Numbers 22–23: On Balak’s Ominous Cough, Balaam’s Greedy Perseverance, and the Beleaguered People of God (Bible Talk, Episode 50)

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The story of Balaam and Balak raises an all-important question: “What will win out—the might of Moab or the promises of God?”

In this episode of Bible Talk, Alex Duke chats with Sam Emadi and Jim Hamilton about Numbers 22–23.


1:41 / Who is Balak? What’s his job?

3:09 / Balak/Moab is nervous about Israel’s close camping, so what idea does he get?

4:22 / Why is Balak’s idea not smart?

6:24 / Who is Balaam?

8:18 / What happens when Balaam and Balak first talk?

9:25 / How does Balak switch his strategy to persuade Balaam to curse Israel after an initial “no?”

10:07 / What happens in the second conversation between the Lord and Balaam?

11:54 / Why is the Lord’s anger kindled against Balaam? What does the Lord then do?

14:06 / What lesson does God want to teach Balaam? And what’s comedic about it?

18:07 / Balaam doesn’t seemed even slightly shocked his donkey starts talking to him. What would you say to someone who thinks we should read this as a fairy tale?

20:23 / What do we see in Balaam’s first oracle to Balak?

24:50 / How does Balaam’s second oracle compare?

29:53 / What’s the big idea of this story?

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Painting: Balaam and the Ass, Rembrandt (1626)

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