What is it about?

This is a book review assessing Libor Malek’s study of Balaam’s Fourth Oracle (Num 24: 15- 19) in the Qumran manuscripts where it appears as an excerpted text in various forms. Balaam was a non-Israelite prophet who was sent to curse the Israelites towards the end of their journey through the wilderness, but God makes him bless them instead. The study is a useful source on the Balaam’s Fourth Oracle in the Dead Sea Scrolls. Based on the texts themselves, the review questions Malek’s use of the Masoretic text as the main source for the excerpts of the prophecy in scrolls. Nonetheless the monograph contains some interesting insights, particularly on its reception. Malek observes that while Balaam is perceived negatively in early Jewish and Christian sources, including elsewhere in the Bible, the fourth oracle is used positively [the third oracle is used in synagogue liturgy].

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This page is a summary of: A Star from Jacob, a Sceptre from Israel: Balaam’s Oracle as Rewritten Scripture in the Dead Sea Scrolls , by Libor Marek, Dead Sea Discoveries, July 2023, Brill,
DOI: 10.1163/15685179-tat00006.
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