Did Balak know that Gd told the Jewish people that he wasn't going to attack Moav? If so, please support your answer.

  • (1) Why does it matter whether Balak knew that Gd told the Jewish people that he wasn't going to attack Moav? (2) Why not assume he didn't know?
    – Tamir Evan
    Jun 25, 2021 at 3:32

2 Answers 2


From Rashi on Devarim 2:9 it sounds like he didn't know:

"AND DO NOT CONTEND WITH THEM [IN WAR] — As regards Moab He forbade them (the Israelites) only war against them, but they may frighten them, appearing before them when equipped for war; therefore it is written, (Numbers 22:3) "And Moab was afraid because of the people", because they took plunder and loot from them."

We see that according to Rashi, Bnei Yisrael were allowed to antagonize the Moabites, and though they didn't actually fight them, it seems that Balak's fear was at least somewhat understandable.


The Ramban in Parshas Balak 3:22 says that Balak knew that it was assur for the Jews to do רע to them as the pasuk says אל תצר את מואב. So the reason he was scared was because he didn't want the Jews to conquer the land and impose a tax on them. ע״ש.

Haarah of mine: Lchorah the pshat of the Ramban shtims well with Rashi who says as is mashma from the pesukim that Balak would give everything (specifically money wise) so that klal Yisrael be cursed (killed, sent away etc), because Pashtus Bc of this Ramban, namely that he didn't want to pay taxes. So Balak would rather pay bilam everything he's got then pay the Jews and Lchorah it's cause of his hatred towards Jews, he didn't want them to have anything.

  • 1
    "Lchorah the pshat of the Rambam shtims well with Rashi ..." (1) The rambam? (2) What does "shtims" mean?
    – Tamir Evan
    Jun 25, 2021 at 3:53
  • I meant ramban. Shtim is Yeshivish slang for "fits well"
    – Moshe
    Jun 25, 2021 at 7:05

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