Torah Study Questions
Bamidbar (Numbers) 22:2 - 25:9
Mark R. Ensign, Adot Adonai, Amarillo, Texas
Introductory questions -- Brief answers, not for extended discussion:
1. At what point in history does this parsha unfold?
2. Where does this parsha take place geographically? What are the setting and environment?
3. Who are the primary actors in the parsha and what role or roles does each play? What is the significance of each role? Who are the secondary actors and what roles do they play? What is the significance of their roles?
4. What is the overall theme of this parsha? What are the subdivisions, if any?
Parsha Specific Questions -- for extended discussion:
What leader of what people was afraid of Bnei Yisrael and why? What was his conclusion about the future of his nation? To whom did he send the messengers and what message did they carry? What was his immediate response? Who appeared to Bil'am and what instruction did he give Bil'am? What did Bil'am tell the messengers from Balak? What appears to be the underlying message in the statement of Bil'am to the messengers? What is the response of Balak to his messengers' report? What incentive did the second set of messengers offer Bil'am? What was his answer to these messengers? What happened during the night?
In summary, what happened to Bil'am on the way to meet Balak? What was the message from YHVH to Bil'am? After being greeted and chastised by Balak, how did Bil'am respond? Where was the first place that Balak took Bil'am and why?
What did Bil'am require Balak to do for him? After Balak complied, what did Bil'am say and where did he go? What did YHVH put in the mouth of Bil'am to speak to Balak? How did Balak respond to this statement? How did Bil'am respond to Balak?
Having been taken to another location and having gone aside to hear from YHVH, what was the message Bil'am received? How did Balak respond to this message and what did Bil'am answer him? What happened next?
Why did Bil'am not go aside by himself and what did he see when he faced the Wilderness?
What did he prophesy over Bnei Yisrael? What was the response of Balak? How did Bil'am answer Balak? What did Bil'am prophesy about Bnei Yisrael? What four periods of time in the future of Bnei Israel are covered by this prophecy of Bil'am? Who is represented by the star and scepter and what fulfillment has occurred of this prophecy?
What is the key lesson and summary of the story of Bil'am and Balak? Who else did Bil'am prophesy about and what did he say?
Where did Bnei Yisrael settle and what did they do there? How did Bnei Israel become attached to Baald-Peor, the gods of Moav? What was the response of YHVH and what did he instruct Moshe to do? What did Moshe instruct the leaders of Israel to do? What blatant sin was carried out in the sight of Moshe and Bnei Yisrael? What were Moshe and the leaders of Yisrael doing? Who responded and how? What happened as a consequence?
Who was the instigator of these acts of immorality by Moav and who provided the inspiration and idea to destroy Bnei Yisrael? What confirmation do we have of this teaching of the Sages? What lesson do Torah observant believers take from this chapter?