בלק

This week’s parsha deals with the nation of Moav and their reaction to the recent military successes of the Israelites against their neighbours.  The king of MoavBalak, urges his local prophet Bil’am to curse the Israelites so that they will not conquer Moav as well.  However, in an extremely strong narrative of monotheism, Bil’am listens to Hashem, to whom he looks for guidance in his own work as a prophet, and Hashem tells him not to (initially).  Bil’am then relays this message to Balak via ministers.  The ministers report that Bil’am refused to come to the king, without mentioning anything about the fact that Hashem had told Bil’am not to go.  The Rashbam comments (22:14) that the comment of the ministers was meant to convey the undertone that Bil’am would not come because he thought too lowly of us (ministers).  This reading is supported by the actions of Balak in the next verse, as he sends more numerous and more honoured ministers to persuade Bil’am.  The question remains, however: why did the first ministers not simply tell the king that Hashem did not wish to allow the Israelites to be cursed, and that is why Bil’am would not come?

The truth is just that

God will not allow Bil’am

To curse Israel

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