But I can't quite decide how I feel about the man. The king of the Moabites, Balak, called Balaam to pronounce curses on the Israelites.
Nothing strange about that. Israel's kings called in God's prophets, to hear God's word on the subject of their enemies. At times, the prophet didn't say what the king wanted to hear, any more than Balak wanted Balaam to bless Israel four separate times.
Balak refused to pay Balaam, since he had failed to deliver. The man suffered for doing God's will.
Up to this point, Balak sounds like a hero to me. Yes, he was willing to accompany Balak, to accept his money, but in the end, he gave God's message.
Definite hero material.
That part of the story is left out of Numbers. Perhaps greedy for the money Balak had promised him, Balaam pulled him aside. "I can't curse the Israelites. God won't let me. But this is what you can do to get them to bring God's anger on them all on their own. . ." And he outlined his plan for the Moabite women to seduce the Israelite men. It worked brilliantly, and 24,000 people died.
Almost a hero . . . but he failed in the end.
No wonder Joshua and the Israelites killed him when the conquered the promised land.