Numbers 22 Commentary

Numbers 22 Commentary

Location? Plains of Moab, along the Jordan and overlooking Jericho.

Moab had been defeated by Sihon, King of the Amorites. When Moab heard that the conqueror of their conqueror was approaching, fear gripped them. A solution must be found very quickly. So Balaam comes into the picture.

Now Balak was king of Moab at the time while Balaam is thought to have been a false prophet who lived by divination. Balak sought the services of this witch doctor to put a curse on Israel in order to save his country. Both Balak and the Midianite leaders thought Balaam possessed powers to bless or curse. So the mission to see Balaam had one purpose – curse Israel so that Moab can win the military battle against Israel.

This chapter has strange occurrences, none stranger than the donkey speaking to Balaam. The LORD speaking to Balaam is just as strange. We pick a couple of items from this chapter. The LORD prevails over all – including animals and bad prophets. Balaam’s wanting to ask the LORD over a matter that the LORD had made very clear at the very beginning is instructive. It reveals man’s tendency to begin to entertain doubt as to what the LORD’S word means even when we know very well what it means. It is done in the hope that perhaps the LORD would bend and allow us to have our way.

And so here the LORD does bend but the reason is for purposes greater and wider in scope than the immediate Balaam vanities. It is a case of the LORD drawing out jewelry out of Balaam’s mud.

Balaam eventually meets Balak but Balaam isn’t the same man Balak had expected. He would only say what the LORD orders him to say. The chapter of extremes explains itself. As the LORD had used the donkey to speak to Balaam so the LORD would use a witchdoctor to communicate His eternal word. Indeed it is through these interactions with Balaam that these lines are credited with some of the greatest and deepest universal declarations about the nature of the LORD, God Almighty.

This chapter has immerse value today as it unpacks for us backstage details of the underworld. There is a world out there that meets and schemes to destabilize and derail the saint. Unknown to the community of God’s people down the valley, things are happening behind the scenes that eventually define their destiny. The LORD provides the required protection and the community is saved. We actually just don’t know; the LORD is putting in a full shift to ensure that you wake up every morning and get by without being hurt by determined evil forces around us.

More resources visit

Published by Joseph Malekani

Joseph Malekani is a born-again Christian with a strong PAOG/Baptist background. He is heavily involved in student ministry with ZAFES – an IFES movement with focus on student ministry in Zambia. He is married to Audrey and they have two lovely children.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: