A DONKEY displayed more discernment and wisdom than a man whose fame as a seer and prophet was renowned in the Jordan River valley for centuries.
This week, we begin the story of Balaam son of Beor, hired by the Balak, the king of Moab, to curse Israel. We discuss God’s warning to Balaam, the identity of the Angel of YHWH, Balak’s changes of venue as he tried to find a more effective place for Balaam to cast his curse, and the Deir Alla inscription, which is solid evidence from outside the Bible that Balaam was a real person.
IT’S EASY to criticize the Hebrews of Moses’ day for their lack of faith. After all, hadn’t they seen the plagues that compelled Egypt to let them go, the parting of the Red Sea, and the manna that miraculously appeared six days a week?
We’re not in their shoes. When we take a good, hard look at ourselves, we see that we’re not all that different.
This week, we discuss that complaints of the Israelites that provoked God into sending so much quail to eat that it became “loathsome” to them, followed by “a very great plague.”
CONDEMNATION AND promise are the themes of Jeremiah’s prophecy against Judah in this week’s study. We discuss the coming punishment of the rebellious kingdom of Judah, which was just a few years away from being invaded by Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon, turning Jerusalem into a “lair of jackals” (or “dragons”), God’s decree that “the gods who did not make the heavens and the earth shall perish,” and His promise that Judah and the nations of the earth would be restored if they turned back to Him.
We also review the significance of the Tophet Jeremiah mentioned in chapter 7 and its relevance to the gods allotted to the nations by Yahweh after the Tower of Babel incident (see Deuteronomy 32:8-9 and 4:19-20).