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Balaam and the donkey

Balaam is shocked when his donkey speaks to him.
Contributed by Jay (JayBob) Launius
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Balaam lived in the land of Pethor, near the Euphrates River. He was a prophet for hire. When Balek the King of Moab saw all the Israelites camped east of the Jordan River, opposite Jericho, his people were terrified. ‘This mob will eat us like an ox eats grass,’ they exclaimed. So Balek sent messengers to Balaam. – Slide 1
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Balek’s messengers offered Balaam money to come and curse the Israelites. ‘We believe those you bless are blessed and those you curse are doomed,’ they said. <br/>That night God spoke to Balaam in a dream. ‘Don’t do it!’ God told him. ‘You are not to curse the Israelites, for I have blessed them!’ Balaam obeyed and sent the messengers home, but they returned, offering more money and honours. This time God told Balaam, ‘You may get up and go with these men, but be sure to say only what I tell you.’ – Slide 2
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The next morning Balaam saddled his donkey and set off towards Moab. But God was angry with Balaam’s eager attitude. <br/>As Balaam and two servants were riding along, Balaam’s donkey suddenly saw the Angel of the Lord standing in the road with a drawn sword. Balaam and the two messengers could not see the angel. – Slide 3
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Balaam’s donkey bolted off the road into a field in fear. An angry Balaam beat her back onto the road. – Slide 4
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The Angel then stood where the road went between two vineyard walls. The donkey squirmed past the Angel by pressing against the wall, crushing Balaam’s foot in the process. So he beat the donkey again. – Slide 5
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Then the Angel blocked the path and the donkey lay down and refused to move. <br/>In a fit of temper Balaam beat the donkey a third time. Then the Lord shocked Balaam by making the donkey speak! – Slide 6
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‘What have I done that deserves your beating me these three times?’ the donkey asked. <br/>You have made me look like a fool!’ Balaam shouted back at the beast. ‘I wish I had a sword with me to kill you.’ – Slide 7
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Then God opened Balaam’s eyes to see the angel. The Angel told him, ‘Go with the men, but say only what I tell you to say.’ <br/>So, instead of cursing the Israelites Balaam was only able to bless them. King Balak was livid with rage. ‘I called you to curse my enemies and instead you have blessed them three times. Get out of here! Go back home!’ <br/>So Balaam and his donkey returned home empty handed. – Slide 8
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Slide 9