But was the donkeys owner, Balaam, even a true prophet of God?
Check out Numbers chapters 22-24 for the whole story. I’m going to share my opinion on the question above.
After reviewing the account of Balaam and the other biblical texts mentioning him(Numbers. 31:8, 16; Deut. 23:4-5; Josh. 24:9-10; 2 Pet. 2:15-16; Jude 11; Rev. 2:14), I believe that the best way to describe Balaam is a spiritual mercenary. It seems clear that he buckled to political pressure and saw great honor and fortune to be gained if he went along with Balaks plan to curse the Israelites. Balaam received clear opposition from God, but went to meet Balak anyway. I believe God’s permission in Numbers 22:20 was to prove what was truly in Balaam’s heart. He truly didn’t care that God already forbade him to go. Balaam likely was excited for what he could gain even if he wasn’t giving Balak what he wanted. We are shown his heart’s when he is rebuked by his donkey and told by the Angel of the LORD that his way is perverse. I think it is clear that Balaam did not have a desire to follow God’s will. What is curious though, is why anyone thought he was a prophet of God to begin with. What was his track record previously that gave him the title prophet? Is it possible that he was appointed by God to call the people to worship Yahweh? Was he an example of what God does in a nation so that their iniquity is complete as God spoke of the Amorites to Abraham in Genesis 15:16? Had Balaam been used by God for that purpose earlier but had since gone astray to seek fortunes for his services? I believe some of the New Testament passages referencing Balaam lendspeak credence since they speak of prophets or leaders in the church going astray in the same manner. I believe Balaam likely was a prophet used by God but at the time of our story had since gone astray and sought after monetary gain and political honor.