The Meaning of Balaam’s Story in the Bible

The story of Baalam is used as a warning to God's people. Peter 2:15-16 (KJV)

In the old covenant, during the time the children of Israel wandered in the wilderness, one particular circumstance is spoken of in the book of Numbers, chapter 22. It is the story of Balaam, a man of God who lost out with God by falling prey to the temptations of riches and honor offered by the heathen king Balak.

This story is used as a means of warning and as a caution for God’s people in many later passages throughout the Bible.

II Peter 2:15-16 (KJV)
2:15 Which have forsaken the right way, and are gone astray, following the way of Balaam [the son] of Bosor, who loved the wages of unrighteousness;
2:16 But was rebuked for his iniquity: the dumb ass speaking with man’s voice forbad the madness of the prophet.

What does Balaam’s “talking ass” (donkey) symbolize or mean? How does this story tie in with the “ox” and the “ass” symbols, and with being unequally yoked together?

Beyond the miraculous talking donkey, there is an immense amount of detail in Balaam’s story. For example, what does it symbolize when Balaam smashes his foot against the wall? What’s the significance of the two servants that were with Balaam? Why did God let Balaam go, even though it wasn’t His will?

If we are not careful, we are at risk of forsaking the right way and following the way of Balaam. What is the right way? How can we refrain from forsaking the right way?

The inspiring answers to these questions (and many more) are available to us in this study on the story of Balaam.

Read: Forsaking the Right Way

 

See Also:

An Ancient Story, Revisited – a video Bible study
The story of the prodigal son has some similarities to Balaam’s story, but there is also a BIG difference: the prodigal made it back to the “Father’s house”, whereas Balaam did not.

Parable of the Sower – Part 1
Our Parable of the Sower series of video presentations expounds on the four types of ground in Jesus’ parable. Balaam is an example of “thorny ground” – someone who loses out with God because of “cares and riches and pleasures of this life” (Luke 8:14).

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