BALAAM   4'1m*f RT: Balaam and the donkey

(RT == Readers' Theater: requires little or no memorization,
little or no rehearsal. An indefinite number of reporters are
salted throughout the audience.)

JOSHUA -- (enters wearing tunic and sandals with sword in belt,
crosses to podium) Good morning. My name is Joshua Son of Nun. I
am the commander of the army of Israel. The reason I called this
press conference is to announce the results of our battle
against the Midianites. As expected, with God's help, we were

REPORTER -- Commander Joshua, is it true that this war with the
Midianites was initiated by the Moabites?

JOSHUA -- That's true. For some reason, the Moabites didn't
believe us when we told them that we were just passing through
their land on the way to the promised land. They recruited the
Midianites to fight for them.

REPORTER -- Is it true that the Moabites also recruited a
sorcerer to put a curse on Israel before the battle?

JOSHUA -- That's also true.

REPORTER -- Can you tell us his name?

JOSHUA -- His name was Balaam Son of Beor.

REPORTER -- Was? Do you mean Balaam is dead?

JOSHUA -- That's right. Balaam was a Midianite and he fought
against us. So, he died like the rest of the army.

REPORTER -- What kind of a curse did Balaam put on Israel?

JOSHUA -- Actually, Balaam never did put a curse on us. But it
wasn't for lack of trying.

REPORTER -- Who stopped Balaam from cursing Israel?


REPORTER -- Are you saying that Balaam wasn't stopped by a

JOSHUA -- That's right. He was stopped by a donkey.

REPORTER -- I'm sorry, Commander. I don't see how a donkey could
prevent any man from doing anything he really wanted to do.

JOSHUA -- Well, as the story goes, Balaam was on his way toward
a confrontation with us, when his donkey suddenly veered off the
path. And after repeatedly beating the donkey, Balaam got the
donkey back on the path. But the donkey left the path again and
again. And repeated beatings from Balaam had no affect. After
while, the donkey merely laid down and refused to carry Balaam
any further.

REPORTER -- Do you have any idea why the donkey was so

JOSHUA -- Yes. Apparently, the donkey saw the angel of the Lord
in his path with his sword drawn.

REPORTER -- Then, why did Balaam keep beating the donkey? Didn't
he see the Angel of the Lord in his path?

JOSHUA -- Apparently not. I'm told that Balaam was so blinded by
the fame and fortune he would gain from cursing us that he
couldn't even see that he was in danger of being killed.

REPORTER -- If Balaam couldn't see the Angel of the Lord in his
path, why didn't Balaam merely abandon the donkey and proceed on

JOSHUA -- The donkey talked him out of it.

REPORTER -- Wait a minute! Are you saying that the donkey
actually spoke to Balaam?

JOSHUA -- That's what I'm saying. The donkey spoke to Balaam in
a human voice.

REPORTER -- What was Balaam's reaction?

JOSHUA -- It was about the same as yours: disbelief followed by
the realization that there must be a reasonable explanation for
this miracle.

REPORTER -- Do YOU have a reasonable explanation?

JOSHUA -- Yes. The Angel of the Lord warned Balaam not to go and
curse Israel in the first place. But when Balaam persisted, the
Angel of the Lord used the donkey to give Balaam one last
warning before killing him.

REPORTER -- The warning apparently didn't work. Balaam was
killed in battle against Israel.

JOSHUA -- Actually, it did work. The talking donkey opened
Balaam's eyes so he could see the Angel of the Lord as clearly
as the donkey could. And, when Balaam saw the sword in the
Angel's hand, he turned back. It was later, after several more
attempts to curse Israel failed, that Balaam had to go into
battle against Israel where he was killed.

REPORTER -- So, Balaam got what he deserved.

JOSHUA -- Yes. But that's not the worst of it.

REPORTER -- What could be worse than death?

JOSHUA -- Balaam was a prophet of God. He KNEW that God would
never let him get away with cursing his chosen people, but he
tried anyway. What a waste of a gift of prophecy!


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