Balak

Numbers 22:2 – 25:9: Haftarah: Micah 5:6 – 6:8

External Sources

(Num 22:21) Irenaeus of Lyons – Fragments XXIII

“And he mounted upon his ass.” The ass was the type of the body of Christ, upon whom all men, resting from their labours, are borne as in a chariot. For the Saviour has taken up the burden of our sins. Now the angel who appeared to Balaam was the Word Himself; and in His hand He held a sword, to indicate the power which He had from above.

(Nu 23:10) St. Ambrose –  On His Brother Satyrus 2.43
You have caused me, my brother, not to fear death, and I only would that my life might die with yours! This Balaam wished for as the greatest good for himself, when, inspired by the spirit of prophecy, he said, “Let my soul die in the souls of the righteous, and let my seed be like the seed of them.” And in truth he wished this according to the spirit of prophecy, for as he saw the rising of Christ, so also he saw his triumph; he saw his death but saw also in him the everlasting resurrection of humanity and therefore feared not to die as he was to rise again. Let not then my soul die in sin or admit sin into itself, but let it die in the soul of the righteous, that it may receive his righteousness. Then too, he who dies in Christ is made a partaker of his grace in the font.
(Nu 24:8) Eusebius – Proof of the Gospel 8.3
The oracle in the previously quoted prophecy,1 in saying that the Lord would come into Egypt, foretold the journey of our Lord Jesus Christ when he went into Egypt with his parents. Here we have the prophecy of his return from Egypt in its natural order, when he came back with his parents into the land of Israel, in the words “God led him out of Egypt.” For our Lord and Savior Jesus, the Christ of God, was the only one of the seed of Israel and of the Jewish race who has rule over many nations, so that it is indisputable that he is the fulfillment of the prophecy which says, literally, “that a man will come from the Jewish race and rule over many nations.” If he is not, let him who will suggest some other famous man among the Hebrews who has ruled over many nations. But this he cannot do, for such a man never existed. But with regard to our Savior, truth itself will shout and cry aloud, even if we say nothing. This shows plainly that his divine power has ruled, through the human he took of the seed of Israel according to the flesh, and even now will rule many nations.
(Num 24:25) Josephus Antiqities 4:126-130
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, 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; 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. 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,d 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; and when they see that they are enamored of them, let them take their leaves; and if they entreat them to stay, let them not give their consent till they have persuaded them to leave off their obedience to their own laws and the worship of that God who established them, and to worship the gods of the Midianites and Moabites; for by this means God will be angry at them.”e Accordingly, when Balaam had suggested this counsel to them, he went his way.
Sibylline Oracles 5:335-364
335 But when the Persian land shall keep away
From war and plague and groaning, in that day
A race divine of blessed heavenly Jews
Shall offer prayer, who shall dwell round about
God’s city in mid portions of the land,
340 And even as far as Joppa building round
A great wall they shall carry it aloft
Unto the gloomy clouds. No more shall trump
Sound battle–din nor by a foe’s mad hands
Shall they be cut off; but they shall set up
345 Their trophies for an age of evil men.
And one shall come again from heaven, a man
Preeminent, whose hands on fruitful tree
By far the noblest of the Hebrews stretched,
Who at one time did make the sun stand still
350 When he spoke with fair word and holy lips,
No longer vex thy soul within thy breast
By reason of the sword, rich child of God,
Flower longed for by him only, goodly light
And noble branch, a scion much beloved,
355 Pleasant Judea, city beautiful,
Inspired by hymns. No more shall unclean foot
Of Greeks keep revel round about thy land,
Who held within their breast a lawless mind;
But thee shall glorious children honor much
360 [And be expert in songs and holy tongues],
With sacrifices of all kinds and prayers
Honored of God. All who endure the toils
Of small affliction and the just shall have
More that is altogether beautiful;

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