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BALAAM by Kiko October 24, 2008

Posted by anagasto in art, Bible.
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.Balaam01

It is a fragment of a complicated war history.

Against God’s instructions, Balaam decided to travel and on his way he was stopped by an angel that he could not see.
But his donkey saw the angel and refused to move.
So Balaam beat her up (it was a she-donkey) and still she refused to move.

→ → Versión en español http://anagasto.wordpress.com/2009/12/07/balaam/

Kiko made a great song B a l a a m by Kiko →→ Song and lyrics by Kiko on Youtube
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the donkey of balaam…..

…… Suddenly God allowed her to speak.
And the donkey reproached her master for beating her and showed him the angel that he had not seen. —

English …. Greek ….. Hebrew ….. Latin

German ….. French ….. Spanish ….. Italian ….. Russian

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Map of Israel in about 830 bC

published by Briangotts at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Levant_830.png under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.

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balaam-and-the-angel

This painting is from the underground burial tunnels called catacombs on the Via Latina in Rome.

Below is a version by Rembrandt painted about 400 years ago, published by Wikipedia :

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balaam-by-rembrandt

The picture is in public domain at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Rembrandt_Harmensz._van_Rijn_122.jpg

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© ghD

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And Doré, below, also drew Balaam and his donkey and put in all of his romantic drama though the text is factual and quiet.

The text says how the angel stood in the donkey’s way, and the donkey tried to get around the angel, but there were walls on both sides of the path.

So she refused to go any further, and when Balaam beat her up, she began to speak. —

balaam and his donkey meeting the angel

Balaam was powerful and well known in the region where he lived.

He was not a prophet, but a fortune-teller, and God gave him the power of prophecy only once, after the encounter with the angel, to frustrate the plans of a king who wanted to go to war against Israel.

The drawing by Doré is in public domain at http://catholic-resources.org/Dore/Images/OT-045-med.jpg

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balaam on his donkey saulieu

Here he is again with his donkey  sculpted to fit the design of a capital in the cathedral of Saulieu, but on the whole  there is not much about him on the internet.

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There are landscape studies where the angel and Balaam are small figures somewhere in the foreground of a large scene:

by Hans Bol to be seen at  http://www.1st-art-gallery.com/Hans-Bol/

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by Bartholomeus Breenbergh, in public domain at Wikipedia

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I did find something that I wasn’t looking for,  pretty carvings of the Flight to Egypt.
Wood must be easier to carve than stone.

changed-flight-to-egypt1

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I must add that The Flight to Egypt is not part of the Balaam story, but people invariably come to this post to see the Flight to Egypt.

The stone relief is at Autun cathedral in France, was photographed by Cancre
“in base ai termini delle licenze C C Attribuzione-Condividi allo stesso modo 3.0 Unported, 2.5 Generico, 2.0 Generico e 1.0 Generico”
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And next I found these two: a little guy who looks so very tired  holding up an arch at the cathedral of Reims, France:

holding up an arch reims

Basilisque St-Remi, Reims at http://www.paradoxplace.com/. It is a large online collection of cathedral art published by Adrian Fletcher.

More specifically, look up http://www.paradoxplace.com/Photo%20Pages/France/Burgundy%20Champagne/Reims/Basilique_Saint_Remy/Basilique_San_Remy.htm
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And two men fighting on horseback:

tn_duel

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There are  cartoon versions of the Balaam story:

Balaam and donkey cartoon

http://www.touchoffire.com/nb.html

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Balaam and his donkey

and there he was as part of  a matching game at http://www.biblebios.com/bible_stories/matching.htm

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SAULIEU balaam ânesse

This is the same Balaam as above from a pillar of Saulieu cathedral, but it is photographed from a different angle to show all three faces: the donkey’s, Balaam’s and the angel’s.
In sculpture — and also in architecture —  the camera re-defines the work:

See http://www.paradoxplace.com/Photo%20Pages/France/Burgundy%20Champagne/Saulieu/Saulieu.htm.

Postscript 2008

I can’t find any reference for the top photo, the green picture, probably a metal relief.
I remember it was from a French catechesis site.
Could some reader maybe say where it came from? >>>>

December 2012 That Balaam picture is from http://catechese.free.fr/Im/
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>>>> >>>  Over to socrates-plato-aristotle-timeline

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Comments»

1. nutcracker34 - January 29, 2008

You can’t turn a Bible story into a little fable with a moral point. They were originally histories. They say what happened, but not why.

A typical history book does the same, and of course all newspapers. There is a sequence of events, but not necessarily a moral code to explain the sequence.

2. cantueso - January 31, 2008

You are right, nutknacker.

3. Rags35 - February 19, 2008

I’ll tell you what: the story means nothing, is just yet another one of ludicrous nebulae that are spun by the few to bamboozle the many. You might as well consider them part of witchcraft, and if you find yourself in need of advice from beyond the stratosphere, put some tea leaves in hot water and let them sink to the bottom of the glass. The Cosmic Truth is in those tea leaves. Sigh.
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To Rags35
It is a sequence. Or, if you prefer: Can you see it as a sequence, with one thing following from the other? Then you have already seen some sort of logic there. That’s almost as good as seeing the point of the story.

4. stella35 - January 3, 2009

I have been wondering why the author insists that it was a “she donkey”. Isn’t that very strange?

5. cantueso - January 3, 2009

To Stella:

I don’t know any Hebrew, but it could be the way it is in other languages and the way it is also in English with “cow” and “bull”, that the male and the female animal are not called the same. And then the translator did not have an exact equivalent and felt he had to write “she donkey”.

6. Jimmy_rs - May 14, 2011

It says that Balaam was a very influential sorcerer who made his services available on a freelance basis and so, when the Israelites were about to cross the Jordan river, the king of Moab asked him to intervene. But what is a freelance basis?

7. 223remote - May 14, 2011

“The Bible is full of interest. It has noble poetry in it; and some clever fables; and some blood-drenched history; and some good morals; and a wealth of obscenity; and upwards of a thousand lies.

— Mark Twain, Letters From the Earth

cantueso - June 25, 2011

To Jimmy rs

I am sorry I didn’t see this.
Working freelance means working without contract and without any regular employer. —
Good examples are photographers and writers.

8. swarnarao - July 7, 2012

very nice

9. encore2 - December 23, 2012

J’ai vu “Balaam” à http://catechese.free.fr/Im/Balaam01.jpg. C’est donc bien le vôtre?

10. cantueso - December 23, 2012

à Encore2

Merci beaucoup!
Il fallait donc voir en franÇcais, même pour retrouver une image! Je n’y avais pas pensé.


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