This week in Torah

Parashah 40 Balak

July 20, 2019 – Balak (“Devastator”) – Parshat 40

  • Torah: Numbers 22:2-25:9
  • Haftara: Micah 5:6-6:8
  • Brit Chadasha: Matthew 21:1-11

וַיַּ֥רְא בָּלָ֖ק בֶּן־צִפּ֑וֹר אֵ֛ת כָּל־אֲשֶׁר־עָשָׂ֥ה יִשְׂרָאֵ֖ל לָֽאֱמֹרִֽי׃

Vayar Balak ben-Tsipor et kol-asher-asah Yisra’el la-Emori.

When Balak son of Tzippor saw all that Israel had done to the Amorites,

We all know the story; Balak calls upon the prophet Balaam to curse the nation of Israel because he feared they would make war against him and he would be defeated in Battle just as Sihon, and Og of the Amorites.

Balaam takes the job but is unable to curse, instead he can only pronounce blessings over the sons of Yacob. He tries repeatedly to do so, but only becomes overtaken by the Spirit of Adonai as “one whose eye is opened; The oracle of him who hears the words of G-d, who sees the vision of the Almighty, falling down, yet having his eyes uncovered”. The prophet from the nations realizes that “Blessed is everyone who blesses you, and cursed is everyone who curses you” (the very covenant blessing given to Abraham Avinu from HaShem). He not only blesses Israel but prophesies the coming of the Redeemer of all nations thru him.

Balaam goes on to say “As valleys they are spread forth, as gardens by the riverside, as aloes which the LORD has planted, as cedar trees beside the waters. Water shall flow from his buckets. His seed shall be in many waters. His king shall be higher than Agag. His kingdom shall be exalted.” (Numbers 24:6&7) It is interesting that the Talmud says that Balaam did not intentionally bless Israel, instead we read in [Sanhedren 105b:18] “He sought to say that they would not have kings of stature, and he said instead: “Like cedar trees beside the waters” (Numbers 24:6). He sought to say that they will not have a king the son of a king, and he said instead: “Water shall flow from his branches” (Numbers 24:7). He sought to say that their kingdom would not rule over the nations, and he said instead: “And his seed shall be in many waters” (Numbers 24:7). He sought to say that their kingdom would not be fierce, and he said instead: “And his king shall be higher than Agag.” He sought to say that there will be no fear of their kingdom, and he said instead: “And his kingdom shall be exalted” (Numbers 24:7).

And “And the kingdom of the King Messiah shall be made great. He is stronger than Saul who vanquished Agag the King of Amalek. [Numbers 24:7 Targum Yerushalmi] speaking of a future King of Israel (Saul) who’s kingdom would be weak in comparison to the Mashiach son of David to come. “I see him, but not now. I see him, but not near. A star will come out of Jacob. A scepter will rise out of Israel, and shall strike through the corners of Moab, and break down all the sons of Sheth.” (Numbers 24:17)

Saul was not successful in totally defeating Amalek, and HaShem said to Moshe in Shemote (Exodus 17:16) “The LORD has sworn: ‘The LORD will have war with Amalek from generation to generation.’” This enmity will continue unto Mashiach Ben David who will finally defeat all his enemies and rule over all nations.

“The first of the nations who made war with the house of Israel were those of the house of Amalek; and they at last, in the days of the King Messiah, will make war against Israel along with all the children of the east; but all of them together will have eternal destruction in their end. [Numbers 24:20 Targum Yerushalmi]

“And his king shall be higher than Agag,” means that the kingdom of Israel will begin in the days of Agag, king of Amalek. “And his kingdom shall be exalted,” applies to the days of Messiah, as it says [in Isaiah 52:13], “Behold my servant will prosper, He will be high and lifted up and greatly exalted.” [Lekach Tov]

Balaam was given a vision of Messiah in His glory and his reaction at one point was this “Who can count the dust of Jacob, or number the fourth part of Israel? Let me die the death of the righteous! Let my last end be like his!” (Numbers 23:10). I believe he saw the resurrection and the ushering in of the Malchut HaEl (kingdom of G-d) in the end of days thru Messiah!

The sad thing is that balaam rejected it and only pursued a temporal reward in alliance with the kings of the earth. May we do as the son’s of promise we are, and apprehend the promises thru Messiah Yeshua unto life eternal with Him. May it be in our day and in our time – “The Spirit and the bride say, “Come!” He who hears, let him say, “Come!” He who is thirsty, let him come. He who desires, let him take the water of life freely.”        (Rev. 22:17)

Shalom Mish’pachah from Beth Hallel Lodi