Student Teaching in the New Millenium

Balak Seeing and Moab Fearing

In General on July 7, 2012 at 6:00 pm

And Balak the son of Zippor saw all that Israel had done to the Amorites. And Moab was sore afraid of the people, because they were many; and Moab was overcome with dread because of the children of Israel.

Bamidbar 22.2-3

How could Balak “see” all the Israel had done to the Amorites?

Did Balak see only the episode with Sihon and the Amorites? Or did he see what happened to Og too?

Who are these “people”? What is the difference between these “people” and the “children of Israel?”

Why does the text say “Balak…saw…And Moab was…afraid?” Was Balak afraid too? Or not?

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  1. I’m not understanding. The King of Moab ‘sees’ (ie gets reports) and his people are afraid. Because it doesn’t say he’s afraid too, he might not be?

    I don’t see anything except two lines refering to the same people in two ways…

    For me, the interesting part starts when Balak calls in the cheerleaders…

  2. Some commentators suggest that Balak wasn’t king until it said “Now Balak was king etc. etc.” after consulting with the elders of Midian, who made him a vassal “king.” Considering this, is Balak even a Moabite, or a Midianite?

    Did Balak act out of fear? Or did he make a conscious, proactive decision?

    It becomes a question about who is responsible for what is about the take place, and why.

  3. “There’s this inconvenient people coming; we’d better call in a professional people-removal service?” Starting with hiring a king, to coordinate the defense? In which case the king in question might not be personally concerned?

    Another thing about this… These Moabites aren’t Canaanites? If I’ve got that part right, they might not want a multitude of foreigners passing through, but they don’t necessarily need to prevent it. How many multitudes do they expect to come trudging all the way from Egypt, just to annoy them?

    • Balak saw what the Israelites did, but did not see what the Amorites did to them? Willfully or not? The Moabites were afraid that Israel would consume their livlihood (as the ox licketh up the grass of the field). Two possibilities I see: Balak was afraid, or Balak was a warrior.

      The decision to consult Midian: strength in numbers or a strategic decision? Moses was “trained” there.

      Was Moab a Canaanite nation? Nope. Moab descends from Lot, Abrahams nephew. They all descend from Noah from Shem. The seven Canaanite nations descend from Canaan son of Ham son of Noah.

    • Or, Balak had entirely other motives.

  4. Nothing like a family feud. Judah and Isreal, later. Then Judea & Samaria. So when do we get to this professional cursing service… & why so much animosity when he doesn’t even do it: “Sorry, I tried, but blessings came out.”

    • Pretty much. At the end of the day, we all engage in this creative process, so we ultimately come from the same place…imagination.

      A professional screams at his ass.

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