Everything about this story is wrong. The extensive amount of midrash that exists around the story is testament enough to its bizarre construction.
I don’t even know where to begin with this story. As a rhetorical device, it superficially appears to have a purpose. However, it really adds little to the overall story arc (in the near term.)
When the SCOTUS ruled in King v. Burwell that “The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act Section 36B’s tax credits are available to individuals who purchase health insurance on an exchange created by the federal government” the Justices commented on the sloppy way the act was written. Despite this, a majority of the court felt the intention of the act was clear. would that the intent of the inclusion of the story of Balak and Bilaam were as clear.
I’m so stymied by Balak this year I can’t even put my thoughts into coherent form. So I’ll take a simpler, easier path, and offer a selection of previous musings on Balak, to wit:
Balak 5774 – Ball’s In Your Court
Balak 5772 – Unbelievable
Balak 5771-Imperfect Justice is No Excuse
Balak 5770 – Beating Our Donkeys II (Revised and Updated 5758)
Balak 5764 – Bad Habits
Balak 5758/5761-Beating Our Donkeys
Chukat-Balak 5760-Holy Cow!