As the Israelites continued toward Canaan, the nations before them feared their approach. Balak, king of the Moabites knew of Balaam, a diviner from Pethor whom he hoped could curse the Children of Israel and prevent them from overrunning his people. Little is known about this man, but he seems to have recognized Jehovah as one of the gods of the land.
God refused to allow Balaam to return to Balak with the group of elders that were sent. Thinking that more noble men would have more influence on Balaam, he sent a large contingent of more noble princes than the first. That time, God allowed Balaam to go to Balak, but to only speak the words given to him by God.
In His anger with Balaam for not taking His first refusal to curse His people, God sent an angel to convey His sentiment. He was unable to see the angel at first, even though his donkey did see him. After having been struck three times for leaving the line of travel, God allowed the donkey to speak to Balaam.
Through a series of offerings and consultations, Balaam blessed the Israelites three times instead of cursing them. This was highly disappointing and displeasing to Balak. He sent Balaam away and refused to pay him the diviner’s fee that he had prepared.
Balaam provided a fourth and final prophecy to Balak telling him what would be in store for his people in the latter days. “…I see Him, but not now; I behold Him, but not near; A Star shall come out of Jacob; A scepter shall rise out of Israel…Out of Jacob One shall have dominion, And destroy the remains of the city.” That was obviously a foretelling of the coming of Jesus, the Messiah.
With all of that being said, Balak went his way and Balaam returned to his home.