Part One of an interesting tale.
Moab decided to destroy the issuing Israelites. This is needless. God’s told them to leave the Moabites be.
They know that God seems to be on the Israelites side. So they contact the most spiritual man they know, Balaam, to sure up that angle.
He is one of an interesting bunch of non Israelite characters in the Bible who have some independent knowledge of God. Melchizedek is one too. God speaks to him not to join Moab.
He’s tempted by the lure of treasure, a weakness for many a spiritual leader. He rides off to join Moab, but his donkey knows better than him, a comment for the ages on greedy spiritual leaders. After much non progress and beatings, the donkey speaks God’s word to Balaam.
Balaam still goes to the king of moab, but we know he will now bring God’s true message. The stage is set for part 2 of the story as they climb a hill overlooking the Israelites camp together.
In a way it’s an optimistic story. God uses imperfect people, even those more foolish than donkeys.