2 Peter 2:15

New Testament

10 especially those who indulge their fleshly desires and who despise authority. Brazen and insolent, they are not afraid to insult the glorious ones, 11 yet even angels, who are much more powerful, do not bring a slanderous judgment against them in the presence of the Lord. 12 But these men, like irrational animals—creatures of instinct, born to be caught and destroyed—do not understand whom they are insulting, and consequently in their destruction they will be destroyed, 13 suffering harm as the wages for their harmful ways. By considering it a pleasure to carouse in broad daylight, they are stains and blemishes, indulging in their deceitful pleasures when they feast together with you. 14 Their eyes, full of adultery, never stop sinning; they entice unstable people. They have trained their hearts for greed, these cursed children! 15 By forsaking the right path they have gone astray, because they followed the way of Balaam son of Bosor, who loved the wages of unrighteousness, 16 yet was rebuked for his own transgression (a dumb donkey, speaking with a human voice, restrained the prophet’s madness).

Pirkei Avot 5:19


19 Whoever possesses these three things, he is of the disciples of Abraham, our father; and [whoever possesses] three other things, he is of the disciples of Balaam, the wicked. A good eye, a humble spirit and a moderate appetite he is of the disciples of Abraham, our father. An evil eye, a haughty spirit and a limitless appetite he is of the disciples of Balaam, the wicked. What is the difference between the disciples of Abraham, our father, and the disciples of Balaam, the wicked? The disciples of Abraham, our father, enjoy this world, and inherit the world to come, as it is said: “I will endow those who love me with substance, I will fill their treasuries” (Proverbs 8:21). But the disciples of Balaam, the wicked, inherit gehinnom, and descend into the nethermost pit, as it is said: “For you, O God, will bring them down to the nethermost pit those murderous and treacherous men; they shall not live out half their days; but I trust in You” (Psalms 55:24).

 Notes and References

"... Balaam had advised Balak to demoralize Israel’s fighting force by using Midianite women to seduce it into the service of their cult. That this tradition is as old as that of Deuteronomy, if not older, is now demonstrable by the eighth-century Deir ‘Alla inscription, which also tells of Balaam advising the establishment of an idolatrous cult. Both pejorative traditions are combined in Joshua 13:22, “Together with the others [the Midianites] that they slew, the Israelites put Balaam, the augur, to the sword.” That he was an augur [who divinated] points to his condemnation by Deuteronomy 18:10-13, and that he was slain with the Midianites whom he incited against Israel points to Numbers 31:8, 16. The postbiblical texts exaggerate Balaam’s vices to such a degree that he becomes an exemplar of villainy. Philo portrays him as more eager even than Balak to curse Israel (1 Mos. 285-286). Josephus also insists that Balaam intended to comply with Balak’s wishes (Ant. 4.119-122). The Christian Bible, too, emphasizes Balaam’s avarice (2 Peter 2:15—16; Jude 11) and his counsel of idolatry and debauchery (Revelation 2:14). The tannaitic rabbis claim that “Balaam the Wicked” and all who follow in his ways are cut off from the world to come; that is, they forfeit immortality (Pirkei Avot 5:19; see Sanhedrim 105a—106b, Targums to chapters 22-24) ..."

Milgrom, Jacob Numbers: The Traditional Hebrew Text with the New JPS Translation (p. 470) Jewish Publication Society, 1990

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