The interpretive history of Numbers 22–24 has gravitated overwhelmingly towards Balaam, offering little word concerning Balak. In spite of recent assessments of Balak's significance to the story, the question of his significance and the reason for past interpretive silence concerning Balak remain unresolved. By examining the participant reference of Balak, as represented in the Masoretic Text, this study shows that Balak is a minor participant with an important role in Numbers 22–24. Balak's significance to the narrative was especially noticeable prior to the inclusion of the Balaam-donkey episode (Num 22:22–35). However, the inclusion of Num 22:22–35 interrupted the story's initial participant-reference scheme, thereby altering how subsequent readers' perceived Balak's role in the story. This conclusion explains why the interpretive history of Numbers 22–24 consistently gravitated towards Balaam rather than Balak.
|School Location:||United States -- Virginia|
|Source:||MAI 51/01M(E), Masters Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Linguistics, Biblical studies|
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