Last post we asked this question:
Did Balaam incite Israel's men to lust after the Midianite women?
Part (1) can be found here:
According to Revelation 2:14
Nevertheless, I have a few things against you, that you have there those holding fast the teaching of Balaam, who went teaching Balak to put a stumbling block before the sons of Israel, to eat things sacrificed to idols and to commit fornicationThe writer of Revelation ostensibly had the same biblical sources that are available to us today (Numbers and Deuteronomy). The Watchtower and similar publications infer that Balaam somehow encouraged the men of Israel to sin. However, it should be noted that there is NO evidence given in the primary texts that Balaam was responsible for the 'sex sin with the Baal of Peor and the Midianite women'.
Balaam was, however, killed for this reason, according to Numbers 31. If you read the preceding accounts carefully, you will see that Balaam was simply a scapegoat for the 'scourge from Jehovah'.
Going back to chapters 23 and 24, Balaam gives four prophetic utterances which bless Israel. He had been instructed to curse Balak of Moab's enemy Israel, but he did not find any 'unlucky omens' (24:1). Keep in mind that Balaam interpreted any such omens as messages from JEHOVAH (NWT).
Not only does the account here praise Balaam as a prophet, it records all four of his poetic utterances.
There is no evidence given in Chapter 25 that Balaam was present during the 'immoral relations with the daughters of Moab' or during the subsequent scourge.
If Balaam's interactions with the king of Moab were recorded so carefully, why not the interactions with the men of Israel? Wouldn't it be known if he so much as stepped foot inside the camps of Israel?
Why would Balaam test the loyalty of Israel to Jehovah? Wasn't he extolled in chapter 22-24 for his loyalty to Jehovah? He went against Balak's orders to curse Israel because he did not see that (in the 'omens' as Jehovah's wish.
After Phineas is credited with ending the scourge by killing two such 'sinners', Chapter 31 gives a horrific account of the "vengeance of the sons of Israel upon the Midianites". This action was taken apparently to appease Jehovah, as Moses' instructions are credited to Jehovah.
The conclusion that Balaam was responsible reeks of inconsistency, reading between the lines, and scapegoating.
Well, we should draw our own conclusions, shouldn't we?
Let me summarize some interesting tidbits:
1. Balaam was a known prophet, or diviner, but leaning heavily towards divining. ('omens', etc...) 'Those whom he blessed were blessed and those whom he cursed, cursed'. Sounds like voodoo to me, which we know to be pretense. Did he 'encourage', or 'curse'? According to chapters 22-24, he did not curse Israel.
2. What was the scourge? Obviously a sexually transmitted disease. Jehovah's anger was involved? Fortunately, there is significantly less bloodshed today over issues like this. We don't see it as God's judgement that we are infected, but rather the blame lies with ourselves for our lack of discretion.
3. Moses gave orders for the men of Israel to 'preserve alive' (i.e. take home and make your wife/servant) only VIRGIN women of . It seems that he should have known, then, about STDs. By the way, how did they check if the women were virgins? It must have been a very 'unclean' experience. But in 'seven days', they were clean again. Bullshit.
4. Balaam's story is apparently told from the perpective of TWO (or more) different prophetic traditions. Much more could be done in de-convoluting this story.
"All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing." Edmund Burke