"I have sinned, for I did not know." Numbers 22:34
Whenever the Torah tells us a story, it is for practical application into our own lives, and we should take
the time to reflect on the story and apply it.
The wicked prophet Balaam set out on a journey to go and curse Yahveh’s people. The donkey he was
riding stopped in its tracks three times because an angel, unseen by Balaam, was blocking the road. Finally the angel became
visible to Balaam and it became obvious that the angel was trying to stop him on his mission. So Balaam cried out that he
sinned inadvertently because he didn't know that there was something wrong with his plan at the time. However, if Balaam really
didn't know that his mission was wrong, why was it considered a sin?
Balaam should have known. He should have detected from his donkey's unusual behavior, stopping three times
for no reason, that Yahveh was sending him a message. We are held accountable for things that we should know. Not knowing
is not a license to do wrong, especially if we should know. When in doubt of the correctness of our
action, we should either ask or perhaps temporarily refrain from doing anything until we find out the correct way to go about
it. This is something practical for all of us to learn from Balaam.