Shout of the King

Although we do not yet hear the shofar announcing the coming fo the Messiah, the unseen world of spiritual darkness certainly does.

Sound waves echo through the city (Image: Bigstock)

Balak

Regular Shabbat Readings

Read / Listen to these Portions

  • Balak (בלק | Balak)
  • Torah: Numbers 22:2-25:9
  • Haftarah: Micah 5:6-6:8
  • Gospel: Matthew 21:1-11

Note: The regular readings are often interrupted with special readings on Jewish holidays, special Sabbaths, and Rosh Chodesh. Refer to the annual Torah Portion schedule for these special portions.

Portion Outline

  • Torah
    • Numbers 22:1 | Balak Summons Balaam to Curse Israel
    • Numbers 22:22 | Balaam, the Donkey, and the Angel
    • Numbers 22:41 | Balaam's First Oracle
    • Numbers 23:13 | Balaam's Second Oracle
    • Numbers 24:1 | Balaam's Third Oracle
    • Numbers 24:15 | Balaam's Fourth Oracle
    • Numbers 25:1 | Worship of Baal of Peor
  • Prophets
    • Mic 5:2 | The Ruler from Bethlehem
    • Mic 5:7 | The Future Role of the Remnant
    • Mic 6:1 | God Challenges Israel
    • Mic 6:6 | What God Requires

Portion Summary

Balak (Balak, בלק) was the name of a Moabite king in the days of Moses. It is also the name of the fortieth reading from the Torah. It comes from the second verse of this week's reading, which says, "Now Balak the son of Zippor saw all that Israel had done to the Amorites" (Numbers 22:2). This week's Torah reading tells the story of how Balak hires the occult prophet Balaam to lay a curse on Israel. Balaam meets resistance from God, has a conversation with his donkey and ends up blessing Israel instead of cursing them.


King Balak retained Balaam to curse Israel with misfortune and sorrow. Balaam attempted to place a curse on Israel three times. Each time, the LORD turned the curse into a blessing. Instead of cursing Israel, Balaam involuntarily spoke prophetic oracles of blessing over Israel. The oracles of Balaam offer several glimpses of Messiah and point toward His coming.

In his second attempt to curse Israel, Balaam exclaimed that he saw no misfortune or trouble in store for Israel. Instead they were blessed because “the LORD his God is with him.” Balaam went on to say, “The shout of a king is among them” (Numbers 23:21).

The word translated as “shout” is the Hebrew teru’ah (תרועה), the same word commonly used to describe a trumpet blast. Numbers 23:21 could be translated to say, “The trumpet blast of a king is among them.”

The Apostle Paul mentions the shout of Messiah’s trumpet when he says, “The Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of God” (1 Thessalonians 4:16). The trumpet blast of the king mentioned by Balaam certainly alludes to the trumpet of Messiah. He is the coming king.

The Targum translates Numbers 23:21 to say, “The trumpets of King Messiah resound among them.” The Chasidic commentary Toledot Yitzchak ben Levi explains that Balaam was referring to the blast of the horn taken from Isaac’s ram which will serve as the shofar of the final redemption and herald the coming of the Messiah.

Though we have not yet heard the shofar blast that will herald the coming of King Messiah, His trumpets are already resounding in our midst. Each time we blow the shofar on Rosh HaShanah, we rehearse the day of His coming. We may not hear the trumpets of Messiah yet, but the unseen world of spiritual darkness certainly does. When Balaam attempted to curse the people of God, he heard the deafening blast of the trumpet of Messiah.

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