22:5 And he sent messengers to Balaam6 son of Beor at Pethor, which is by the Euphrates River7 in the land of Amaw,8 to summon him, saying, “Look, a nation has come out of Egypt. They cover the face9 of the earth, and they are settling next to me.
sn There is much literature on pagan diviners and especially prophecy in places in the east like Mari (see, for example, H. B. Huffmon, “Prophecy in the Mari Letters,” BA 31 : 101–24). Balaam appears to be a pagan diviner who was of some reputation; he was called to curse the Israelites, but God intervened and gave him blessings only. The passage forms a nice complement to texts that deal with blessings and curses. It shows that no one can curse someone whom God has blessed.