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    Balak & his friend Bilam – Balak

    Depiction of Balak and Balaam

    Midrashic literature has much to say (mostly negative) about Balak the king of Moab.

    Balak was not the son of a king but gained the throne in a coup. This had been prophesied by Bilam whom Balak offered to reward with money and status because he knew that Bilam – though a prophet – was a greedy materialist.

    Balak himself was not such a nice character. According to the sages, he was the kind of person who promises much but does little. The opposite is found in the righteous such as Abraham, who promise less but do more.

    Balak gained his people’s support because they expected great things from him but became thoroughly disillusioned.

    Balak was so hostile to Israel that he gave his own daughter as a seductive trap to entangle some of the Israelite people.

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