Bible study 139 – Numbers 22Posted: February 19, 2017
STEP OUTLINE FOR THE PROPOSED FILM “ADVENTURES OF BALAAM THE SEER”
PART 1 OF 3
BY (blanked out)
Editor’s comments: Thank you for the outline, (blanked out). Your concept is interesting, but several things need to be fixed before this can be made into a proper movie script.
SCENE 1: MOUNT BAMOTH-BAAL, MOAB
The scene is overlooking the Israelites in the country below. Balak of Zippor is frightened of the Israelites moving across his Moab country. He consults with the elders of Midian, and eventually sends messengers to the seer Balaam son of Beor in Syria for help.
Good start! The story’s context and direction is made clear, and the stage is set. One question: Why does Balak consult with the Midians? Isn’t Midian far away, by the Gulf of Aqaba?
SCENE 2: BALAAM’S RESIDENCE IN PELETH, SYRIA
Balak’s men arrive, and ask Balaam to come with them to curse the Israelites so that Balak can defeat them. Balaam confers with God, who commands him neither to go nor to curse them. Balaam sends the messengers back.
The outline of this makes sense, but why can Balaam “confer with God”? If he’s not an Israelite, shouldn’t he worship some other god? In either case, certainly a foreigner can’t speak directly to Yahweh?
SCENE 3: BALAAM’S RESIDENCE IN PELETH, SYRIA
The messengers return with promises of great rewards. Balaam responds that the rewards are unimportant, but confers with God. God now suggests a deceptive scheme, in which Balaam travels to Balak under the guise of helping him, but will follow God’s commands anyway.
God both changes his mind, and tries to deceive the Moabs? This seems out-of-character. Still, nice twist.
SCENE 4: ON THE ROAD BETWEEN PELETH AND MOAB
Balaam rides his donkey on the road. But God is angry because Balaam is travelling to Balak, and sends an angel with a sword to stop him. What??? Didn’t God explicitly ask him to go in the previous scene?? The angel is invisible to Balaam, but not to the donkey, which veers off the road. Once past the angel, Balaam strikes the donkey to get back on the road. This happens twice more, except each time there is less space on the sides for the donkey to pass the angel. OK, I feel like we’re getting sidetracked from the main storyline here… The third time, the space is so small that the donkey just sits down, and Balaam strikes it again. Then God makes the donkey speak, ???????? asking what the donkey has ever done to Balaam. Balaam agrees that he has treated the donkey badly. Back to the main story!! God makes Balaam see the angel, who admonishes Balaam for striking the donkey, since it saved his life by avoiding the angel. The angel then asks Balaam to continue to Balak. Then why did he try to stop him in the first place?? This scene is incredibly convoluted, and doesn’t’ fit into the overall story at all! What is the message supposed to be? And what the (blanked out) is up with the talking donkey??? Did you just steal this part from some other story or something?
SCENE 5: IR-MOAB, BY MOAB’S EASTERN BORDER
Balak meets Balaam. Balaam asks Balak to prepare sacrificed oxen and sheep for the next day.
Good, now we’re back to the fight against the Israelites, which should be the main thrust of the film.
END OF PART 1
Overall, this doesn’t work as a lead-in to the other parts; most of it is too unrelated. Really, I think the whole donkey-part has to go. Maybe merge part 1 and 2?
But the donkey said to Balaam, “Am I not your donkey, which you have ridden all your life to this day? Have I been in the habit of treating you this way?” And he said, “No.”