prophet by two most conspicuous manifestations, the one of which he gave immediately by the destruction of what had been left, and by the evil stench which arose, and by the change of it into worms, the vilest of animals; and the other demonstration he afforded subsequently, for that which was over and above after that which had been collected by the multitude, was always melted away by the beams of the sun, and consumed, and destroyed in that manner. 2.263. He gave a second instance of his prophetical inspiration not long afterwards in the oracle which he delivered about the sacred seventh day. For though it had had a natural precedence over all other days, not only from the time that the world was created, but even before the origination of the heaven and all the objects perceptible to the outward senses, men still knew it not, perhaps because, by reason of the continued and uninterrupted destructions which had taken place by water and fire, succeeding generations had not been able to receive from former ones any traditions of the arrangement and order which had been established in the connection of preceding times, which, as it was not known, Moses, now being inspired, declared to his people in an oracle which was borne testimony to by a visible sign from heaven. 2.264. And the sign was this. A small portion of food descended from the air on the previous days, but a double portion on the day before the seventh day. And on the previous days, if any portion was left it became liquefied and melted away, until it was entirely changed into dew, and so consumed; but on this day it endured no alteration, but remained in the same state as before, and when this was reported to him, and beheld by him, Moses did not so much conjecture as receive the impulse of divine inspiration under which he prophesied of the seventh day. 2.265. I omit to mention that all such conjectures are akin to prophecy; for the mind could never make such correct and felicitous conjectures, unless it were a divine spirit which guided their feet into the way of truth;
16. Philo of Alexandria, Hypothetica, 6.1 (1st cent. BCE - missingth cent. CE)

6.1. That their ancient ancestor, the original founder of their race, was a Chaldaean; and that this people emigrated from Egypt, after having in former times left its abode in Syria, being very numerous and consisting of countless myriads of people; and that when the land was no longer able to contain them, and moreover when a high spirit began to show itself in the dispositions of their young men, and when, besides this, God himself by visions and dreams began to show them that he willed that they should depart, and when, as the Deity brought it about, nothing was less an object of desire to them than their ancient native land; on that account this ancestor of theirs departed and journeyed into Egypt, whether in consequence of some express determination of God, or whether it was in consequence of some prophetic instinct of his own; so that from that time to the present the nation has had an existence and a durability, and has become so exceedingly populous, as it is at this moment.
17. Philo of Alexandria, Allegorical Interpretation, 3.88-3.89 (1st cent. BCE - missingth cent. CE)

18. Josephus Flavius, Jewish Antiquities, 2.327, 3.12, 4.126-4.158 (1st cent. CE - 1st cent. CE)

2.327. So they laid the blame on Moses, and forgot all the signs that had been wrought by God for the recovery of their freedom; and this so far, that their incredulity prompted them to throw stones at the prophet, while he encouraged them and promised them deliverance; and they resolved that they would deliver themselves up to the Egyptians. 3.12. And by fixing their attention upon nothing but their present misfortunes, they were hindered from remembering what deliverances they had received from God, and those by the virtue and wisdom of Moses also; so they were very angry at their conductor, and were zealous in their attempt to stone him, as the direct occasion of their present miseries. 3.12. Now every one of the pillars had rings of gold affixed to their fronts outward, as if they had taken root in the pillars, and stood one row over against another round about, through which were inserted bars gilt over with gold, each of them five cubits long, and these bound together the pillars, the head of one bar running into another, after the nature of one tenon inserted into another; 4.126. 6. But Balak being very angry that the Israelites were not cursed, sent away Balaam without thinking him worthy of any honor. Whereupon, when he was just upon his journey, in order to pass the Euphrates, he sent for Balak, and for the princes of the Midianites 4.127. and spake thus to them:—“O Balak, and you Midianites that are here present, (for I am obliged even without the will of God to gratify you,) it is true no entire destruction can seize upon the nation of the Hebrews, neither by war, nor by plague, nor by scarcity of the fruits of the earth, nor can any other unexpected accident be their entire ruin; 4.128. for the providence of God is concerned to preserve them from such a misfortune; nor will it permit any such calamity to come upon them whereby they may all perish; but some small misfortunes, and those for a short time, whereby they may appear to be brought low, may still befall them; but after that they will flourish again, to the terror of those that brought those mischiefs upon them. 4.129. So that if you have a mind to gain a victory over them for a short space of time, you will obtain it by following my directions:—Do you therefore set out the handsomest of such of your daughters as are most eminent for beauty, and proper to force and conquer the modesty of those that behold them, and these decked and trimmed to the highest degree you are able. Then do you send them to be near the Israelites’ camp, and give them in charge, that when the young men of the Hebrews desire their company, they allow it them; 4.131. 7. So when the Midianites had sent their daughters, as Balaam had exhorted them, the Hebrew young men were allured by their beauty, and came to discourse with them, and besought them not to grudge them the enjoyment of their beauty, nor to deny them their conversation. These daughters of the Midianites received their words gladly, and consented to it, and staid with them; 4.132. but when they had brought them to be enamored of them, and their inclinations to them were grown to ripeness, they began to think of departing from them: then it was that these men became greatly disconsolate at the women’s departure, and they were urgent with them not to leave them, but begged they would continue there, and become their wives; and they promised them they should be owned as mistresses of all they had. 4.133. This they said with an oath, and called God for the arbitrator of what they promised; and this with tears in their eyes, and all other such marks of concern, as might shew how miserable they thought themselves without them, and so might move their compassion for them. So the women, as soon as they perceived they had made them their slaves, and had caught them with their conversation, began to speak thus to them:— 4.134. 8. “O you illustrious young men! we have houses of our own at home, and great plenty of good things there, together with the natural, affectionate love of our parents and friends; nor is it out of our want of any such things that we came to discourse with you; nor did we admit of your invitation with design to prostitute the beauty of our bodies for gain; but taking you for brave and worthy men, we agreed to your request, that we might treat you with such honors as hospitality required: 4.135. and now seeing you say that you have a great affection for us, and are troubled when you think we are departing, we are not averse to your entreaties; and if we may receive such assurance of your good-will as we think can be alone sufficient, we will be glad to lead our lives with you as your wives; 4.136. but we are afraid that you will in time be weary of our company, and will then abuse us, and send us back to our parents, after an ignominious manner.” And so they desired that they would excuse them in their guarding against that danger. But the young men professed they would give them any assurance they should desire; nor did they at all contradict what they requested, so great was the passion they had for them. 4.137. “If then,” said they, “this be your resolution, since you make use of such customs and conduct of life as are entirely different from all other men, insomuch that your kinds of food are peculiar to yourselves, and your kinds of drink not common to others, it will be absolutely necessary, if you would have us for your wives, that you do withal worship our gods. Nor can there be any other demonstration of the kindness which you say you already have, and promise to have hereafter to us, than this, that you worship the same gods that we do. 4.138. For has any one reason to complain, that now you are come into this country, you should worship the proper gods of the same country? especially while our gods are common to all men, and yours such as belong to nobody else but yourselves.” So they said they must either come into such methods of divine worship as all others came into, or else they must look out for another world, wherein they may live by themselves, according to their own laws. 4.139. 9. Now the young men were induced by the fondness they had for these women to think they spake very well; so they gave themselves up to what they persuaded them, and transgressed their own laws, and supposing there were many gods, and resolving that they would sacrifice to them according to the laws of that country which ordained them, they both were delighted with their strange food, and went on to do every thing that the women would have them do, though in contradiction to their own laws; 4.141. 10. Even Zimri, the head of the tribe of Simeon accompanied with Cozbi, a Midianitish women, who was the daughter of Sur, a man of authority in that country; and being desired by his wife to disregard the laws of Moses, and to follow those she was used to, he complied with her, and this both by sacrificing after a manner different from his own, and by taking a stranger to wife. 4.142. When things were thus, Moses was afraid that matters should grow worse, and called the people to a congregation, but then accused nobody by name, as unwilling to drive those into despair who, by lying concealed, might come to repentance; 4.143. but he said that they did not do what was either worthy of themselves, or of their fathers, by preferring pleasure to God, and to the living according to his will; that it was fit they should change their courses while their affairs were still in a good state, and think that to be true fortitude which offers not violence to their laws, but that which resists their lusts. 4.144. And besides that, he said it was not a reasonable thing, when they had lived soberly in the wilderness, to act madly now when they were in prosperity; and that they ought not to lose, now they have abundance, what they had gained when they had little:—and so did he endeavor, by saying this, to correct the young inert, and to bring them to repentance for what they had done. 4.145. 11. But Zimri arose up after him, and said, “Yes, indeed, Moses, thou art at liberty to make use of such laws as thou art so fond of, and hast, by accustoming thyself to them, made them firm; otherwise, if things had not been thus, thou hadst often been punished before now, and hadst known that the Hebrews are not easily put upon; 4.146. but thou shalt not have me one of thy followers in thy tyrannical commands, for thou dost nothing else hitherto, but, under pretense of laws, and of God, wickedly impose on us slavery, and gain dominion to thyself, while thou deprivest us of the sweetness of life, which consists in acting according to our own wills, and is the right of free-men, and of those that have no lord over them. 4.147. Nay, indeed, this man is harder upon the Hebrews then were the Egyptians themselves, as pretending to punish, according to his laws, every one’s acting what is most agreeable to himself; but thou thyself better deservest to suffer punishment, who presumest to abolish what every one acknowledges to be what is good for him, and aimest to make thy single opinion to have more force than that of all the rest; 4.148. and what I now do, and think to be right, I shall not hereafter deny to be according to my own sentiments. I have married, as thou sayest rightly, a strange woman, and thou hearest what I do from myself as from one that is free, for truly I did not intend to conceal myself. 4.149. I also own that I sacrificed to those gods to whom you do not think it fit to sacrifice; and I think it right to come at truth by inquiring of many people, and not like one that lives under tyranny, to suffer the whole hope of my life to depend upon one man; nor shall any one find cause to rejoice who declares himself to have more authority over my actions than myself.” 4.151. for he avoided that, lest many should imitate the impudence of his language, and thereby disturb the multitude. Upon this the assembly was dissolved. However, the mischievous attempt had proceeded further, if Zimri had not been first slain, which came to pass on the following occasion:— 4.152. Phineas, a man in other respects better than the rest of the young men, and also one that surpassed his contemporaries in the dignity of his father, (for he was the son of Eleazar the high priest, and the grandson of [Aaron] Moses’s brother,) who was greatly troubled at what was done by Zimri, he resolved in earnest to inflict punishment on him, before his unworthy behavior should grow stronger by impunity, and in order to prevent this transgression from proceeding further, which would happen if the ringleaders were not punished. 4.153. He was of so great magimity, both in strength of mind and body, that when he undertook any very dangerous attempt, he did not leave it off till he overcame it, and got an entire victory. So he came into Zimri’s tent, and slew him with his javelin, and with it he slew Cozbi also 4.154. Upon which all those young men that had a regard to virtue, and aimed to do a glorious action, imitated Phineas’s boldness, and slew those that were found to be guilty of the same crime with Zimri. Accordingly many of those that had transgressed perished by the magimous valor of these young men; 4.155. and the rest all perished by a plague, which distemper God himself inflicted upon them; so that all those their kindred, who, instead of hindering them from such wicked actions, as they ought to have done, had persuaded them to go on, were esteemed by God as partners in their wickedness, and died. Accordingly there perished out of the army no fewer than fourteen [twenty-four] thousand at this time. 4.156. 13. This was the cause why Moses was provoked to send an army to destroy the Midianites, concerning which expedition we shall speak presently, when we have first related what we have omitted; for it is but just not to pass over our legislator’s due encomium, on account of his conduct here 4.157. because, although this Balaam, who was sent for by the Midianites to curse the Hebrews, and when he was hindered from doing it by Divine Providence, did still suggest that advice to them, by making use of which our enemies had well nigh corrupted the whole multitude of the Hebrews with their wiles, till some of them were deeply infected with their opinions; yet did he do him great honor, by setting down his prophecies in writing. 4.158. And while it was in his power to claim this glory to himself, and make men believe they were his own predictions, there being no one that could be a witness against him, and accuse him for so doing, he still gave his attestation to him, and did him the honor to make mention of him on this account. But let every one think of these matters as he pleases.
19. New Testament, 2 Peter, 2.15 (1st cent. CE - 1st cent. CE)

2.15. forsaking the right way, they went astray, having followed the way of Balaam the son of Beor, who loved the wages of wrong-doing;
20. New Testament, Acts, 1.15-1.26 (1st cent. CE - 2nd cent. CE)

1.15. In these days, Peter stood up in the midst of the disciples (and the number of names was about one hundred twenty), and said 1.16. Brothers, it was necessary that this Scripture should be fulfilled, which the Holy Spirit spoke before by the mouth of David concerning Judas, who was guide to those who took Jesus. 1.17. For he was numbered with us, and received his portion in this ministry. 1.18. Now this man obtained a field with the reward for his wickedness, and falling headlong, his body burst open, and all his intestines gushed out. 1.19. It became known to everyone who lived in Jerusalem that in their language that field was called 'Akeldama,' that is, 'The field of blood.' 1.20. For it is written in the book of Psalms, 'Let his habitation be made desolate, Let no one dwell therein,' and, 'Let another take his office.' 1.21. of the men therefore who have accompanied us all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and went out among us 1.22. beginning from the baptism of John, to the day that he was received up from us, of these one must become a witness with us of his resurrection. 1.23. They put forward two, Joseph called Barsabbas, who was surnamed Justus, and Matthias. 1.24. They prayed, and said, "You, Lord, who know the hearts of all men, show which one of these two you have chosen 1.25. to take part in this ministry and apostleship from which Judas fell away, that he might go to his own place. 1.26. They drew lots for them, and the lot fell on Matthias, and he was numbered with the eleven apostles.
21. New Testament, Apocalypse, 1.3, 1.10-1.13, 2.2, 2.4-2.6, 2.9, 2.13-2.16, 2.22, 3.2-3.3, 3.9, 4.1, 17.2, 18.3, 18.9, 22.9 (1st cent. CE - 1st cent. CE)

1.3. Blessed is he who reads and those who hear the words of the prophecy, and keep the things that are written in it, for the time is at hand. 1.10. I was in the Spirit on the Lord's day, and I heard behind me a loud voice, as of a trumpet 1.11. saying, "What you see, write in a book and send to the seven assemblies: to Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamum, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia, and to Laodicea. 1.12. I turned to see the voice that spoke with me. Having turned, I saw seven golden lampstands. 1.13. And in the midst of the lampstands was one like a son of man, clothed with a robe reaching down to his feet, and with a golden sash around his chest. 2.2. I know your works, and your toil and perseverance, and that you can't tolerate evil men, and have tested those who call themselves apostles, and they are not, and found them false. 2.4. But I have this against you, that you left your first love. 2.5. Remember therefore from where you have fallen, and repent and do the first works; or else I am coming to you swiftly, and will move your lampstand out of its place, unless you repent. 2.6. But this you have, that you hate the works of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate. 2.9. I know your works, oppression, and your poverty (but you are rich), and the blasphemy of those who say they are Jews, and they are not, but are a synagogue of Satan. 2.13. I know your works and where you dwell, where Satan's throne is. You hold firmly to my name, and didn't deny my faith in the days of Antipas my witness, my faithful one, who was killed among you, where Satan dwells. 2.14. But I have a few things against you, because you have there some who hold the teaching of Balaam, who taught Balak to throw a stumbling block before the children of Israel , to eat things sacrificed to idols, and to commit sexual immorality. 2.15. So you also have some who hold to the teaching of the Nicolaitans in the same way. 2.16. Repent therefore, or else I am coming to you quickly, and I will make war against them with the sword of my mouth. 2.22. Behold, I will throw her into a bed, and those who commit adultery with her into great oppression, unless they repent of her works. 3.2. Wake up, and keep the things that remain, which you were about to throw away, for I have found no works of yours perfected before my God. 3.3. Remember therefore how you have received and heard. Keep it, and repent. If therefore you won't watch, I will come as a thief, and you won't know what hour I will come upon you. 3.9. Behold, I give of the synagogue of Satan, of those who say they are Jews, and they are not, but lie. Behold, I will make them to come and worship before your feet, and to know that I have loved you. 4.1. After these things I looked and saw a door opened in heaven, and the first voice that I heard, like a trumpet speaking with me, was one saying, "Come up here, and I will show you the things which must happen after this. 17.2. with whom the kings of the earth committed sexual immorality, and those who dwell in the earth were made drunken with the wine of her sexual immorality. 18.3. For all the nations have drunk of the wine of the wrath of her sexual immorality, the kings of the earth committed sexual immorality with her, and the merchants of the earth grew rich from the abundance of her luxury. 18.9. The kings of the earth, who committed sexual immorality and lived wantonly with her, will weep and wail over her, when they look at the smoke of her burning 22.9. He said to me, "See you don't do it! I am a fellow bondservant with you and with your brothers, the prophets, and with those who keep the words of this book. Worship God.
22. Anon., Numbers Rabba, 20.2, 20.9, 20.11-20.12, 20.14-20.15, 20.19, 20.23 (4th cent. CE - 9th cent. CE)

20.9. וַיָּבֹא אֱלֹהִים וַיֹּאמֶר מִי הָאֲנָשִׁים הָאֵלֶּה (במדבר כב, ט), זֶה שֶׁאָמַר הַכָּתוּב (משלי כח, י): מַשְׁגֶּה יְשָׁרִים בְּדֶרֶךְ רָע בִּשְׁחוּתוֹ הוּא יִפּוֹל, זֶה בִּלְעָם, שֶׁבַּתְּחִלָּה הַבְּרִיּוֹת נוֹהֲגוֹת בְּכַשְׁרוּת, וּבִדְבָרָיו אֵלּוּ הָיוּ נוֹהֲגִין בַּעֲרָיוֹת, שֶׁהָרִאשׁוֹנִים (בראשית כט, ט): וְרָחֵל בָּאָה עִם הַצֹּאן, (שמות ב, טז): וּלְכֹהֵן מִדְיָן שֶׁבַע בָּנוֹת, עָמַד בִּלְעָם וְהִטְעָה אֶת הַבְּרִיוֹת בַּעֲרָיוֹת, וּכְמוֹ שֶׁהִטְעָה הֻטְעָה, בָּעֵצָה שֶׁנָּתַן בָּהּ נָפַל, וְהִטְעָהוּ הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא, שֶׁכָּךְ כְּתִיב (איוב יב, כג): מַשְֹּׂגִּיא לַגּוֹיִם וַיְאַבְּדֵם. כֵּיוָן שֶׁאָמַר לוֹ מִי הָאֲנָשִׁים הָאֵלֶּה עִמָּךְ, אָמַר אוֹתוֹ רָשָׁע אֵינוֹ יוֹדֵעַ בָּהֶן, יֵשׁ שָׁעָה שֶׁאֵינוֹ יוֹדֵעַ, וַאֲנִי אֶעֱשֶׂה בְּבָנָיו כָּל מַה שֶּׁאֲנִי רוֹצֶה, לְכָךְ אָמַר לְהַטְעוֹתוֹ. דָּבָר אַחֵר, מִי הָאֲנָשִׁים הָאֵלֶּה עִמָּךְ וַיֹּאמֶר בִּלְעָם בָּלָק בֶּן צִפֹר, הִתְחִיל מִתְגָּאֶה וְאָמַר אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁאֵין אַתָּה מְכַבְּדֵנִי וְאֵין אַתָּה מוֹצִיא לִי שֵׁם בָּעוֹלָם הַמְּלָכִים מְבַקְּשִׁים אוֹתִי. (במדבר כב, יא): הִנֵּה הָעָם הַיֹּצֵא מִמִּצְרַיִם, עַתָּה לְכָה קָבָה לִּי אֹתוֹ, לְהוֹדִיעַ שֶׁשֹּׂוֹנֵא יוֹתֵר מִבָּלָק, שֶׁבָּלָק לֹא אָמַר קָבָה, אֶלָּא אָרָה, וְזֶה קָבָה בְּפֵרוּשׁ, הוּא אָמַר (במדבר כב, ו): וַאֲגָרְשֶׁנּוּ מִן הָאָרֶץ, וְהוּא אוֹמֵר (במדבר כב, יא): וְגֵרַשְׁתִּיו, מִן הָעוֹלָם הַזֶּה וּמִן הָעוֹלָם הַבָּא. 20.11. וַיָּבֹא אֱלֹהִים אֶל בִּלְעָם לַיְלָה (במדבר כב, כ), זֶה שֶׁאָמַר הַכָּתוּב (איוב לג, טו יז): בַּחֲלוֹם חֶזְיוֹן לַיְלָה בִּנְפֹל תַּרְדֵּמָה עַל אֲנָשִׁים, אָז יִגְלֶה אֹזֶן אֲנָשִׁים, לְהָסִיר אָדָם מַעֲשֶׂה וְגֵוָה מִגֶּבֶר יְכַסֶּה. הֶעֱלִים הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא מִמֶּנּוּ שֶׁהֲלִיכָתוֹ מְאַבַּדְתּוֹ מִן הָעוֹלָם וּמוֹלִיכַתּוּ לִבְאֵר שַׁחַת, (איוב לג, ל): [לחשך] לְהָשִׁיב נַפְשׁוֹ מִנִּי שָׁחַת לֵאוֹר בְּאוֹר הַחַיִּים, שֶׁאִבֵּד נַפְשׁוֹ בַּהֲלִיכָתוֹ, שֶׁבְּשָׁעָה שֶׁהוֹלֵךְ אָדָם לַחְטוֹא הַשָֹּׂטָן מְרַקֵּד לוֹ עַד שֶׁגּוֹמֵר הָעֲבֵרָה, כֵּיוָן שֶׁאִבְּדוֹ חוֹזֵר וּמוֹדִיעוֹ. וְכֵן הוּא אוֹמֵר (משלי ז, כב כג): הוֹלֵךְ אַחֲרֶיהָ פִּתְאֹם כְּשׁוֹר אֶל טֶבַח יָבֹא, עַד יְפַלַּח חֵץ כְּבֵדוֹ כְּמַהֵר צִפּוֹר אֶל פָּח. הֶעֱלִים הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא מִן בִּלְעָם הָרָשָׁע עַד שֶׁהָלַךְ וְאִבֵּד אֶת נַפְשׁוֹ, מִשֶּׁיָּצָא מִן כְּבוֹדוֹ וְיָדַע בַּמֶּה שֶׁהוּא בּוֹ, הִתְחִיל לְבַקֵּשׁ עַל נַפְשׁוֹ (במדבר כג, י): תָּמֹת נַפְשִׁי מוֹת יְשָׁרִים. 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. 20.14. וַתֵּט הָאָתוֹן מִן הַדֶּרֶךְ וַתֵּלֶךְ (במדבר כב, כג), הָרָשָׁע הַזֶּה הוֹלֵךְ לְקַלֵּל אֻמָּה שְׁלֵמָה שֶׁלֹא חָטְאָה לוֹ וּמַכֶּה אֲתוֹנוֹ שֶׁלֹא תֵּלֵךְ בַּשָֹּׂדֶה, וּכְתִיב (במדבר כב, כד): וַיַּעֲמֹד מַלְאַךְ ה' בְּמִשְׁעוֹל הַכְּרָמִים, וְכִי לֹא הָיָה יָכוֹל לוֹ לֵילֵךְ אַחֲרָיו, אֶלָּא כָּךְ מִדַת הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא מֶלֶךְ בָּשָׂר וָדָם מְשַׁלֵּחַ סְפֶקְלָטוֹר לַהֲרֹג אֶת הָאָדָם, מְהַלֵּךְ אַחֲרָיו יָמִים הַרְבֵּה, וְזֶה שֶׁנִּתְחַיֵּב מִיתָה אוֹכֵל וְשׁוֹתֶה וְהַסְּפֶקְלָטוֹר מְהַלֵּךְ וּמִטָּרֵף אַחֲרָיו מִמָּקוֹם לְמָקוֹם, וְלִפְנֵי הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא אֵינוֹ כֵן הַסְּפֶקְלָטוֹר בִּמְקוֹמוֹ עוֹמֵד וּמִי שֶׁנִּתְחַיֵּב מִיתָה בָּא אֶצְלוֹ בְּרַגְלָיו, כְּדֵי שֶׁלֹא יִצְטָעֵר הַמַּלְאָךְ לֵילֵךְ אַחַר בִּלְעָם קְדָמוֹ לַדָּרֶךְ. וַיַּעֲמֹד מַלְאַךְ ה' בְּמִשְׁעוֹל, אָמַר לוֹ הַכְּרָמִים נִמְכָּרִים כַּשּׁוּעָלִים (במדבר כב, כד): גָּדֵר מִזֶּה וְגָדֵר מִזֶּה, אֵין אַתָּה יָכוֹל לִשְׁלֹט בָּהֶן, שֶׁבִּידֵיהֶם (שמות לב, טו): לֻחוֹת כְּתוּבִים מִשְּׁנֵי עֶבְרֵיהֶם מִזֶּה וּמִזֶּה הֵם כְּתֻבִים. (במדבר כב, כה כו): וַתֵּרֶא הָאָתוֹן אֶת מַלְאַךְ ה' וַתִּלָּחֵץ אֶל הַקִּיר, וַיּוֹסֶף מַלְאַךְ ה' עֲבוֹר, מָה רָאָה לְקַדְּמוֹ שָׁלשׁ פְּעָמִים עַד שֶׁלֹא נִרְאָה לוֹ, סִימָנִין שֶׁל אָבוֹת הֶרְאָה לוֹ, עָמַד לוֹ בָרִאשׁוֹנָה הָיָה רֶוַח מִכָּאן וּמִכָּאן וַתֵּט הָאָתוֹן מִן הַדֶּרֶךְ וַתֵּלֶךְ, בַּשְּׁנִיָּה לֹא יָכְלָה לָזוּז אֶלָּא לְצַד אֶחָד, בַּשְׁלִישִׁית (במדבר כב, כו): אֵין דֶּרֶךְ לִנְטוֹת יָמִין וּשְׂמֹאול. וּמָה הָיוּ הַסִּימָנִין הָאֵלֶּה, שֶׁאִלּוּ בִּקֵּשׁ לְקַלֵּל בָּנָיו שֶׁל אַבְרָהָם, הָיָה מוֹצֵא מִיכָּן וּמִיכָּן בְּנֵי יִשְׁמָעֵאל בְּנֵי קְטוּרָה. בִּקֵּשׁ לְקַלֵּל בְּנֵי יִצְחָק, הָיָה מוֹצֵא בָּהֶן צַד אֶחָד בְּנֵי עֵשָׂו, וַתִּלָחֵץ אֶל הַקִּיר, בָּנָיו שֶׁל יַעֲקֹב לֹא מָצָא בָּהֶן פְּסוֹלֶת לִגַּע בָּהֶן, לְכָךְ נֶאֱמַר בַּשְּׁלִישִׁית (במדבר כב, כו): בְּמָקוֹם צָר, זֶה יַעֲקֹב, דִּכְתִיב (בראשית לב, ח): וַיִּירָא יַעֲקֹב מְאֹד וַיֵּצֶר לוֹ. אֲשֶׁר אֵין דֶּרֶךְ לִנְטוֹת יָמִין וּשְׂמֹאול, שֶׁלֹא מָצָא פְּסֹלֶת בְּאֶחָד מִבָּנָיו. (במדבר כב, כז): וַתֵּרֶא הָאָתוֹן אֶת מַלְאַךְ ה' וַתִּרְבַּץ תַּחַת בִּלְעָם וַיִּחַר אַף בִּלְעָם וַיַּךְ אֶת הָאָתוֹן בַּמַּקֵּל, עַל בִּזְיוֹנוֹ שֶׁבִּזְּתָה אוֹתוֹ. (במדבר כב, כח): וַיִּפְתַּח ה' אֶת פִּי הָאָתוֹן, לְהוֹדִיעוֹ שֶׁהַפֶּה וְהַלָּשׁוֹן בִּרְשׁוּתוֹ, שֶׁאִם בִּקֵּשׁ לְקַלֵּל פִּיו בִּרְשׁוּתוֹ. (במדבר כב, כח): וַתֹּאמֶר לְבִלְעָם מֶה עָשִׂיתִי לְךָ כִּי הִכִּיתָנִי זֶה שָׁלשׁ רְגָלִים, רָמְזָה לוֹ אַתָּה מְבַקֵּשׁ לַעֲקֹר אֻמָּה הַחוֹגֶגֶת שָׁלשׁ רְגָלִים. (במדבר כב, כט): וַיֹּאמֶר בִּלְעָם לָאָתוֹן כִּי הִתְעַלַּלְתְּ בִּי, אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁמְדַבֵּר בְּלָשׁוֹן הַקֹּדֶשׁ, עוֹבֵד כּוֹכָבִים לְשׁוֹנוֹ סָרוּחַ. (במדבר כב, כט): לוּ יֶשׁ חֶרֶב בְּיָדִי, מָשָׁל לְרוֹפֵא שֶׁבָּא לְרַפְּאוֹת בִּלְשׁוֹנוֹ נְשׁוּךְ נָחָשׁ, בַּדֶּרֶךְ רָאָה אֲנָקָה אַחַת הִתְחִיל מְבַקֵּשׁ מַקֵּל לְהָרְגָהּ, אָמְרוּ זוֹ אִי אַתָּה יָכוֹל לִטֹּל, הֵיאַךְ בָּאתָ לְרַפְּאוֹת בִּלְשׁוֹנְךָ נְשׁוּךְ נָחָשׁ. כָּךְ אָמְרָה הָאָתוֹן לְבִלְעָם אֲנִי אֵין אַתָּה יָכוֹל לְהָרְגֵנִי אֶלָּא אִם כֵּן חֶרֶב בְּיָדְךָ, וְהֵיאַךְ אַתָּה רוֹצֶה לַעֲקֹר אֻמָּה שְׁלֵמָה, שָׁתַק וְלֹא מָצָא תְּשׁוּבָה, הִתְחִילוּ תְּמֵהִים שָׂרֵי מוֹאָב שֶׁרָאוּ נֵס שֶׁלֹא הָיָה כָּמוֹהוּ מֵעוֹלָם. וְיֵשׁ אוֹמְרִים אָמַר לָהֶם אֵינָהּ שֶׁלִּי, הֵשִׁיבַתּוּ (במדבר כב, ל): הֲלוֹא אָנֹכִי אֲתֹנְךָ אֲשֶׁר רָכַבְתָּ עָלַי מֵעוֹדְךָ עַד הַיּוֹם הַזֶּה, הָא לָמַדְתָּ שֶׁלֹא הָיָה זָקֵן, שֶׁהָאָתוֹן גְּדוֹלָה הֵימֶנּוּ. (במדבר כב, כט): הַהַסְכֵּן הִסְכַּנְתִּי לַעֲשׂוֹת לְךָ כֹּה, כֵּיוָן שֶׁדִּבְּרָה מֵתָה, שֶׁלֹא יִהְיוּ אוֹמְרִים זוֹ שֶׁדִּבְּרָה וְעוֹשִׂין אוֹתָהּ יִרְאָה. דָּבָר אַחֵר, הַהַסְכֵּן הִסְכַּנְתִּי לַעֲשׂוֹת לְךָ כֹּה, חָס הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא עַל כְּבוֹדוֹ שֶׁל אוֹתוֹ רָשָׁע, שֶׁלֹא יֹאמְרוּ זוֹ הָיְתָה שֶׁסִּלְּקָה אֶת בִּלְעָם. וְאִם חָס הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא עַל כְּבוֹד הָרָשָׁע, אֵין צָרִיךְ לוֹמַר עַל כְּבוֹד הַצַּדִּיק. וְכֵן הוּא אוֹמֵר (ויקרא כ, טז): וְאִשָּׁה אֲשֶׁר תִּקְרַב אֶל כָּל בְּהֵמָה לְרִבְעָה אֹתָהּ וְהָרַגְתָּ אֶת הָאִשָּׁה וְאֶת הַבְּהֵמָה, שֶׁלֹא יֹאמְרוּ זוֹ הַבְּהֵמָה שֶׁנֶּהֶרְגָה אִשָּׁה פְּלוֹנִית עַל יָדֶיהָ, לְהוֹדִיעֲךָ שֶׁחָס הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא עַל כְּבוֹדָן שֶׁל בְּרִיּוֹת וְיוֹדֵעַ צָרְכָּן וְסָתַם פִּי הַבְּהֵמָה, שֶׁאִלּוּ הָיְתָה מְדַבֶּרֶת לֹא הָיוּ יְכוֹלִין לְשַׁעְבְּדָהּ וְלַעֲמֹד בָּהּ, שֶׁזּוֹ הַטִּפֶּשֶׁת שֶׁבַּבְּהֵמָה, וְזֶה חָכָם שֶׁבַּחֲכָמִים, כֵּיוָן שֶׁדִּבְּרָה לֹא הָיָה יָכוֹל לַעֲמֹד בָּהּ. 20.15. וַיְגַל ה' אֶת עֵינֵי בִלְעָם (במדבר כב, לא), וְכִי סוּמָא הָיָה, לְהוֹדִיעַ שֶׁאַף הָעַיִן בִּרְשׁוּתוֹ. (במדבר כב, לא): וַיִּקֹּד וַיִּשְׁתַּחוּ לְאַפָּיו, שֶׁדִּבֵּר עִמּוֹ. (במדבר כב, לב): וַיֹּאמֶר אֵלָיו מַלְאַךְ ה' עַל מָה הִכִּיתָ, וְכִי דִּקָּיוֹן שֶׁל אָתוֹן בָּא מַלְאָךְ לְבַקֵּשׁ מִיָּדוֹ, אֶלָּא אָמַר לוֹ מָה הָאָתוֹן שֶׁאֵין לָהּ זְכוּת וְלֹא בְּרִית אָבוֹת נִצְטַוֵּיתִי לִתְבֹּעַ עֶלְבּוֹנָהּ מִיָּדְךָ, אֻמָּה שְׁלֵמָה שֶׁאַתָּה מְבַקֵּשׁ לְעָקְרָהּ, שֶׁיֵּשׁ לָהּ זְכוּת וּבְרִית אָבוֹת, עַל אַחַת כַּמָּה וְכַמָּה. (במדבר כב, לב): הִנֵּה אָנֹכִי יָצָאתִי לְשָׂטָן כִּי יָרַט הַדֶּרֶךְ. יָרְאָ"ה רָאֲתָ"ה נָטְתָ"ה. דָּבָר אַחֵר, יָרַט בְּא"ת ב"ש מָגֵן. (במדבר כב, לג): וַתִּרְאַנִי הָאָתוֹן, גַּם אֹתְכָה הָרַגְתִּי וְאוֹתָהּ הֶחֱיֵיתִי, מִיכָּן אַתְּ לָמֵד שֶׁהָרַג אֶת הָאָתוֹן. (במדבר כב, לד): וַיֹּאמֶר בִּלְעָם אֶל מַלְאַךְ ה' חָטָאתִי, שֶׁהָיָה רָשָׁע עָרוּם וְיוֹדֵעַ שֶׁאֵין עוֹמֵד מִפְּנֵי הַפֻּרְעָנוּת אֶלָּא תְּשׁוּבָה, שֶׁכָּל מִי שֶׁחוֹטֵא וְאוֹמֵר חָטָאתִי, אֵין רְשׁוּת לַמַּלְאָךְ לִגַּע בּוֹ. (במדבר כב, לד): כִּי לֹא יָדָעְתִּי. וְעַתָּה אִם רַע בְּעֵינֶיךָ אָשׁוּבָה לִי, אָמַר לוֹ אֲנִי לֹא הָלַכְתִּי עַד שֶׁאָמַר לִי הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא (במדבר כב, כ): קוּם לֵךְ אִתָּם, וְאַתָּה אוֹמֵר שֶׁאֶחֱזֹר, כָּךְ אֻמְנָתוֹ, לֹא כָךְ אָמַר לְאַבְרָהָם לְהַקְרִיב אֶת בְּנוֹ וְאַחַר כָּךְ (בראשית כב, יא יב): וַיִּקְרָא מַלְאַךְ ה', וַיֹּאמֶר אַל תִּשְׁלַח יָדְךָ, לָמוּד הוּא לוֹמַר דָּבָר וּמַלְאָךְ מַחֲזִירוֹ, וְעַכְשָׁו הוּא אוֹמֵר לִי לֵךְ אִתָּם, וְעַכְשָׁו אִם רַע בְּעֵינֶיךָ אָשׁוּבָה לִי. (במדבר כב, לה): וַיֹּאמֶר מַלְאַךְ ה' אֶל בִּלְעָם לֵךְ עִם הָאֲנָשִׁים, שֶׁחֶלְקְךָ עִמָּהֶם וְסוֹפְךָ לֵאָבֵד מִן הָעוֹלָם. (במדבר כב, לה): וַיֵּלֶךְ בִּלְעָם עִם שָׂרֵי בָלָק, מְלַמֵּד שֶׁכְּשֵׁם שֶׁהֵם שְׂמֵחִים לְקַלֵּל כָּךְ הוּא שָׂמֵחַ. 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. 20.23. וַיָּחֶל הָעָם לִזְנוֹת אֶל בְּנוֹת מוֹאָב (במדבר כה, א), בּוֹא וּרְאֵה מַה כְּתִיב בִּיצִיאָתָן מִמִּצְרַיִם (שמות יד, ב): דַּבֵּר אֶל בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל וְיָשֻׁבוּ וְיַחֲנוּ לִפְנֵי פִּי הַחִירֹת, מַהוּ פִּי הַחִירֹת, מָקוֹם קָבוּעַ לִזְנוּת הָיָה, וּלְפִי שֶׁהִצְנִיעוּ עַצְמָן בִּיצִיאָתָן מִמִּצְרַיִם נִקְרָא פִּי הַחִירֹת, וְאֵלּוּ שֶׁהִפְקִירוּ עַצְמָן לַאֲנָשִׁים, כְּתִיב: וַיָּחֶל הָעָם לִזְנוֹת, וַיָּחֶל הָעָם, כָּל מָקוֹם שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר הָעָם, לְשׁוֹן גְּנַאי הוּא, וְכָל מָקוֹם שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר יִשְׂרָאֵל, לְשׁוֹן שֶׁבַח הוּא, (במדבר יא, א): וַיְהִי הָעָם כְּמִתְאֹנְנִים. (במדבר כא, ה): וַיְדַבֵּר הָעָם בֵּאלֹהִים וּבְמשֶׁה. (במדבר יד, א): וַיִּבְכּוּ הָעָם בַּלַּיְלָה הַהוּא. (במדבר יד, יא): עַד אָנָה יְנַאֲצֻנִי הָעָם. (שמות לב, כה): וַיַּרְא משֶׁה אֶת הָעָם כִּי פָרֻעַ הוּא. (שמות לב, א): וַיִּקָּהֵל הָעָם עַל אַהֲרֹן, וְכֵן כֻּלָּם. וַיָּחֶל הָעָם לִזְנוֹת, זְרֹק מַטֶּה לָאֲוִיר לְעִקָּרוֹ נוֹפֵל, מִי שֶׁפָּתַח בִּזְנוּת תְּחִלָּה, הִשְּׁלִים לְבַסּוֹף, אִמּוֹתֵיהֶם הִתְחִילוּ בְּזִמָּה (בראשית יט, לא לד): וַתֹּאמֶר הַבְּכִירָה אֶל הַצְּעִירָה, לְכָה נַשְׁקֶה אֶת אָבִינוּ יַיִן וְנִשְׁכְּבָה, וַיְהִי מִמָּחֳרָת וַתֹּאמֶר הַבְּכִירָה אֶל הַצְּעִירָה הֵן שָׁכַבְתִּי אֱמֶשׁ, לִמְּדַתָּה אֲחוֹתָהּ, וּלְפִיכָךְ חָסַךְ הַכָּתוּב עַל הַצְּעִירָה וְלֹא פֵּרְשָׁהּ, אֶלָּא (בראשית יט, לה): וַתִּשְׁכַּב עִמּוֹ, וּבַגְּדוֹלָה כְּתִיב (בראשית יט, לג): וַתִּשְׁכַּב אֶת אָבִיהָ. אוֹתָהּ שֶׁפָּתְחָה בִּזְּנוּת תְּחִלָּה הִשְׁלִימוּ בְּנוֹתֶיהָ אַחֲרֶיהָ לִזְנוֹת אֶל בְּנוֹת מוֹאָב. (במדבר כה, ב): וַתִּקְרֶאןָ לָעָם לְזִבְחֵי אֱלֹהֵיהֶן, שֶׁהָלְכוּ בַּעֲצָתוֹ, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (במדבר לא, טז): הֵן הֵנָּה הָיוּ לִבְנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל בִּדְבַר בִּלְעָם לִמְסָר מַעַל בַּה'. עָשׂוּ לָהֶם קְלָעִים וְהוֹשִׁיבוּ בָּהֶם זוֹנוֹת וּבִידֵיהֶן כָּל כְּלֵי חֶמְדָה, וְהָיְתָה זְקֵנָה יוֹשֶׁבֶת מִבַּחוּץ וּמְשַׁמֶּרֶת לַיַּלְדָה שֶׁהָיְתָה לִפְנִים מִן הַחֲנוּת, כְּשֶׁיִּשְׂרָאֵל עוֹבְרִין לִטֹּל חֵפֶץ בַּשּׁוּק זְקֵנָה אוֹמֶרֶת לוֹ בָּחוּר אִי אַתָּה רוֹצֶה כְּלִי פִּשְׁתָּן שֶׁבָּא מִבֵּית שְׁאָן, וְהָיְתָה מַרְאָה לוֹ וְאוֹמֶרֶת לוֹ הִכָּנֵס לִפְנִים וְתִרְאֶה חֲפָצִים נָאִים, הַזְּקֵנָה אוֹמֶרֶת לוֹ בְּיוֹתֵר, וְיַלְדָה בְּפָחוֹת, מִכָּאן וָאֵילָךְ אוֹמֶרֶת לוֹ יַלְדָה הֲרֵי אַתָּה כְּבֶן בַּיִת שֵׁב בְּרֹר לְעַצְמְךָ, וְצַרְצוּר יַיִן מֻנָּח אֶצְלָהּ וַעֲדַיִן לֹא נֶאֱסַר יַיִן שֶׁל גּוֹיִם, נַעֲרָה יוֹצְאָה מְקֻשֶּׁטֶת וּמְבֻסֶּמֶת וּמְפַתָּה אוֹתוֹ וְאוֹמֶרֶת לוֹ לָמָּה אָנוּ אוֹהֲבִין אֶתְכֶם וְאַתֶּם שׂוֹנְאִין אוֹתָנוּ, טֹל לְךָ כְּלִי זֶה חִנָּם, הֲלוֹא (בראשית מב, יא): כֻּלָּנוּ בְּנֵי אִישׁ אֶחָד, בְּנֵי תֶּרַח אֲבִי אַבְרָהָם, אֵין אַתֶּם רוֹצִים לֶאֱכֹל מִזִּבְחוֹתֵינוּ וּמִבִּשׁוּלֵינוּ, הֲרֵי לָנוּ עֲגָלִים וְתַרְנְגוֹלִים שַׁחֲטוּ כְּמִצְוַתְכֶם וְאִכְלוּ, מִיָּד מַשְׁקַתּוּ הַיַּיִן וּבוֹעֵר בּוֹ הַשָֹּׂטָן, הָיָה נִשְׂטֶה אַחֲרֶיהָ, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (הושע ד, יא): זְנוּת וְיַיִן וְתִירוֹשׁ יִקַּח לֵב, וְיֵשׁ אוֹמְרִים בִּלְעָם צִוָּה אוֹתָם שֶׁלֹא לְהַשְׁקוֹתָם, שֶׁלֹא יִדּוֹנוּ כִּשְׁתוּיֵי יַיִן אֶלָּא כִּמְזִידִין. כֵּיוָן שֶׁהָיָה תּוֹבְעָהּ אוֹמֶרֶת לוֹ אֵינִי נִשְׁמַעַת לָךְ עַד שֶׁתִּשְׁחַט זֶה לִפְעוֹר וְתִשְׁתַּחֲוֶה לוֹ, וְהוּא אוֹמֵר לַעֲבוֹדַת כּוֹכָבִים אֵינִי מִשְׁתַּחֲוֶה, וְאוֹמֶרֶת לוֹ אֵין אַתָּה אֶלָּא כִּמְגַלֶּה עַצְמְךָ, וְהוּא נִשְׂטֶה אַחֲרֶיהָ וְעוֹשֶׂה כֵן. זוֹ שֶׁאָמְרוּ חֲכָמִים הַפּוֹעֵר עַצְמוֹ לְבַעַל פְּעוֹר זוֹ הִיא עֲבוֹדָתוֹ, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (במדבר כה, ב): וַיִּשְׁתַּחֲווּ לֵאלֹהֵיהֶן, וַיִּצָּמֶד יִשְׂרָאֵל לְבַעַל פְּעוֹר (במדבר כה, ג), בַּתְּחִלָּה הָיוּ נִכְנָסִין בְּצִנְעָה, וּלְבַסּוֹף נִכְנָסִין צְמִידִים צְמִידִים, זוּגוֹת, כְּעִנְיָן שֶׁל צֶמֶד בָּקָר. דָּבָר אַחֵר, כְּאָדָם צָמִיד בִּמְלַאכְתּוֹ, וַיִּצָּמֶד, כִּצְמִידִים עַל יָדֶיהָ, רַבִּי לֵוִי אָמַר זוֹ גְזֵרָה קָשָׁה מִן הָעֵגֶל, דְּאִלּוּ בָּעֵגֶל כְּתִיב (שמות לב, ב): פָּרְקוּ נִזְמֵי הַזָּהָב, וּבְכָאן, וַיִּצָּמֶד, כִּצְמִידִים. בָּעֵגֶל נָפְלוּ שְׁלשֶׁת אֲלָפִים, וְכָאן עֶשְׂרִים וְאַרְבָּעָה אֶלֶף. (במדבר כה, ד): וַיֹּאמֶר ה' אֶל משֶׁה קַח אֶת כָּל רָאשֵׁי הָעָם וְהוֹקַע אֹתָם, רַבִּי יוּדָן אָמַר רָאשֵׁי הָעָם תָּלָה עַל שֶׁלֹא מִיחוּ בִּבְנֵי אָדָם. רַבִּי נְחֶמְיָה אָמַר לֹא תָּלָה רָאשֵׁי הָעָם, אֶלָּא אָמַר לוֹ הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא לְמשֶׁה הוֹשֵׁב לָהֶן רָאשֵׁי סַנְהֶדְרִיּוֹת וְיִהְיוּ דָּנִים כָּל מִי שֶׁהָלַךְ לִפְעוֹר. אָמַר, מִי מוֹדִיעָן, אָמַר לוֹ אֲנִי מְפַרְסְמָן, כָּל מִי שֶׁטָּעָה הֶעָנָן סָר מֵעָלָיו וְהַשֶּׁמֶשׁ זוֹרַחַת עָלָיו בְּתוֹךְ הַקָּהָל, וְיִהְיוּ הַכֹּל יוֹדְעִין מִי שֶׁטָּעָה וְיִתְלוּ אוֹתוֹ, תֵּדַע לְךָ שֶׁהוּא כֵּן (במדבר כה, ה): וַיֹּאמֶר משֶׁה אֶל שֹׁפְטֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל הִרְגוּ אִישׁ אֲנָשָׁיו וגו'. 20.9. 9 (Numb. 22:9) “Then God came unto Balaam and said, ‘Who are these people with you’”: This text is related (to Prov. 28:10), “One who leads the upright astray on an evil course will fall into his own pit.” This refers to Balaam. For at first mortals [behaved] with propriety, but because of his (Balaam's) words, they became [unbridled] in sexual matters. sup14 /supclass=\"footnote\" iSanh /i. 106a.Thus, of former [generations] it is stated (in Gen. 29:9), “Rachel came with the sheep.” And so (in Exod. 2:16), “Now the priest of Midian had seven daughters.” sup15 /supclass=\"footnote\"I.e., although these seven daughters and Rachel were shepherdesses, they had no fear of being alone among males.[But] Balaam the wicked arose and led mortals astray into unchastity. But as he led [others] astray, he [himself] was led astray. By the [very] counsel he gave, he [himself] fell. So the Holy One, blessed be He, led him astray, as stated (in Job 12:23), “He exalts the nations and destroys them.” When [the Holy One, blessed be He,] asked him (in Numb. 22:9), “Who are these people with you,” that wicked one said [to himself,] “He knows nothing about them; It appears to me [that] there are times when [God] does not know. And so I can do all that I want to His children.” That is why [God] said it. In order to lead him astray. (Numb. 22:10), “And Balaam said to God, ‘Balak ben Zippor, [the king of Moab] sent [this message] unto me”: He began to boast and say, “Even though You do not honor me, and You do not put out a good name for me in the world, kings seek me. (Numb. 22:11) “Behold the people has come out of Egypt […]; come now, curse ( iqavah /i) them for me”: [This is] to make known that he (Balaam) hated Israel more than Balak, because (in Numb. 22:6) Balak did not say iqavah(as Balaam claimed he had said in Numb. 22:11) but iarah /i. sup16 /supclass=\"footnote\"Both words mean “curse,” but the former is worse than the latter, because iqavahinvolves the use of the Divine Name.This one (Balaam), however, said (in vs. 11), “curse explicitly ( iqavah /i).” Moreover, while the former (Balak) said (in Numb. 22:6) “And drive them away from the land,” the latter (Balaam) said [simply] (in vs. 11), “and drive them out” [i.e.,] from this world and from the world to come." 20.11. 11 (Numb. 22:20) “Then God came unto Balaam at night”: This text is related (to Job 33:15-17), “In a dream, a vision of the night […]; Then he uncovers a human ear […]; To turn a person from an action and conceal pride from a man.” What is the meaning of “conceal from a man”? The Holy One, blessed be He, hid from him (i.e, from Balaam) that his going (with Balak's messengers) would obliterate him from the world and bring him to the grave.” [To darken (from)] (as in Job 33:30) “Bringing him back from the grave, that he may bask in the light of life,” to destroy his soul in his going. For when someone is going to sin, Satan dances before him until he completes the transgression. As soon as he has transgressed, he returns to inform Him. Thus it is stated (in Prov. 7: 22–23), “Going after her right away, he comes like an ox to the slaughter …. Until an arrow pierces his liver […].” [So] did the Holy One, blessed be He, hide [obliteration] from Balaam, until he had gone and destroyed his soul. After he had taken leave of his honor, had gone and destroyed his soul and realized how he stood, he began to beg for his soul (saying in Numb. 23:10), “let my soul die the death of the righteous.”" 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. " 20.14. ... [T]he Holy One has pity on the honor of the creatures/b’riyot (here meaning “people”) and knows their needs. And He shut the mouth of the beast/b’heimah, for if she would speak, they could not make her serve or stand up to her /bah, for [there was] this silent one from the animals (the ass) and this wise one from the sages (Bil`am) – [and] when she spoke he could not stand up to her." 20.15. 15 (Numb. 22:31) “Then the Lord uncovered the eyes of Balaam and he saw [the angel of the Lord….]”: Was he blind? [These words were] simply to inform him that even the eye is in [God’s] control. (Ibid., cont.) “Then he bowed down and prostrated himself on his face,” because [the angel] had spoken with him. (Numb. 22:32) “And the angel of the Lord said unto him, ‘Why did you strike your she-ass these three times’”: Did the angel come to seek [satisfaction] at his hand for the she-ass? It is simply that he said to him, “Now if for the she-ass, which has neither merit nor a covet from the ancestors, I have been commanded to seek satisfaction from your hand, how much the more so for an entire people that has merit and the covet of the ancestors that you have come to uproot!“ (Numb. 22:32, cont.) “Here I have come out as an adversary ( isatan /i), because your way is contrary ( iyrt /i).” [ iYrtis interpreted as] an acronym [concerning the ass for] iyare'ah(she feared), ira'atah(she saw), inatetah(she turned away). Another interpretation: [The numerical value of] iyrt /i, in the iatbash[scheme] is [equivalent to that of] shield ( imagen /i). (Numb. 22:33) “For the she-ass saw me and turned away from me these three times. If she had not turned away [from me, surely just now I would have killed you] and let her live”: From here you have learned that he killed the ass. (Numb. 22:34) “Then Balaam said unto the angel of the Lord, ‘I have sinned’”: As he was a crafty evildoer. He knew that nothing can withstand divine punishment except for repentance; for whenever anyone sins and says, “I have sinned,” the angel has no authority to touch him. (Ibid.) “Because I did not know; and now, if it is evil in your eyes, I will return.” sup22 /supclass=\"footnote\"This verb can also be rendered as “repent.”He said to him, “I did not go until the Holy One, blessed be He, said to me (in Numb. 22:20), “Arise and go with them”; yet you are saying that I should return! [Indeed] such is His practice! Similarly, did he not tell Abraham to sacrifice his son? Then after that [it is stated (in Gen. 22:11-12)], ‘But the angel of the Lord called [unto him…]. And he said, “Do not raise your hand [against the lad].”’ He is used to saying something, then to have an angel come and reverse it. And now He had said to me, ‘Go with them,’ [but (in vs. 34)] ‘if it is evil in your eyes, I will return.’” (Numb. 22:35) “The angel of the Lord said unto Balaam, ‘Go with the men’”; for your lot is [to be] with them, and your end is to be obliterated from the world. (Ibid., cont.) “So Balaam went with the princes of Balak”: [These words] teach that just as they were happy to curse [Israel], so was he happy. " 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." 20.23. 23 (Numb. 25:1) “The people began to go whoring unto the daughters of Moab.” Come and see what is written in their leaving from Egypt: (In Exodus 14:2,) “Tell the Israelites to turn back and encamp before Pi-Hahiroth (which sounds like liberty, iheiruth /i).” What is the meaning of Pi-Hahiroth? It was a place that was fixed for unchastity. And because they sheltered themselves [from it] in their leaving, it was called Pi-Hahiroth. But these [Moabite women] because they made themselves available to the people, it is written, (in Numb. 25:1), “the people began to go whoring [unto the daughters of Moab].” (Numb. 25:1) “The people began”: Every place that “the people” is mentioned, it is an expression of shame; but every place that “Israel” is mentioned, it is an expression of commendation: (In Numb. 11:1,) “Now the people were as murmurers [speaking evil in the ears of the Lord]”; (in Numb. 21:5,) “So the people spoke against God and against Moses”; (in Numb. 14:1,) “and the people wept on that night”; (in Numb. 14:11), “Until when will the people anger Me”; (in Exod. 32:25,) “And Moses saw that the people were wild”; (in Exod. 32:1,) “and the people gathered together against Aaron”; and similarly in all of them. (Numb. 25:1) “The people began to go whoring.” Throw a stick into the air, sup68 /supclass=\"footnote\"Gk.: iaer./i [and] it falls to its place of origin (i.e., its root). sup69 /supclass=\"footnote\"For this proverb in other contexts, see Gen. R. 53:15; 86:6.The one who had begun with the whoredom at first, finished with it in the end. Their matriarchs (i.e., the matriarchs of Ammon and Moab) began with whoredom (according to Gen. 19:31-34), “And the first-born said to the younger, ‘Let us give our father to drink […].’ So it came to pass on the next day that the first-born said unto the younger […].” She (the first-born) had instructed her in whoredom, and for that reason the Holy One, blessed be He, had pity on the younger and did not expose her. Rather (according to vs. 35), “and she slept with him”; but with reference to the elder, it is written (in vs. 33), “and slept with her father.” sup70 /supclass=\"footnote\"Thus in the case of the elder, her incest was specifically mentioned.In the case of the one who began in whoredom at first, her daughters (i.e., the daughters of Moab) went after her to finish [it, as stated (in Numb. 25:1), “the people began] to go whoring unto the daughters of Moab.” (Numb. 25:2) “And they invited the people to the sacrifices for their gods”: Thus they (i.e., daughters of Moab) were going by the counsel of Balaam, as stated (in Numb. 31:16), “Here these women at the bidding of Balaam made the Children of Israel.” sup71 /supclass=\"footnote\" iySanh.10:2 (28cd); iSanh.106a; iPRE47.They made themselves curtained stalls and installed harlots in them with every object of delight in their hands. Now a girl would have an old woman as an agent, for an old woman would be in front of the shop. During the time that Israel was passing by on the way to the marketplace, the woman would say to him, “Young man, surely you want objects of linen which have come from Beth-Shean!” Then she would show them to him and say to him, “Come inside and you will see fine things”; and when the old woman would tell him a high price, the girl would [give him] a lower one. From then on the girl would tell him, “You are like one of the family. Sit down and choose for yourself.” Now a jug of wine was placed by her, since the wine of gentiles had not yet been forbidden. Then out comes the girl, perfumed and adorned, and seduces him and says to him, “Why do you hate us, when we love you? Take for yourself this article gratis. We all are children of a single man, children of Terah, the father of Abraham. So do you not want to eat from our sacrifices and from our cooking? Here are calves and cocks for you; slaughter them according to your own precepts, and eat.” Immediately she has him drink the wine, and then the Satan burned within him, so that he became a fool for her, as stated (in Hosea 4:11), “Harlotry, wine and young wine sway the heart.” There are also those who say [that] Balaam commanded them not to have them drink the wine, so that they would not be judged as those who are drunk, but as willful sinners. When he sought her out, she said to him, “I am not listening to you until you slaughter it [as a sacrifice] to Peor and bow down to it.” But he would say, “I am not bowing down to idolatry.” And she would say to him, “You only need to reveal yourself to it.” And [since] he had become a fool for her, he would do so. This is what the masters said, “One who reveals himself (to defecate) to Baal Peor – this is its worship” (Sanhedrin 64a). It is so stated (Numb. 25:2), “and they bowed down to their gods.” (Numb. 25:3) “Thus Israel was joined (rt.: itsmd /i) to Baal Peor”: At the beginning, they went in chastely, but at the end they went as many teams of pairs, like a pair ( itsemed /i) of oxen. Another explanation: Like a man tied to his work; joined (rt.: itsmd /i) [to Baal Peor] like bracelets (rt.: itsmd /i). R. Levi said, “This was more serious than the [sin of the golden] calf, for while in reference to the calf, it is written (in Exod. 32:2), ‘Take off the gold rings,’ here [it is written] (in Numb. 25:3), ‘was joined (rt.: itsmd /i) [to Baal Peor,]’ like bracelets (rt.: itsmd /i)]. Because of the calf about three thousand fell, but here (according to Numb. 25:9) [the number fallen is] twenty-four thousand.” (Numb. 25:4) “[…] Take all the heads of the people, and impale them [before the Lord in the sun].” R. Judan said, “He hanged the heads of the people, because they had not protested about the people.” R. Nehemiah said, “He did not hang them. Rather the Holy One, blessed be He, said to Moses, ‘Appoint Sanhedrin sup72 /supclass=\"footnote\" iSanhedraot.Gk. plural: isynhedria./i heads for them, and let them judge whoever went to Peor.’ He said to him, ‘But who will make such a one known?’ The Holy One, blessed be He, said to him, ‘I will expose them. In the case of whoever has gone astray, the cloud shall be peeled back from upon him, and the sun shall shine upon him in the midst of the congregation. Then they will know anyone who has gone astray and hang him.’” You know for yourself that it is so, as stated (in Numb. 25:5), “So Moses said unto the judges of Israel, ‘Each of you kill [those of] his own people [who have been joined to Baal Peor].’”"


Subjects of this text:

subject book bibliographic info
abraham Gruen (2020), Ethnicity in the Ancient World - Did it matter, 154
allegory,allegorical interpretation,philo Potter Suh and Holladay (2021), Hellenistic Jewish Literature and the New Testament: Collected Essays, 224
allegory,allegorical interpretation Potter Suh and Holladay (2021), Hellenistic Jewish Literature and the New Testament: Collected Essays, 224
angels Lester (2018), Prophetic Rivalry, Gender, and Economics: A Study in Revelation and Sibylline Oracles 4-5. 76, 77
apocalypse,the Brodd and Reed (2011), Rome and Religion: A Cross-Disciplinary Dialogue on the Imperial Cult, 142
artapanus Potter Suh and Holladay (2021), Hellenistic Jewish Literature and the New Testament: Collected Essays, 224
babylon/babylonians Gruen (2020), Ethnicity in the Ancient World - Did it matter, 154
balaam Potter Suh and Holladay (2021), Hellenistic Jewish Literature and the New Testament: Collected Essays, 331
bosor Potter Suh and Holladay (2021), Hellenistic Jewish Literature and the New Testament: Collected Essays, 331
chaldea/chaldeans Gruen (2020), Ethnicity in the Ancient World - Did it matter, 154
claudius,roman emperor,expulsion of jews from rome by Feldman (2006), Judaism and Hellenism Reconsidered, 568
conversion/proselytes,and abraham Gruen (2020), Ethnicity in the Ancient World - Did it matter, 154
evil eye Potter Suh and Holladay (2021), Hellenistic Jewish Literature and the New Testament: Collected Essays, 331
greed Lester (2018), Prophetic Rivalry, Gender, and Economics: A Study in Revelation and Sibylline Oracles 4-5. 76, 77
hebrews/israelites,as ethnos or genos Gruen (2020), Ethnicity in the Ancient World - Did it matter, 154
identity as nation or people,not defined by direct lineage in philo Gruen (2020), Ethnicity in the Ancient World - Did it matter, 154
idolatry Brodd and Reed (2011), Rome and Religion: A Cross-Disciplinary Dialogue on the Imperial Cult, 142; Lester (2018), Prophetic Rivalry, Gender, and Economics: A Study in Revelation and Sibylline Oracles 4-5. 77
idols) Lester (2018), Prophetic Rivalry, Gender, and Economics: A Study in Revelation and Sibylline Oracles 4-5. 77
israel Gruen (2020), Ethnicity in the Ancient World - Did it matter, 154
jews/judeans/ioudaioi,and ethnicity in philo Gruen (2020), Ethnicity in the Ancient World - Did it matter, 154
judaism,pneuma (spirit) Potter Suh and Holladay (2021), Hellenistic Jewish Literature and the New Testament: Collected Essays, 224
judaism,spirit of god,divine spirit Potter Suh and Holladay (2021), Hellenistic Jewish Literature and the New Testament: Collected Essays, 224
judaism,spirit of prophecy Potter Suh and Holladay (2021), Hellenistic Jewish Literature and the New Testament: Collected Essays, 224
judaism in egypt,philo of alexandria Potter Suh and Holladay (2021), Hellenistic Jewish Literature and the New Testament: Collected Essays, 224
judaism in egypt Potter Suh and Holladay (2021), Hellenistic Jewish Literature and the New Testament: Collected Essays, 224
judas,death of Potter Suh and Holladay (2021), Hellenistic Jewish Literature and the New Testament: Collected Essays, 331
lineage and genealogy as identity marker,in philo Gruen (2020), Ethnicity in the Ancient World - Did it matter, 154
masculinity Lester (2018), Prophetic Rivalry, Gender, and Economics: A Study in Revelation and Sibylline Oracles 4-5. 77
new testament studies,and interaction between christianity and imperial cult Brodd and Reed (2011), Rome and Religion: A Cross-Disciplinary Dialogue on the Imperial Cult, 142
new testament studies,roman imperial power and Brodd and Reed (2011), Rome and Religion: A Cross-Disciplinary Dialogue on the Imperial Cult, 142
philo Gruen (2020), Ethnicity in the Ancient World - Did it matter, 154
philo of alexandria,anthropology summarized Potter Suh and Holladay (2021), Hellenistic Jewish Literature and the New Testament: Collected Essays, 224
philo of alexandria Potter Suh and Holladay (2021), Hellenistic Jewish Literature and the New Testament: Collected Essays, 224, 331
responses to imperial cults,revelation,book of' Brodd and Reed (2011), Rome and Religion: A Cross-Disciplinary Dialogue on the Imperial Cult, 142
reward of unrighteousness Potter Suh and Holladay (2021), Hellenistic Jewish Literature and the New Testament: Collected Essays, 331
roman empire,and imperial cult Brodd and Reed (2011), Rome and Religion: A Cross-Disciplinary Dialogue on the Imperial Cult, 142
roman empire,new testament evidence of Brodd and Reed (2011), Rome and Religion: A Cross-Disciplinary Dialogue on the Imperial Cult, 142
septuagint,lukes use Potter Suh and Holladay (2021), Hellenistic Jewish Literature and the New Testament: Collected Essays, 331
sophistry Lester (2018), Prophetic Rivalry, Gender, and Economics: A Study in Revelation and Sibylline Oracles 4-5. 77
spirit,philo of alexandria Potter Suh and Holladay (2021), Hellenistic Jewish Literature and the New Testament: Collected Essays, 224
spirit Lester (2018), Prophetic Rivalry, Gender, and Economics: A Study in Revelation and Sibylline Oracles 4-5. 76, 77
violence,divine violence Lester (2018), Prophetic Rivalry, Gender, and Economics: A Study in Revelation and Sibylline Oracles 4-5. 77
violence Lester (2018), Prophetic Rivalry, Gender, and Economics: A Study in Revelation and Sibylline Oracles 4-5. 77
worship/ritual/cult as identity markers,for jews in philo Gruen (2020), Ethnicity in the Ancient World - Did it matter, 154