So what does the author of this particular commentary mean when they say "Balak was led by the Spirit to utter words concerning Israel."

Numbers 22 Preacher's Commentary

Invitation and Refusal

This chapter marks the beginning of the final part of the Book of Numbers, and from this point to the end of the book a miscellaneous collection of narratives, laws, and regulations are presented as having taken place or having been formulated during Israel’s encampment in the plains of Moab. The first of these narratives, and undoubtedly the most striking, concerns Balaam, a Gentile seer who was hired by Balak, king of Moab, to curse Israel and frustrate their onward march. Balak was led by the Spirit of God in a most remark able way to utter words concerning Israel and her future in the divine purposes which on any interpretation must rank as among the most striking ever uttered.

  • The Preacher's Commentary vol.4 , Numbers 22:1-14
    – user52365
    Oct 22, 2022 at 21:50
  • This appears to be a simply mis-print.
    – Dottard
    Oct 22, 2022 at 21:52
  • I don't want to use it anymore T^T. I thought Balak being led by the Spirit had a deeper meaning; something to do with God's sovereignty. Lol
    – user52365
    Oct 22, 2022 at 22:01

1 Answer 1


Yes, it was Balaam, not Balak, who prophesied blessings to Israel. Balak is mentioned in only three verses of the Bible outside of Numbers 22-24.

Then Balak the son of Zippor, king of Moab, arose and warred against Israel, and sent and called Balaam the son of Beor to curse you: (Joshua 24:9, KJV)

And now art thou any thing better than Balak the son of Zippor, king of Moab? did he ever strive against Israel, or did he ever fight against them, (Judges 11:25, KJV)

O my people, remember now what Balak king of Moab consulted, and what Balaam the son of Beor answered him from Shittim unto Gilgal; that ye may know the righteousness of the LORD. (Micah 6:5, KJV)

But texts that stand out as to Balak's stance toward Israel, and Balaam, include these:

And Balak said unto Balaam, What hast thou done unto me? I took thee to curse mine enemies, and, behold, thou hast blessed them altogether. (Numbers 23:11, KJV)

And Balak's anger was kindled against Balaam, and he smote his hands together: and Balak said unto Balaam, I called thee to curse mine enemies, and, behold, thou hast altogether blessed them these three times. (Numbers 24:10, KJV)

Balak is clearly against Israel, considering the Israelites to be his enemies.

That Balaam was the one inspired is on record here:

And Balaam said unto Balak, 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. (Numbers 22:38, KJV)

If indeed your commentary has stated that Balak, and not Balaam, was led by the Spirit of God, it seems to be a rather embarrassing mistake.

  • :( sed. I used to love this commentary but now I'm a bit iffy about wanting to use it anymore.
    – user52365
    Oct 22, 2022 at 21:59
  • @KokoGurung I tend to avoid commentaries, but a good Bible concordance and a Hebrew/Greek lexicon and/or interlinear Bible are good study tools. I have found that commentaries have about as much wisdom to them as the comments / opinions of people in a church discussion or online might have. Those who write the commentaries are not inspired in the same way the Bible authors were, and they can, and do, make mistakes and misinterpret. Some of what they say may be excellent, but how does one keep from being led astray by the inferior suggestions?
    – Biblasia
    Oct 22, 2022 at 22:06

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