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Tuesday, December 10 2013
Numbers 22: Balak and Balaam
"The children of Israel set forward, and pitched in the plains of Moab on this side Jordan by Jericho"
Israel's first opportunity to enter their Promised Land occurred only about 14 months after the Exodus. If they had obeyed the LORD (Who was and is Jesus Christ - see Genesis 1: In The Beginning Was The Word and The Kingdom Of The LORD God), they would have entered their homeland from the south, through the Negev Desert ("Negev" means south in Hebrew see also The Negev Of Israel) - there would have been no crossing of the Jordan River, or a Book of Deuteronomy in the Bible (see Deuteronomy: The Law and History Lessons By Moses).
When the Israelites refused to enter, the LORD turned them around and marched them around in circles for forty years, until the adult generation, who refused their opportunity to go home, had all died off (see Numbers 14: Why 40 Years In The Sinai?). It was their children and grandchildren who entered the Promised Land, not then through the southern desert, but after an around the Dead Sea march that brought them to the Jordan River (see also From Moses And Aaron To Joshua and Eleazar). That route took them through Moab, a territory in what is today the southern part of the Kingdom of Jordan (see also Ruth: Building The House Of Israel).
"22:1 And the children of Israel set forward, and pitched in the plains of Moab on this side Jordan by Jericho.
Balak, the king of Moab, had nothing to fear from the Israelites. They were merely intending to pass through, on their way to their own homeland. Rather than simply letting them pass, Balak attempted to stop them by hiring a "diviner" named Balaam. The LORD spoke to Balaam before the messengers of Balak arrived however, so when they made their offer, Balaam's response was "If Balak would give me his house full of silver and gold, I cannot go beyond the word of the LORD my God, to do less or more."
"22:7 And the elders of Moab and the elders of Midian departed with the rewards of divination in their hand; and they came unto Balaam, and spake unto him the words of Balak.
When Balaam decided to go to Moab as the request of Balak anyway, "God's anger was kindled because he went: and the angel of the LORD stood in the way for an adversary against him." Then followed the famous incident with Balaam's long-suffering donkey (see the Fact Finder question below).
"22:21 And Balaam rose up in the morning, and saddled his ass, and went with the princes of Moab. 22:22 And God's anger was kindled because he went: and the angel of the LORD stood in the way for an adversary against him. Now he was riding upon his ass, and his two servants were with him. 22:23 And the ass saw the angel of the LORD standing in the way, and his sword drawn in his hand: and the ass turned aside out of the way, and went into the field: and Balaam smote the ass, to turn her into the way.
When Balaam arrived, Balak chided him for not coming sooner, but Balaam replied "Lo, I am come unto thee: have I now any power at all to say any thing? the word that God putteth in my mouth, that shall I speak."
"22:36 And when Balak heard that Balaam was come, he went out to meet him unto a city of Moab, which is in the border of Arnon, which is in the utmost coast. 22:37 And Balak said unto Balaam, Did I not earnestly send unto thee to call thee? wherefore camest thou not unto me? am I not able indeed to promote thee to honour?
Fact Finder: Is the incident with Balaam and his donkey explained further in the New Testament?
This Day In History, December 10
1508: Pope Julius II, Holy Roman Emperor Maximilian I, Louis XII of France and Ferdinand II of Aragon formed the League of Cambrai to attack Venice (see Emperors and Popes and The Holy Roman Empire Of The German Nation).
1520: Martin Luther publicly burned Pope Leo X's papal edict, Exsurge Domine, that ordered him to recant his "protestant heresies." The accusation against Luther was fundamentally incorrect; Luther rebelled against the immoral behavior of the Papacy at the time, but he maintained nearly all of the Church of Rome's pagan doctrines, as do the "Protestant" churches to this day (e.g. see Why Observe The True Sabbath? and Why Call Me, Lord, Lord, and Do Not The Things Which I Say?). That's why the LORD refers to the "Protestant" churches as "harlots" too: "17:4 And the woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet colour, and decked with gold and precious stones and pearls, having a golden cup in her hand full of abominations and filthiness of her fornication: 17:5 And upon her forehead was a name written, MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH." (Revelation 17:4-5 KJV). The Church of Rome is the "mother" of all of those harlots, while Luther was the "father" of many of them.
1684: Isaac Newton's derivation of Kepler's laws from his theory of gravity, detailed in the paper De motu corporum in gyrum, was read to the Royal Society by Edmund Halley.
1799: France adopted the metre as its official unit of length.
1845: The first pneumatic (inflated with air) tires were patented by British civil engineer Robert Thompson.
1848: Louis Napoleon Bonaparte, nephew of emperor Napoleon, was elected President of France's Second Republic. It was to be short lived - in 1851 Bonaparte staged a coup to restore "the empire."
1865: German-born Leopold I, the first king of the Belgians and a highly influential force in European diplomacy, died. He was known as the "uncle of Europe" - among his many international royal relatives was his niece Queen Victoria of Britain.
1868: The world's first traffic lights, built near London's Parliament Square, began operation.
1896: Swedish industrialist Alfred Nobel died. He made much of his fortune from his invention of dynamite and the manufacture of armaments of war in his factories. Ironically (or hypocritically), the "Nobel Peace Prize" is named after him.
1898: The U.S. and Spain signed a treaty to end their war in the Caribbean and the Pacific.
1901: The first transatlantic wireless signal was received at St. John's Newfoundland. Guglielmo Marconi flew a box kite trailing copper wire to a telephone picked up clicking sounds transmitted from 2,000 miles / 3,200 kilometers away in Cornwall, England. Today, the hill from which the kite was flown is called Signal Hill.
1913: The "Mona Lisa" painting was recovered in Florence after having been stolen from the Louvre two years earlier.
1915: The first all-metal plane flew for the first time. Built by German Hugo Junkers, it was known as the "Tin Donkey."
1936: King Edward VIII of Britain abdicated to marry Wallis Warfield Simpson.
1941: Japanese shore-based bombers sank the British battleship Prince of Wales and battle cruiser Repulse.
1982: 119 countries, but not Britain or the U.S., signed the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.
1988: A severe earthquake in Armenia killed an estimated 100,000 people.