Israel’s start as a nation wasn’t all easy. Already the Israelites had been attacked as they started to approach Canaan. Now the King of Moab and the elders of Midian had realised how big this group of nomads was, calling the group a vast horde.
They knew they couldn’t defeat the Israelites in battle—there were too many and they had an undefeated record. So the next step was to try cursing the Israelites, asking Balaam to do it:
Numbers 22:5-6 Look, a vast horde of people has arrived from Egypt. They cover the face of the earth and are threatening me. Please come and curse these people for me because they are too powerful for me. Then perhaps I will be able to conquer them and drive them from the land. I know that blessings fall on any people you bless, and curses fall on people you curse.
Balaam went, as requested, but he couldn’t curse Israel.
Numbers 24:10-11King Balak flew into a rage against Balaam. He angrily clapped his hands and shouted, ‘I called you to curse my enemies! Instead, you have blessed them three times. Now get out of here! Go back home! I promised to reward you richly, but the Lord has kept you from your reward.’