Balaam and the Star of Jacob
Nu 24:17 Balaam was a prophet, but he was not a prophet of Israel. He was from the east, and was of the heathen nations there. The wise men who came to search for Jesus because of the star were also from the east. It is likely that Balaam’s words had been preserved outside of the Hebrew Scriptures—and note how the wise men speak of this (Mt 2:2). They appear to have much more information than could be gleaned from looking at a star in the sky, even if they were serious astrologers. Balaam had prophesied of a king, one with a scepter. The wise men asked about a king. Balaam had specified that this king would be from Jacob, and the wise men asked about a king of the Jews. Herod, the man they asked about it, was an Edomite, one of the peoples that this prophecy described as being conquered by the coming king. And, most noticeably, Balaam spoke of a star, and the wise men came in response to a star. Incidentally, we don’t know for certain that there were three wise men—that is simply an inference from the three types of gifts they brought (Mt 2:11).
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