Amplified: Forsaking the straight road they have gone astray; they have followed the way of Balaam [the son] of Beor, who loved the reward of wickedness. (Amplified Bible - Lockman)
Barclay: They have left the straight road and have gone awandering, and have followed the road of Balaam, the son of Beor, who loved the profit which unrighteousness brings and who was convicted of his lawlessness. A dumb ass spoke with a man’s voice and checked the prophet’s folly (Westminster Press)
NET: By forsaking the right path they have gone astray, because they followed the way of Balaam the son of Bosor, who loved the wages of unrighteousness, (NET Bible)
New Jerusalem Bible: They have left the right path and wandered off to follow the path of Balaam son of Bosor, who set his heart on a dishonest reward, (NJB)
NLT: They have wandered off the right road and followed the way of Balaam son of Beor, who loved to earn money by doing wrong. (NLT - Tyndale House)
Phillips: for they have abandoned the right road and wandered off to follow the old trail of Balaam, son of Peor, the man who had no objection to wickedness as long as he was paid for it. (Phillips: Touchstone)
Wuest: Abandoning the straight road, they went astray, having followed assiduously the road of Balaam, the son of Bosor, who set a high value upon and thus came to love the hire of unrighteousness, (Eerdmans)
Young's Literal: having forsaken a right way, they did go astray, having followed in the way of Balaam the son of Bosor, who a reward of unrighteousness did love
|FORSAKING THE RIGHT WAY: kataleipontes (PAPMPN) eutheian hodon: (1Sa 12:23; 1Ki 18:18; 19:10; Eze 9:10; Pr 28:4; Ho 14:8; Acts 13:10)
The present tense indicates that the false teachers (active voice = their willful choice) are continually abandoning the "right way" which is God's way, synonymous with "the way of truth" Peter mentioned in (2Peter 2:2 [note]).
These men are continually making a conscious, volitional, willful choice to abandon the right way, the straight path. Departing from the straight path, they choose the crooked path. To depart from the path implies they saw it or knew about it, but simply choose to depart from it. To have light and reject light is even worse than having no light at all. Jesus sternly warned the cities of Chorazin and Bethsaida of this consequences of such actions (choices) - Mt 11:21-23). By way of striking contrast, Moses made the opposite choice "By faith he left (forsook) Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king; for he endured (continued without wavering), as seeing Him who is unseen (How we all need this daily vision of Jesus in and through His Word, so that it serves to motivate us to stay on the right way, for our fallen flesh continually seeks to pull us off the path of righteousness).." (Heb 11:27-note)
Stated another way what these men teach continually causes both them and their unstable "victims" to veer away from the highway of holy doctrine that leads to holy living and instead leads is to the broad way of destruction (Matthew 7:13-note).
The right way - This is the RIGHTeous way, the way God would have us way, according to His Word, empowered by His Spirit. This they did not do.
Right (2117) (euthus) when used as an adjective literally means straight or a straight line and figuratively to what is proper or right. The uses below will give you a good sense of these literal and figurative meanings of euthus.
Euthus is also used as adverb to mean immediately, right away, at once. The use of euthus with the meaning of immediately is a key word in the Gospel of Mark as evidenced by 11 uses just in the first chapter!
There are 28 more uses of euthus meaning immediately in the remainder of Mark. In chapter 4 Jesus used euthus in His description of the affect of the sowing of the seed (the Word of God)...
Below are examples of uses of euthus as an adjective, which is the way it is used by Peter.
After Saul was blinded on the road to Damascus, Luke records the Lord's words to Ananias declaring...
Peter addressed Simon who tried to purchase the gift of God declaring...
Paul fixed his gaze on Elymas the magician and declared...
Upright conduct in the Bible is pictured as a straight path. John the Baptizer uses the adjective euthus in the synoptic gospels to call upon the Jewish people to "make His paths straight!'" speaking of moral and spiritual preparation of their hearts (i.e. changing behavior) in anticipation of the appearing of their promised Messiah
In the Septuagint euthus is used 58 times (Ge 15:4; 24:45; 33:12; 38:29; Num. 23:3; Jos. 8:14; Jdg. 14:3; 1 Sam. 12:23; 1 Ki. 20:23, 25; 2 Ki. 10:15; Ezra 8:21; Neh. 9:13; Job 3:11; Ps. 7:9; 11:2; 19:8; 25:21; 27:11; 32:11; 33:1; 36:10; 37:14; 49:14; 58:1; 64:10; 73:1; 78:37; 94:15; 97:11; 107:7, 42; 111:1; 112:2, 4; 125:4; 140:13; 143:10; Prov. 2:13, 16, 19, 21; 20:11; 28:10; 29:10; Isa. 26:7; 33:15; 40:3f; 42:16; 45:13; 59:14; Jer. 3:2; Ezek. 23:40; 33:17, 20; 46:9; Dan. 11:17; Hos. 14:9)
Below are some uses of euthus in the Septuagint that help understand the meaning (observe who and what is euthus and the effect of not walking in a euthus way, etc)...
Way (3598) (hodos) literally means a way for traveling or moving from one place to another and figuratively (which is how Peter uses it in the present context) refers to the course of behavior or to one's way of life.
In Acts the Way was a common early name for the Christian faith. Luke first alludes to the Way in Acts 9...
Now Saul, still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord, went to the high priest, and asked for letters from him to the synagogues at Damascus, so that if he found any belonging to the Way, both men and women, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem. (Acts 9:1, 2 cp the Way in Acts 19:9, 23, 24:14, 22)
These false teachers have abandoned true and righteous belief ("the Way") resulting in unrighteous behavior. What you believe (and obey) is important, for your beliefs will direct your behavior.
They have gone astray - They have been led astray. The actively forsook (active voice) and were (passive voice) led astray. We see the same pattern in two passages in 2 Timothy - 2Ti 3:13 and 2Ti 4:3-4....
The "take home" message for all of us is don't forsake or turn away from truth, for if you do, you will put yourself in a dangerous situation spiritually! You open yourself up to control by that which is not true. Hiebert agrees writing that...
GONE ASTRAY: eplanethesan (3PAPI):
Gone astray (4105) (planao [word study] from plane which describes "a wandering" and gives us our English word "planet") means literally to wander out of the way (active sense), to be led astray or made to err from the right way (passive sense). Planao can describe physical wandering but more often in the NT it is used as Peter does in this verse to describe straying from spiritual truth or "following the wrong way". Compare the Latin word errare.
Planao in this verse is in the passive voice which means they have been deceived, misled and have been led astray by an outside force (e.g., the lusts of the flesh, the world, devil). The present tense indicates that this is not a momentary action but that they are continually being led astray and exerting this same tragic effect on their followers.
The Mishnah (Rabbinic commentary on the Torah) note on Balaam is interesting
HAVING FOLLOWED THE WAY OF BALAAM THE SON OF BEOR: exakolouthesantes (AAPMPN) te hodo tou Balaam tou Bosor: (Jer 6:13, 8:10, Nu 22:5, 6, 7,22:18, 19, 20, 21,23,28; Nu 25:1, 2, 3, 4, 5ff, Nu 31:16; Dt 23:4,5; Josh 13:22; 24:9 Neh 13:2, Mic 6:5; Jude 1:11; Rev 2:14, the "end" of Balaam Nu 31:8) Dictionary discussion of Balaam
Read the story of Balaam in Numbers 22:1-24:1-25 and the effects of Balaam's counsel on Israel in Nu 25:1-18. And note Balaam's end in Nu 31:8!
Steven Cole - When you read the story of Balaam (Numbers 22-24), he seems at first to be an okay guy. He is a prophet and on the surface, he claims that he won’t say or do anything unless God permits it. But, he was a cunning, self-seeking man who used his prophetic powers to line his own pocket. When God wouldn’t let him curse Israel, as the Moabite king wanted him to do, he instead advised the king to get his women to seduce the Israelite men. So the false teachers imitated Balaam both in his greed and in his enticing people by sensuality. Peter adds (2Pe 2:16) that Balaam “received a rebuke for his own transgression, for a mute donkey, speaking with the voice of a man, restrained the madness of the prophet.” Peter intends some humor, in that a dumb donkey had more spiritual insight than the greedy prophet did. When Peter calls him “mad,” he doesn’t mean that he was literally insane. Rather, he means that anyone who pursues greed and sensuality is crazy, because you’re really going after “the wages of unrighteousness” (2Pe 2:15), which results in God’s judgment. After painting this shocking portrait, showing the false teachers as being full of arrogance, defiance, lust, and greed, Peter goes on to reveal their deceptive methods: (A Sad Portrait to Study)
Balaam is used three times in the last books of the NT describing the way of Balaam (this verse), the error of Balaam (Jude 1:11) and the teaching (doctrine) of Balaam
This is Peter's fourth OT illustration in this chapter presenting Balaam as the perfect illustration of a leader who leads people astray for his own personal gain.
Having followed (1811) (exakoloutheo from ek = out or intensifies meaning + akolouthéo = follow) is a strong compound clearly a "key word" in 2 Peter 2 (used 3 times and no where else) where the preposition ek gives the force of following out emphasizing close pursuance, and figuratively conveys the idea that these false teachers are closely following Balaam's way to the full end. They were assiduously following Balaam's lead, treading in his steps, imitating his way of acting.
The main root word akoloutheo is used elsewhere in the NT to describe the disciple's initial commitment to follow Jesus
In translating Ruth's commitment to remain with Naomi, the Septuagint (Gk translation of Hebrew OT) translators selected akoloutheo for the Hebrew word clung, the latter picturing one sticking to another like "glue"! (Ruth 1:4-note).
The picture conveyed by exakoloutheo (which again is even stronger Greek word than akoloutheo) is that of "disciples" of Balaam so to speak who "stick like glue" to his ways. The verb is in the active voice indicating that they were not coerced by external forces but that they made an active decision of their will to stick to the ways of Balaam, lest any one should wonder whether they are personally accountable for their evil actions.
Jesus teaching is relevant to this discussion of Balaam...
These tricksters did not follow the Way of Jesus Son of God instead choosing to follow the way of Balaam son of Beor! The first "Way is narrow that leads to life and few are those who find it" (see Matthew 7:14-note) and the second "way is broad that leads to destruction and many are those who enter by it" (Matthew 7:13-note).
These false teachers may indeed experience seeming success and riches but it is only temporal pay, their eternal pay awaiting them in the form of destruction as Peter has already noted.
If you are following men who follow Balaam's ways, you need to take note, repent and return to the Way of truth. And do not delay or rationalize, just run back to Jesus the Way.
Wycliffe Commentary adds that
WHO LOVED THE WAGES OF UNRIGHTEOUSNESS: os misthon adikias egaphesen (3SAAI): (2Pe 2:13)
Balaam was a "man who had no objection to wickedness as long as he was paid for it" (Phillips) and who "loved the reward of wickedness" (Amp).
Loved (25) (agapao [word study]) defines a love not as much out of affection as out of a decision of one's will, a love which is willing to sacrifice self for the "benefit" of the recipient (in this case their paychecks).
Like Balaam these men loved money and were willing to pursue it even "sacrificially" instead of obeying God (see Balaam's story especially in Nu 22:5-24:25).
Balaam also taught immorality...
The wages of sin are death (Romans 6:23-note) and so Balaam paid for his false teaching with his life...
In summary, the false teachers have left the biblical way and have gone into Balaam's error--mercenary greed and sexual impurity, the wages of which ultimately is eternal death away from the presence of God.
Wuest - Balaam was the hireling prophet who commercialized his gift. These false teachers were in the profession for the money they could get out of it. (Wuest, K. S. Wuest's Word Studies from the Greek New Testament: Eerdmans)
He was bent on cursing Israel, though God had forbidden it. He wanted the money the Moabite king Balak offered him. Similarly these false teachers apparently were guilty of attempting to extract money from naive listeners.
Misthos is used in two general senses in the NT, either to refer to wages or to reward, recognition or recompense. In this latter figurative usage, misthos refers to rewards which God bestows for the moral quality of an action, such rewards most often to be bestowed in eternity future.
Some uses as in this present passage in 2Peter refer to "wages" obtained through iniquity, similar to the "wages" paid to Judas for his betrayal of Christ (see Acts 1:18).
Although Paul does not use misthos in the following passage, the principle of spiritual reaping clearly is related to rewards both here and in the future...
Jesus associates rewards with giving, fasting and praying teaching that are dependent upon one's motive (Mt 6:1; 6:2; 6:5; 6:16-see notes Mt 6:1; 6:2; 6:5; 6:16). Note especially future rewards for having suffered for the Name of Christ in this life (Mt 5:12-note; Lk 6:23).
Here are the 29 uses of misthos in the NT...
Here are the 40 uses of misthos in the Septuagint (LXX) (Gen. 15:1; 29:15; 30:18, 28, 32f; 31:7f, 41; Exod. 2:9; 22:15; Lev. 19:13; Num. 18:31; Deut. 15:18; 24:14f; Ruth 2:12; 1 Ki. 5:6; 2 Chr. 15:7; Job 7:2; Ps. 127:3; Prov. 11:18, 21; 17:8; Eccl. 4:9; 9:5; Isa. 23:18; 40:10; 62:11; Jer. 22:13; 31:16; Ezek. 27:15, 27, 33; 29:18f; Mic. 3:11; Hag. 1:6; Zech. 8:10; 11:12; Mal. 3:5) Below are some instructive uses of misthos in the Old Testament (Lxx)...
Unrighteousness (93) (adikia [word study] from a = not + dikê = right) is a condition of not being right, whether with God, according to the standard of His holiness and righteousness or with man, according to the standard of what man knows to be right by his conscience.
Adikia - 25x in 24v - Luke 13:27; 16:8f; 18:6; John 7:18; Acts 1:18; 8:23; Rom 1:18, 29; 2:8; 3:5; 6:13; 9:14; 1 Cor 13:6; 2 Cor 12:13; 2 Thess 2:10, 12; 2 Tim 2:19; Heb 8:12; Jas 3:6; 2 Pet 2:13, 15; 1 John 1:9; 5:17. NAS = doing wrong(1), evildoers(1), iniquities(1), iniquity(2), injustice(1), unrighteous(2), unrighteousness(12), wickedness(4), wrong(1).
In secular Greek adikia referred to unjust acts, or to deeds which caused personal injury. Rather than a general concept of injustice, this word was taken, in the writings of Plato, to mean an unjust act which injures a specific person. Such an act was not necessarily a violation of some specific law, but rather an affront against the just order of society. Among the acts which fell into this category were theft, fraud, and sexual crimes. Later this word came to mean a neglect of duty toward the pagan gods. The Septuagint (LXX) used this word to describe social sins, those deeds which violated human relations or the political order of society. Among these injustices were deceit, fraud, and lying.
Unrighteousness is simple straightforward terms is loving sin more than loving God and His truth. Unrighteousness is costly for as Scripture and experience have proven, love of this present world is often the cause of apostasy from the Truth. Balaam's business card could have read "Prophet for hire" [cf Nu 22:17].
Balaam reminds one of Demas who seemed to start well but who ended in love with the world
Amplified: But he was rebuked for his own transgression when a dumb beast of burden spoke with human voice and checked the prophet’s madness. (Amplified Bible - Lockman)
NET: yet was rebuked for his own transgression (a dumb donkey, speaking with a human voice, restrained the prophet's madness). (NET Bible)
NLT: But Balaam was stopped from his mad course when his donkey rebuked him with a human voice. (NLT - Tyndale House)
New Jerusalem Bible: [but soon had his fault pointed out to him] a dumb beast of burden, speaking with a human voice, put a stop to the madness of the prophet. (NJB)
Phillips: But he, you remember, was sharply reprimanded for his wickedness - by a donkey, of all things, speaking with a human voice to check the prophet's wicked infatuation! (Phillips: Touchstone)
Wuest: but was the recipient of an effectual rebuke for his own lawlessness; the inarticulate beast of burden, having spoken in a man's voice, restrained the insanity of the prophet. (Eerdmans)
Young's Literal: and had a rebuke of his own iniquity -- a dumb ass, in man's voice having spoken, did forbid the madness of the prophet.
|HE RECEIVED A REBUKE FOR HIS OWN TRANSGRESSION: elegxin de eschen (3SAAI) idias paranomias: (Torrey's Topic on Reproof)
On his way to "sell out" to the Moabite king Balak, Balaam was rebuked by his donkey, who saw what Balaam could not see--a the Angel of the LORD with drawn sword standing in the path (read Nu 22:22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35, 28).
Rebuke (1649) (elegxis from elegcho [word study] = bring to the light thus exposing) is "an expression of strong disapproval" (BDAG) and in this solitary NT use refers to the rebuking of a sinner. Specifically elegxis describes the donkey's "sharp reprimand" (Phillips) or the bringing of Balaam's transgression to the light, rebuking him so as to compel him to see and admit the error of his ways. Wuest describes Balaam as" the recipient of an effectual rebuke" although it was not sufficiently effective so as to change Balaam's subsequent course of action in which he advised the Moabite king how to lead Israel's men astray.
Rebuke means far more than flinging angry and condemning words at a man. It means speaking in such a way that he sees the error of his ways and accepts the truth.
Other than Balaam's donkey, one of the most famous rebukes is Nathan's rebuke of David which opened his eyes to his sin, which in turn brought repentance (2Sa 12:1-14).
The rebuke of God then (and even of Balaam's donkey) is not so much a punishment as an illumination, and in that sense it is clear manifestation of God's lovingkindnesses and compassion. Men who walk in darkness refuse to walk in the light of rebuke as Jesus teaches in John's Gospel...
As alluded to above, Balaam's subsequent actions proved there was no genuine repentance (godly sorrow) and as a result the prophet ends his notorious career with an ignominious death (Nu 31:8).
There is a lesson in Balaam's life for all of us. No one, regardless of the real or perceived "greatness" of their spiritual giftedness, is immune from falling if they forsake God's revealed will for their own temporal advantage. Balaam appears to have known God and certainly had the gift of prophecy for despite his self-willed compromise, he was given marvelous divine revelation, uttering amazing prophecies that would be brought to fulfillment by God many centuries later. Yet, frustrated in his desire to advance his own position and wealth, and to promote his own people against God's chosen people, he then counseled the Moabites to (Revelation 2:14-note) "put a stumbling block (see study of this interesting Greek word - skandalon) before the sons of Israel (the result being to tempt them) to eat things sacrificed to idols, and to commit acts of immorality" with the Moabite women (Read this tragic story in Nu 25:1ff 31:16). He sought to destroy by a stumbling block those whom he could not destroy by might.
In this passage Peter teaches us another important spiritual principle -- When we are reproved we should not be concerned about the source of the rebuke. In other words we do not need to ask whether it is a friend or an enemy that reproves us. Most importantly we should not discount the reproof as invalid just because it is from an adversary. God will often speak to us through those who oppose us even as He used the pagan king Abimelech to rebuke Abraham for lying about his wife Sarai (see Genesis 20:1-18).
An enemy is often of greater value to us than a friend because the enemy is not influenced by sympathy. Balaam's donkey was hardly sympathetic having himself almost been beaten to death! Keep your heart open to the correction of the Lord and be ready to receive His chastisement regardless of who holds the whip (exception -- if your pets begin to reproof you verbally, I would suggest that it is time for a visit to your physician!).
Trench adds that elegxis (elegchos)
Paranomia is not just a general term for wrongdoing but refers to the violation of a specific law, regulation, established custom or ordinance. Balaam acted contrary to and disobeyed the law with the implication of his having a clear intent to disobey.
TDNT says paranomia denotes...
Friberg says paranomia is
This is the only NT use of paranomia but there are 3 in the (Pr 10:26 and the two below)...
Wuest says that the possessive pronoun own
FOR A DUMB DONKEY SPEAKING WITH A VOICE OF A MAN: hupozugion aphonon en anthropou phone phthegxamenon (AMPNSN):
Dumb (880) (aphonos from "a" =without + phone = voice) means literally voiceless or not having the power of speech and spoken of beasts. As Balaam went to curse the children of Israel for money (if he could) "he was rebuked for his wrongdoing by a donkey--a beast without speech."
Donkey (5268) (hupozugion from hupó = under + zugós = a yoke) is literally an animal under a yoke and so a beast of burden such as a donkey.
Speaking (5350) (phtheggomai) means to sound a tone and so to speak or utter a word, putting sounds together to communicate something to someone else. How ironic a dumb beast speaking to a (spiritually) insane brute beast.
According to Rienecker phtheggomai is "especially used of a portentous prophetic utterance."
The aorist tense of phtheggomai marks this as a past completed event. Peter thus confirms the historicity of the remarkable miracle without hesitation or reservation.
Peter's acceptance of the literal event is in contrast to many commentators today who feel this was not literally a donkey speaking but reflected Balaam's disturbed conscience. Why would it be any more difficult for God to speak through this animal then it was for him to suddenly cause new languages to be spoken by men at Pentecost? Or to suddenly stop men from talking in a given language and cause them to begin to speak in another as at the tower of Babel? Actually, according to the account in Nu 22:22-35, the rebuke is twofold: first from the donkey, then from the Angel of the LORD (most probably the pre-incarnate Christ - see Angel of the LORD). Ironically the dumb animal had more "spiritual" perception than the prophet!
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GOD, DONKEYS AND US: Pastor Gumercindo rides a donkey as he travels from village to village in Brazil and preaches the gospel. According to author Don Hare, the traveling evangelist fell asleep in the saddle on his return home after a tiring day. A couple of hours later he was rudely awakened by the roughness of the ride. His donkey had left the trail and was walking through a rocky field. At first the pastor was angry, but he calmed down when he saw that they were almost back to his village.
When he arrived at his church, he learned that friends had gathered to pray for his safety. A rancher who hated the gospel had sent some men to attack him at a bend in the trail. They thanked God for causing the donkey to take a shortcut home.
Centuries ago, God used another donkey. This one miraculously spoke and saved the life of Balaam, a disobedient, money-hungry prophet (Numbers 22:21-35). God got his attention, and Balaam took the Lord's message to Moab.
God cares for us and He will carry out His good plans for us, even if He has to use animals and rebellious people to do so. How has God spoken to you or cared for you through unusual circumstances? What reasons do you have to praise Him for His protection and leading? —Herbert Vander Lugt (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)
My times are in my Father's hand;
RESTRAINED THE MADNESS OF THE PROPHET: ekolusen (3SAAI) ten tou prophetou paraphronian: (Ecclesiastes 7:25; 9:3; Hosea 9:7; Lk 16:11; Acts 26:11 Acts 26:24,25)
Restrained (2967) (koluo from kolazo = literally to cut off, hinder, prevent, then to chastise or correct, moderate) means to prevent. To keep something from happening. To Keep back something from someone (Acts 10:47) To forbid (Lk 18:16). Jesus commands to not hinder children from coming to Him.
Vine - "to hinder, restrain, withhold, forbid" (akin to kolos, "docked, lopped, clipped"), is most usually translated "to forbid," often an inferior rendering to that of hindering or restraining, e.g., 1Thessalonians 2:16 ; Luke 23:2 ; 2Peter 2:16 , where the RV has "stayed;" in Acts 10:47 "forbid." In Luke 6:29 , the RV has "withhold not (thy coat also)."
Friberg - (1) of persons hinder, prevent, forbid (Lk 18.16); (2) of things restrain, forbid, prevent (1Ti 4.3); (3) as keeping back something from someone refuse, deny, withhold (Acts 10.47)
BDAG (summary) 1. to keep something from happening, hinder, prevent, forbid a. in relation to persons - in relation to things hinder, prevent, forbid. something 2. keep something back, refuse, deny, withhold, keep back - Ac 10:47.
Koluo - 23x in 23v - NAS = forbid(2), forbidden(1), forbidding(1), forbids(1), hinder(5), hindered(1), hindering(1), kept(1), prevent(3), prevented(2), prevents(1), refuse(1), restrained(1), stand in...way(1), withhold(1).
In Balaam's case his way was literally blocked off but it was by the Angel of the LORD (study) not the donkey and Balaam's "progress" was hindered. Unfortunately he never came to his spiritual senses and ultimately he reaped death for sowing evil. Balaam is an illustration of the character of these greedy false teachers in 2 Peter and a preview of their future judgment. Woe!
Madness (3913) (paráphronia from pará = beside + phronéo = to think) means literally to think beside. It describes one who is beside (para) oneself or out of one’s mind, being apart or away from right thinking and so one whose actions are insanity or folly. The picture conveyed by the combined Greek word is that of "being beside one's wits" (Robertson).
Balaam is not stamped as insane but as exhibiting a moral perversity and senseless folly in going contrary to the command of God.
BKC - The false teachers, like Balaam, had sinned so long and so intensely that their sin had become a form of insanity. Also today many people have so thoroughly given themselves over to avarice and debauchery that their lifestyles are spiritually insane. Money and sex (even in the name of religion) continue to bring spiritual ruin to many people. This is “the error of Balaam” (Jude 1:11) (Walvoord, J. F., Zuck, R. B., et al: The Bible Knowledge Commentary. 1985. Victor)
Prophet (4396) (prophetes from pró = before or forth + phemí = tell) was a person in the OT who spoke under divine influence and inspiration, foretelling future events (as Balaam did) or exhorting, reproving, and threatening of individuals or nations as the ambassador of God and the interpreter of His will to men. Hence the prophet spoke not his own thoughts but what he received from God, retaining, however, his own consciousness and self–possession.