Son of Beor, a native of Pethor in Mesopotamia. He was a prophet, or soothsayer, of the Midianites. He was hired by Balak, king of Moab, to curse the Israelites; instead he obeyed the voice of Jehovah and blessed them (Num. 22:5--24:25). Though Balaam could not curse Israel, he counseled with Balak to lead the Israelites into idolatry and fornication, that they might forsake God and be destroyed. (See Rev. 2:14; Num. 25 and 31:16.)
Meta. Balaam belongs to the mental sense plane in man. He is a foreigner, in so far as the true Israelitish consciousness is concerned. Yet he represents that in our contentious, sense nature (Midian) which, though ever striving for the ascendancy, discerns the superiority of Spirit and cannot fight openly against the Truth. This discernment that Balaam represents, however being of the sense man and reaching no higher in its expression than the phase of the psychical that is governed by the sense mind, is deceptive. It seeks in subtle ways to undermine, adulterate, and destroy the Israelitish thoughts that are continually struggling to gain a more perfect comprehension, realization, and expression of Truth. In the end, all of sense is overcome and its powers of discernment are lifted to a higher plane of activity. (The Moabites and Midianites were defeated, and Balaam, who was fighting with them against the Hebrews, was slain. See Numbers 31:8).