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Balaam The Villain: The History Of Reception Of The Balaam Narrative In The Pentateuch And The Former Prophets

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Chapter Summary

In the Hebrew Bible, Balaam is a famous foreign seer, a truly remarkable character in Numbers 22-24. Israel escapes a near-death situation in the desert by being blessed instead of cursed. This chapter focuses on a range of texts with more or less related traditions thereby studying the development of changes to Balaam's image in Numbers, Deuteronomy, Joshua and Micah. It describes the geographical scene of Moab in the biblical tradition. The chapter demonstrates the main historical lines of interpretation by analyzing two Dutch paintings. It examines the texts on Balaam found outside Numbers 22-24 and explores the reasons for the growing negativity of his image, touching in turn upon the concentration on Word-of-God theology, the YHWH prophets of the 7th and 6th centuries BCE and the condemnation of all other religious specialists.

Keywords: Balaam; Deuteronomy; Hebrew Bible; Israel; Joshua; Micah



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