I have been studying the book of Jude, and I came across verse 11, which compares the godless men of Jude 4 to Balaam. So, I figured I would find out more about Balaam and what he did that was so bad. After reading the account of Balaam in Numbers 22-24, I can't understand why Balaam is looked at in such a bad light. Joshua 24:9-10 gives the impression that Balaam went through with cursing the Israelites, whereas he never did. And in Numbers 22:20-22, God tells Balaam to go with the men to talk with Balak, but when he goes, God gets angry with him. Please help me to understand this situation. Is there something I am missing? -- Sean (University of Georgia)

I too have wondered why Balaam gets such a bad rap in the New Testament. Since I have already written about this in my James, Peter, John, Jude, here I will keep my remarks short. (You can see what I thought in the chapters on 2 Peter and Jude, both of which mention Balaam.)

In Numbers 25 we see that Balaam was killed because of his role in leading the Israelites into compromise (idolatry and sexual sin). So if you read only up to chapter 24, you may have missed this important detail.