In the beginning of Parashat Balak, Rashi writes:

If you ask, “Why did God bestow His Shechinah on a wicked gentile?” [The answer is] so the nations should not have an excuse to say, “Had we had prophets we would have repented.” So He assigned them prophets, but they breached the [morally] accepted barrier, for at first they had refrained from immorality, but [Bil'am] advised them to offer themselves freely for prostitution." (Bamidbar 22:5)

Nevertheless, the other nations could rebut saying, "Bil'am was a wicked man. If you had bestowed prophecy to a righteous gentile, we would have repented."

Why is this not a good counter claim?

  • 3
    And who says Bilaam wasn't a righteous man before he attained prophecy?
    – HodofHod
    Commented Jun 23, 2013 at 22:38
  • he doesn't have a good history. plus we see right in the beginning that he was greedy, honor seeking, and according to the midrash regularly had sexual relations with his mule.
    – ray
    Commented Jun 24, 2013 at 5:59
  • Source? As far as I know, the Torah only introduces us to him after he attained prophecy. I haven't seen a midrash with his origin story yet, but I'm open to seeing it.
    – HodofHod
    Commented Jun 24, 2013 at 6:16
  • @HodofHod when did he attain prophecy? after he was hired as balak's hitman or before?
    – ray
    Commented Jun 24, 2013 at 20:28
  • Again, I don't know, it doesn't seem that the Torah explicitly says.
    – HodofHod
    Commented Jun 25, 2013 at 19:18