Joshua 13:22 Balaam also the son of Beor, the soothsayer, did the children of Israel slay with the sword among them that were slain by them.
Scriptures About Balaam Called A Soothsayer
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lord of the people; foreigner or glutton, as interpreted by others, the son of Beor, was a man of some rank among the Midianites (Num. 31:8; compare 16). He resided at Pethor (Deut. 23:4), in Mesopotamia (Num. 23:7). It is evident that though dwelling among idolaters he had some knowledge of the true God; and was held in such reputation that it was supposed that he whom he blessed was blessed, and he whom he cursed was cursed. When the Israelites were encamped on the plains of Moab, on the east of Jordan, by Jericho, Balak sent for Balaam "from Aram, out of the mountains of the east," to curse them; but by the remarkable interposition of God he was utterly unable to fulfil Balak's wish, however desirous he was to do so. The apostle Peter refers (2 Pet. 2:15, 16) to this as an historical event. In Micah 6:5 reference also is made to the relations between Balaam and Balak. Though Balaam could not curse Israel, yet he suggested a mode by which the divine displeasure might be caused to descend upon them (Num. 25). In a battle between Israel and the Midianites (q.v.) Balaam was slain while fighting on the side of Balak (Num. 31:8). The "doctrine of Balaam" is spoken of in Rev. 2:14, in allusion to the fact that it was through the teaching of Balaam that Balak learned the way by which the Israelites might be led into sin. (See NICOLAITANES T0002725.) Balaam was constrained to utter prophecies regarding the future of Israel of wonderful magnificence and beauty of expression (Num. 24:5-9, 17).
Zophim, Field of
field of watchers, a place in Moab on the range of Pisgah (Num. 23:14). To this place Balak brought Balaam, that he might from thence curse the children of Israel. Balaam could only speak the word of the Lord, and that was blessing. It is the modern Tal'at-es-Safa. (See PISGAH T0002962.)
the Chaldee or Aramaic form of the name Beor, the father of Balaam (2 Pet. 2:15).
a torch. (1.) The father of Bela, one of the kings of Edom (Gen. 36:32). (2.) The father of Balaam (Num. 22:5; 24:3, 15; 31:8). In 2 Pet. 2:15 he is called Bosor.
empty; spoiler, a son of Zippor, and king of the Moabites (Num. 22:2, 4). From fear of the Israelites, who were encamped near the confines of his territory, he applied to Balaam (q.v.) to curse them; but in vain (Josh. 24:9).
opening. (1.) A mountain peak (Num. 23:28) to which Balak led Balaam as a last effort to induce him to pronounce a curse upon Israel. When he looked on the tribes encamped in the acacia groves below him, he could not refrain from giving utterance to a remarkable benediction (24:1-9). Balak was more than ever enraged at Balaam, and bade him flee for his life. But before he went he gave expression to that wonderful prediction regarding the future of this mysterious people, whose "goodly tents" were spread out before him, and the coming of a "Star" out of Jacob and a "Sceptre" out of Israel (24:14-17). (2.) A Moabite divinity, called also "Baal-peor" (Num. 25:3, 5, 18; compare Deut. 3:29).
interpretation of dreams, identified with Pitru, on the west bank of the Euphrates, a few miles south of the Hittite capital of Carchemish (Num. 22:5, "which is by the river of the land of the children of [the god] Ammo"). (See BALAAM T0000421.)
city of streets, Num. 22:39, a Moabite city, which some identify with Kirjathaim. Balak here received and entertained Balaam, whom he had invited from Pethor, among the "mountains of the east," beyond the Euphrates, to lay his ban upon the Israelites, whose progress he had no hope otherwise of arresting. It was probably from the summit of Attarus, the high place near the city, that the soothsayer first saw the encampments of Israel.
flame, the usual title of the Amalekite kings, as "Pharaoh" was of the Egyptian. (1.) A king of the Amalekites referred to by Balaam (Num. 24:7). He lived at the time of the Exodus. (2.) Another king of the Amalekites whom Saul spared unlawfully, but whom Samuel on his arrival in the camp of Saul ordered, in retributive justice (Judg. 1), to be brought out and cut in pieces (1 Sam. 15:8-33. Compare Ex. 17:11; Num. 14:45).
the chief city of Mysia, in Asia Minor. One of the "seven churches" was planted here (Rev. 1:11; 2:17). It was noted for its wickedness, insomuch that our Lord says "Satan's seat" was there. The church of Pergamos was rebuked for swerving from the truth and embracing the doctrines of Balaam and the Nicolaitanes. Antipas, Christ's "faithful martyr," here sealed his testimony with his blood. This city stood on the banks of the river Caicus, about 20 miles from the sea. It is now called Bergama, and has a population of some twenty thousand, of whom about two thousand profess to be Christians. Parchment (q.v.) was first made here, and was called by the Greeks pergamene, from the name of the city.
early used in foreign commerce by the Phoenicians (Gen. 49:13). Moses (Deut. 28:68) and Job (9:26) make reference to them, and Balaam speaks of the "ships of Chittim" (Num. 24:24). Solomon constructed a navy at Ezion-geber by the assistance of Hiram's sailors (1 Kings 9:26-28; 2 Chr. 8:18). Afterwards, Jehoshaphat sought to provide himself with a navy at the same port, but his ships appear to have been wrecked before they set sail (1 Kings 22:48, 49; 2 Chr. 20:35-37). In our Lord's time fishermen's boats on the Sea of Galilee were called "ships." Much may be learned regarding the construction of ancient merchant ships and navigation from the record in Acts 27, 28.
(1.) The rendering of Hebrew "latim" or "lehatim", which means "something covered," "muffled up;" secret arts, tricks (Ex. 7:11, 22; 8:7, 18), by which the Egyptian magicians imposed on the credulity of Pharaoh. (2.) The rendering of the Hebrew "keshaphim", "muttered spells" or "incantations," rendered "sorceries" in Isa. 47:9, 12, i.e., the using of certain formulae under the belief that men could thus be bound. (3.) Hebrew "lehashim", "charming," as of serpents (Jer. 8:17; compare Ps. 58:5). (4.) Hebrew "nehashim", the enchantments or omens used by Balaam (Num. 24:1); his endeavouring to gain omens favourable to his design. (5.) Hebrew "heber" (Isa. 47:9, 12), "magical spells." All kinds of enchantments were condemned by the Mosaic law (Lev. 19:26; Deut. 18:10-12). (See DIVINATION T0001047.)
or Kittim, a plural form (Gen. 10:4), the name of a branch of the descendants of Javan, the "son" of Japheth. Balaam foretold (Num. 24:24) "that ships shall come from the coast of Chittim, and afflict Eber." Daniel prophesied (11:30) that the ships of Chittim would come against the king of the north. It probably denotes Cyprus, whose ancient capital was called Kition by the Greeks. The references elsewhere made to Chittim (Isa. 23:1, 12; Jer. 2:10; Ezek. 27:6) are to be explained on the ground that while the name originally designated the Phoenicians only, it came latterly to be used of all the islands and various settlements on the sea-coasts which they had occupied, and then of the people who succeeded them when the Phoenician power decayed. Hence it designates generally the islands and coasts of the Mediterranean and the races that inhabit them.
an Arabian tribe descended from Midian. They inhabited principally the desert north of the peninsula of Arabia. The peninsula of Sinai was the pasture-ground for their flocks. They were virtually the rulers of Arabia, being the dominant tribe. Like all Arabians, they were a nomad people. They early engaged in commercial pursuits. It was to one of their caravans that Joseph was sold (Gen. 37:28, 36). The next notice of them is in connection with Moses' flight from Egypt (Ex. 2:15-21). Here in Midian Moses became the servant and afterwards the son-in-law of Reuel or Jethro, the priest. After the Exodus, the Midianites were friendly to the Israelites so long as they traversed only their outlying pasture-ground on the west of the Arabah; but when, having passed the southern end of Edom, they entered into the land of Midian proper, they joined with Balak, the king of Moab, in a conspiracy against them (Num. 22:4-7). Balaam, who had been sent for to curse Israel, having utterly failed to do so, was dismissed by the king of Moab; nevertheless he still tarried among the Midianites, and induced them to enter into correspondence with the Israelites, so as to bring them into association with them in the licentious orgies connected with the worship of Baal-Peor. This crafty counsel prevailed. The Israelites took part in the heathen festival, and so brought upon themselves a curse indeed. Their apostasy brought upon them a severe punishment. A plague broke out amongst them, and more than twenty-four thousand of the people perished (Num. 25:9). But the Midianites were not to be left unpunished. A terrible vengeance was denounced against them. A thousand warriors from each tribe, under the leadership of Phinehas, went forth against them. The Midianites were utterly routed. Their cities were consumed by fire, five of their kings were put to death, and the whole nation was destroyed (Josh. 13:21, 22). Balaam also perished by the sword, receiving the "wages of his unrighteousness" (Num. 31:8; 2 Pet. 2:15). The whole of the country on the east of Jordan, now conquered by the Israelites (see SIHON T0003427; OG T0002771), was divided between the two tribes of Reuben and Gad and the half tribe of Manasseh. Some two hundred and fifty years after this the Midianites had regained their ancient power, and in confederation with the Amalekites and the "children of the east" they made war against their old enemies the Israelites, whom for seven years they oppressed and held in subjection. They were at length assailed by Gideon in that ever-memorable battle in the great plain of Esdraelon, and utterly destroyed (Judg. 6:1-ch. 7). Frequent allusions are afterwards made to this great victory (Ps. 83:10, 12; Isa. 9:4; 10:6). They now wholly pass away from the page of history both sacred and profane.
proclaimer; prophet. (1.) A Chaldean god whose worship was introduced into Assyria by Pul (Isa. 46:1; Jer. 48:1). To this idol was dedicated the great temple whose ruins are still seen at Birs Nimrud. A statue of Nebo found at Calah, where it was set up by Pul, king of Assyria, is now in the British Museum. (2.) A mountain in the land of Moab from which Moses looked for the first and the last time on the Promised Land (Deut. 32:49; 34:1). It has been identified with Jebel Nebah, on the eastern shore of the Dead Sea, near its northern end, and about 5 miles south-west of Heshbon. It was the summit of the ridge of Pisgah (q.v.), which was a part of the range of the "mountains of Abarim." It is about 2,643 feet in height, but from its position it commands a view of Western Israel. Close below it are the plains of Moab, where Balaam, and afterwards Moses, saw the tents of Israel spread along. (3.) A town on the east of Jordan which was taken possession of and rebuilt by the tribe of Reuben (Num. 32:3,38; 1 Chr. 5:8). It was about 8 miles south of Heshbon. (4.) The "children of Nebo" (Ezra 2:29; Neh. 7:33) were of those who returned from Babylon. It was a town in Benjamin, probably the modern Beit Nubah, about 7 miles north-west of Hebron.
the usual name of the descendants of Ammon, the son of Lot (Gen. 19:38). From the very beginning (Deut. 2:16-20) of their history till they are lost sight of (Judg. 5:2), this tribe is closely associated with the Moabites (Judg. 10:11; 2 Chr. 20:1; Zeph. 2:8). Both of these tribes hired Balaam to curse Israel (Deut. 23:4). The Ammonites were probably more of a predatory tribe, moving from place to place, while the Moabites were more settled. They inhabited the country east of the Jordan and north of Moab and the Dead Sea, from which they had expelled the Zamzummims or Zuzims (Deut. 2:20; Gen. 14:5). They are known as the Beni-ammi (Gen. 19:38), Ammi or Ammon being worshipped as their chief god. They were of Semitic origin, and closely related to the Hebrews in blood and language. They showed no kindness to the Israelites when passing through their territory, and therefore they were prohibited from "entering the congregation of the Lord to the tenth generation" (Deut. 23:3). They afterwards became hostile to Israel (Judg. 3:13). Jephthah waged war against them, and "took twenty cities with a very great slaughter" (Judg. 11:33). They were again signally defeated by Saul (1 Sam. 11:11). David also defeated them and their allies the Syrians (2 Sam. 10:6-14), and took their chief city, Rabbah, with much spoil (2 Sam. 10:14; 12:26-31). The subsequent events of their history are noted in 2 Chr. 20:25; 26:8; Jer. 49:1; Ezek. 25:3, 6. One of Solomon's wives was Naamah, an Ammonite. She was the mother of Rehoboam (1 Kings 14:31; 2 Chr. 12:13). The prophets predicted fearful judgments against the Ammonites because of their hostility to Israel (Zeph. 2:8; Jer. 49:1-6; Ezek. 25:1-5, 10; Amos 1:13-15). The national idol worshipped by this people was Molech or Milcom, at whose altar they offered human sacrifices (1 Kings 11:5, 7). The high places built for this idol by Solomon, at the instigation of his Ammonitish wives, were not destroyed till the time of Josiah (2 Kings 23:13).
frequently mentioned throughout Scripture. Of the domesticated species we read of, (1.) The she ass (Heb. 'athon), so named from its slowness (Gen. 12:16; 45:23; Num. 22:23; 1 Sam. 9:3). (2.) The male ass (Heb. hamor), the common working ass of Western Asia, so called from its red colour. Issachar is compared to a strong ass (Gen. 49:14). It was forbidden to yoke together an ass and an ox in the plough (Deut. 22:10). (3.) The ass's colt (Heb. 'air), mentioned Judg. 10:4; 12:14. It is rendered "foal" in Gen. 32:15; 49:11. (Compare Job 11:12; Isa. 30:6.) The ass is an unclean animal, because it does not chew the cud (Lev. 11:26. Compare 2 Kings 6:25). Asses constituted a considerable portion of wealth in ancient times (Gen. 12:16; 30:43; 1 Chr. 27:30; Job 1:3; 42:12). They were noted for their spirit and their attachment to their master (Isa. 1:3). They are frequently spoken of as having been ridden upon, as by Abraham (Gen. 22:3), Balaam (Num. 22:21), the disobedient prophet (1 Kings 13:23), the family of Abdon the judge, seventy in number (Judg. 12:14), Zipporah (Ex. 4:20), the Shunammite (1 Sam. 25:30), etc. Zechariah (9:9) predicted our Lord's triumphal entrance into Jerusalem, "riding upon an ass, and upon a colt," etc. (Matt. 21:5, R.V.). Of wild asses two species are noticed, (1) that called in Hebrew "'arod", mentioned Job 39:5 and Dan. 5:21, noted for its swiftness; and (2) that called "pe're", the wild ass of Asia (Job 39:6-8; 6:5; 11:12; Isa. 32:14; Jer. 2:24; 14:6, etc.). The wild ass was distinguished for its fleetness and its extreme shyness. In allusion to his mode of life, Ishmael is likened to a wild ass (Gen. 16:12. Here the word is simply rendered "wild" in the Authorized Version, but in the Revised Version, "wild-ass among men").
a possession; a spear. (1.) The first-born son of Adam and Eve (Gen. 4). He became a tiller of the ground, as his brother Abel followed the pursuits of pastoral life. He was "a sullen, self-willed, haughty, vindictive man; wanting the religious element in his character, and defiant even in his attitude towards God." It came to pass "in process of time" (marg. "at the end of days"), i.e., probably on the Sabbath, that the two brothers presented their offerings to the Lord. Abel's offering was of the "firstlings of his flock and of the fat," while Cain's was "of the fruit of the ground." Abel's sacrifice was "more excellent" (Heb. 11:4) than Cain's, and was accepted by God. On this account Cain was "very wroth," and cherished feelings of murderous hatred against his brother, and was at length guilty of the desperate outrage of putting him to death (1 John 3:12). For this crime he was expelled from Eden, and henceforth led the life of an exile, bearing upon him some mark which God had set upon him in answer to his own cry for mercy, so that thereby he might be protected from the wrath of his fellow-men; or it may be that God only gave him some sign to assure him that he would not be slain (Gen. 4:15). Doomed to be a wanderer and a fugitive in the earth, he went forth into the "land of Nod", i.e., the land of "exile", which is said to have been in the "east of Eden," and there he built a city, the first we read of, and called it after his son's name, Enoch. His descendants are enumerated to the sixth generation. They gradually degenerated in their moral and spiritual condition till they became wholly corrupt before God. This corruption prevailed, and at length the Deluge was sent by God to prevent the final triumph of evil. (See ABEL T0000015.) (2.) A town of the Kenites, a branch of the Midianites (Josh. 15:57), on the east edge of the mountain above Engedi; probably the "nest in a rock" mentioned by Balaam (Num. 24:21). It is identified with the modern Yekin, 3 miles south-east of Hebron.
the designation of a tribe descended from Moab, the son of Lot (Gen. 19:37). From Zoar, the cradle of this tribe, on the south-eastern border of the Dead Sea, they gradually spread over the region on the east of Jordan. Rameses II., the Pharaoh of the Oppression, enumerates Moab (Muab) among his conquests. Shortly before the Exodus, the warlike Amorites crossed the Jordan under Sihon their king and drove the Moabites (Num. 21:26-30) out of the region between the Arnon and the Jabbok, and occupied it, making Heshbon their capital. They were then confined to the territory to the south of the Arnon. On their journey the Israelites did not pass through Moab, but through the "wilderness" to the east (Deut. 2:8; Judg. 11:18), at length reaching the country to the north of the Arnon. Here they remained for some time till they had conquered Bashan (see SIHON T0003427; OG T0002771). The Moabites were alarmed, and their king, Balak, sought aid from the Midianites (Num. 22:2-4). It was while they were here that the visit of Balaam (q.v.) to Balak took place. (See MOSES T0002602.) After the Conquest, the Moabites maintained hostile relations with the Israelites, and frequently harassed them in war (Judg. 3:12-30; 1 Sam. 14). The story of Ruth, however, shows the existence of friendly relations between Moab and Bethlehem. By his descent from Ruth, David may be said to have had Moabite blood in his veins. Yet there was war between David and the Moabites (2 Sam. 8:2; 23:20; 1 Chr. 18:2), from whom he took great spoil (2 Sam. 8:2, 11, 12; 1 Chr. 11:22; 18:11). During the one hundred and fifty years which followed the defeat of the Moabites, after the death of Ahab (see MESHA T0002505), they regained, apparently, much of their former prosperty. At this time Isaiah (15:1) delivered his "burden of Moab," predicting the coming of judgment on that land (compare 2 Kings 17:3; 18:9; 1 Chr. 5:25, 26). Between the time of Isaiah and the commencement of the Babylonian captivity we have very seldom any reference to Moab (Jer. 25:21; 27:3; 40:11; Zeph. 2:8-10). After the Return, it was Sanballat, a Moabite, who took chief part in seeking to prevent the rebuilding of Jerusalem (Neh. 2:19; 4:1; 6:1).
of false prophets (Deut. 18:10, 14; Micah 3:6, 7, 11), of necromancers (1 Sam. 28:8), of the Philistine priests and diviners (1 Sam. 6:2), of Balaam (Josh. 13:22). Three kinds of divination are mentioned in Ezek. 21:21, by arrows, consulting with images (the teraphim), and by examining the entrails of animals sacrificed. The practice of this art seems to have been encouraged in ancient Egypt. Diviners also abounded among the aborigines of Canaan and the Philistines (Isa. 2:6; 1 Sam. 28). At a later period multitudes of magicians poured from Chaldea and Arabia into the land of Israel, and pursued their occupations (Isa. 8:19; 2 Kings 21:6; 2 Chr. 33:6). This superstition widely spread, and in the time of the apostles there were "vagabond Jews, exorcists" (Acts 19:13), and men like Simon Magus (Acts 8:9), Bar-jesus (13:6, 8), and other jugglers and impostors (19:19; 2 Tim. 3:13). Every species and degree of this superstition was strictly forbidden by the law of Moses (Ex. 22:18; Lev. 19:26, 31; 20:27; Deut. 18:10, 11). But beyond these various forms of superstition, there are instances of divination on record in the Scriptures by which God was pleased to make known his will. (1.) There was divination by lot, by which, when resorted to in matters of moment, and with solemnity, God intimated his will (Josh. 7:13). The land of Canaan was divided by lot (Num. 26:55, 56); Achan's guilt was detected (Josh. 7:16-19), Saul was elected king (1 Sam. 10:20, 21), and Matthias chosen to the apostleship, by the solem lot (Acts 1:26). It was thus also that the scape-goat was determined (Lev. 16:8-10). (2.) There was divination by dreams (Gen. 20:6; Deut. 13:1, 3; Judg. 7:13, 15; Matt. 1:20; 2:12, 13, 19, 22). This is illustrated in the history of Joseph (Gen. 41:25-32) and of Daniel (2:27; 4:19-28). (3.) By divine appointment there was also divination by the Urim and Thummim (Num. 27:21), and by the ephod. (4.) God was pleased sometimes to vouch-safe direct vocal communications to men (Deut. 34:10; Ex. 3:4; 4:3; Deut. 4:14, 15; 1 Kings 19:12). He also communed with men from above the mercy-seat (Ex. 25:22), and at the door of the tabernacle (Ex. 29:42, 43). (5.) Through his prophets God revealed himself, and gave intimations of his will (2 Kings 13:17; Jer. 51:63, 64).
(Heb. nabi, from a root meaning "to bubble forth, as from a fountain," hence "to utter", compare Ps. 45:1). This Hebrew word is the first and the most generally used for a prophet. In the time of Samuel another word, "ro'eh", "seer", began to be used (1 Sam. 9:9). It occurs seven times in reference to Samuel. Afterwards another word, "hozeh", "seer" (2 Sam. 24:11), was employed. In 1 Ch. 29:29 all these three words are used: "Samuel the seer (ro'eh), Nathan the prophet (nabi'), Gad the seer" (hozeh). In Josh. 13:22 Balaam is called (Heb.) a "kosem" "diviner," a word used only of a false prophet. The "prophet" proclaimed the message given to him, as the "seer" beheld the vision of God. (See Num. 12:6, 8.) Thus a prophet was a spokesman for God; he spake in God's name and by his authority (Ex. 7:1). He is the mouth by which God speaks to men (Jer. 1:9; Isa. 51:16), and hence what the prophet says is not of man but of God (2 Pet. 1:20, 21; compare Heb. 3:7; Acts 4:25; 28:25). Prophets were the immediate organs of God for the communication of his mind and will to men (Deut. 18:18, 19). The whole Word of God may in this general sense be spoken of as prophetic, inasmuch as it was written by men who received the revelation they communicated from God, no matter what its nature might be. The foretelling of future events was not a necessary but only an incidental part of the prophetic office. The great task assigned to the prophets whom God raised up among the people was "to correct moral and religious abuses, to proclaim the great moral and religious truths which are connected with the character of God, and which lie at the foundation of his government." Any one being a spokesman for God to man might thus be called a prophet. Thus Enoch, Abraham, and the patriarchs, as bearers of God's message (Gen. 20:7; Ex. 7:1; Ps. 105:15), as also Moses (Deut. 18:15; 34:10; Hos. 12:13), are ranked among the prophets. The seventy elders of Israel (Num. 11:16-29), "when the spirit rested upon them, prophesied;" Asaph and Jeduthun "prophesied with a harp" (1 Chr. 25:3). Miriam and Deborah were prophetesses (Ex. 15:20; Judg. 4:4). The title thus has a general application to all who have messages from God to men. But while the prophetic gift was thus exercised from the beginning, the prophetical order as such began with Samuel. Colleges, "schools of the prophets", were instituted for the training of prophets, who were constituted, a distinct order (1 Sam. 19:18-24; 2 Kings 2:3, 15; 4:38), which continued to the close of the Old Testament. Such "schools" were established at Ramah, Bethel, Gilgal, Gibeah, and Jericho. The "sons" or "disciples" of the prophets were young men (2 Kings 5:22; 9:1, 4) who lived together at these different "schools" (4:38-41). These young men were taught not only the rudiments of secular knowledge, but they were brought up to exercise the office of prophet, "to preach pure morality and the heart-felt worship of Jehovah, and to act along and co-ordinately with the priesthood and monarchy in guiding the state aright and checking all attempts at illegality and tyranny." In New Testament times the prophetical office was continued. Our Lord is frequently spoken of as a prophet (Luke 13:33; 24:19). He was and is the great Prophet of the Church. There was also in the Church a distinct order of prophets (1 Cor. 12:28; Eph. 2:20; 3:5), who made new revelations from God. They differed from the "teacher," whose office it was to impart truths already revealed. Of the Old Testament prophets there are sixteen, whose prophecies form part of the inspired canon. These are divided into four groups: (1.) The prophets of the northern kingdom (Israel), viz., Hosea, Amos, Joel, Jonah. (2.) The prophets of Judah, viz., Isaiah, Jeremiah, Obadiah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah. (3.) The prophets of Captivity, viz., Ezekiel and Daniel. (4.) The prophets of the Restoration, viz., Haggai, Zechariah, and Malachi.