Please elaborate on what is going on in the Bible's book of Numbers Chapter 22-24. I read it and could not make sense of it.  What is the symbolism, what is literally going on here, are there multiple views?

Expert Answers

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These chapters deal with Balaam and Balak. Balak is a king and he is afraid of the growing power of the Israelites. So, he want to make a preemptive move. So, he hires the prophet Balaam to curse the Israelites. Balaam is happy to do so to make some quick money. While he is on the way, his donkey will not move. So, he hits his donkey. The donkey will still not go forward. The reason for this is because the donkey is able to see something that Balaam is not able to see, namely, an angel with a sword.

Balaam's eyes are finally opened and the angel says that he is on a dangerous mission. Balaam must only speak the words that God gives to him. So, he goes.

Finally, Balaam opens his mouth and offers four oracles and each of them blesses the Israelites. Balak is obviously furious, but Balaam says that he could do nothing else, because these were the words of God.

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