Commentary on Parashat Balak, Numbers 22:2 - 25:9
1. Give two reasons why Moab was so afraid of Israel.
2. What was Balak’s tribe and with which other tribe did he align himself?
3. When he sent messengers to fetch Balaam, what was Balak asking Balaam to do?
4. When God first came to Balaam in the night, what did He tell him to do?
5. What did Balaam’s ass see as they rode along the way?
6. The ass tried to get the message to Balaam three different ways before she finally spoke. What were the three ways?
7. Balaam had struck the ass several times, and finally the ass asked him why. What did Balaam give as his reason?
8. At Balaam’s instructions, Balak built altars for sacrifices. How many times did he do this and how many altars were there?
9. What did Balak sacrifice on each altar?
10. What did Balaam say and do after each set of sacrifices?
11. When the Israelites began to live with the Midianites, they started taking on their evil ways. A Midianite woman and an Israelite man were cavorting in front of all. For this, and other gross sins committed by the people, many were put to death by a plague. Who saved them and how?
1. Moab was afraid of the Israelites because they saw (heard) what Israel had done to the Amorites and because Israel was so numerous (22:2-3).
2. Balak’s tribe was Moab and he also aligned himself with Midian (22:4).
3. He was asking Balaam to curse the Israelites (22:5-6).
4. God told him, “Thou shalt not go with them; thou shalt not curse the people, for they are blessed” (22:12).
5. Balaam’s ass saw an angel of God with a sword drawn in his hand (22:23).
6. The ass veered off into the field, crushed Balaam’s foot against the wall, and lay down under Balaam (22:22-27).
7. Balaam said the ass had mocked him and if he had had a sword, he would have killed her (22:29).
8. Balak built altars three times and there were 21 altars (23:1, 14, 29).
9. A bullock and a ram (23:1, 14, 29).
10. He said he was going to go and confer with God to see what he should do (22: 3, 15).
11. Pinhas ben Eleazer saved them. He was the grandson of Aaron and he speared the man and woman who were sleeping together with one blow (25:5-9).
Provided by special arrangement with the Pardes Institute of Jewish Studies.