1. "And Balak the son of Tzipor saw" (Bemidbar 22:2). Rabbi Shimon said, He "saw." What did he see? HE RESPONDS: It is definitely a real vision. He perceived through the gaze of Chochmah and he saw with his eyes, MEANING THE EYES OF CHOCHMAH. He noticed through the perception of wisdom, as it says that "Abimelech, king of the Philistines looked out at a window" (Beresheet 26:8). What is the meaning of: "out at a window?" It is as it is written: "The mother of Sisera looked out at the window" (Shoftim 5:28). It is assuredly the window of Chochmah at the rim of the edges of the stars. THAT IS THE WINDOW THAT IS MENTIONED WITH REFERENCE TO SISERA'S MOTHER AND ABIMELECH, and these are the windows TO Chochmah, MEANING THAT THERE EXIST MANY WINDOWS and there is one window where all wisdom are. Whoever looks at the essence of wisdom can look through it. Here too: "And Balak...saw" through his wisdom, MEANING HIS OWN PRIVATE WINDOW.
2. "The son of Tzipor" is as they said, THAT HE WAS A DESCENDANT OF JETHRO WHO WAS ALSO CALLED 'TZIPOR.' However, he was literally "the son of Tzipor (lit. 'bird')," MEANING THAT ALL HIS DEALINGS WERE WITH BIRDS, since his witchcraft dealt with different kinds of that bird. He took a bird, struck about with grass, and let it fly in the air. He performed acts and whispered incantations, and the bird would return with the grass in its mouth, chirping at him. He would then put her into a cage and burn incense before her, and she would inform him certain things. He would then perform witchcraft and that fowl, MEANING THE BIRD, chirped and flew swiftly to the one whose eyes were open, who gave her his message, and she would return. All his words came through that bird.
212. "And Balak...saw" (Bemidbar 22:1): Rabbi Elazar said, Certainly what Rabbi Chiya said ABOUT THIS VERSE: "BALAK THE SON OF TZIPOR (LIT. 'BIRD')" is a concealed matter. However, it is written: "Even the sparrow has found a home, and the swallow a nest for herself" (Tehilim 84:4). HE ASKS: Did King David then say this about a mere PHYSICAL bird?
222. Come and see what is written: "And Balak the son of Tzipor saw." Why the difference that his father's name is mentioned rather than the rest of the other kings OF MIDIAN WHO DID NOT HAVE THEIR FATHER'S NAMES MENTIONED? HE RESPONDS: It is only because Jethro drew himself away and was removed from idol worship, and he together with his children approached Yisrael to join with them. The whole world excommunicated him and persecuted him.
223. Balak was from the descendants OF JETHRO and deviated from the ways of his father. When the elders of Moab and the elders of Midian, who were friends in their idol worship, saw that Jethro and his descendants adhered to the Shechinah, this one distanced himself from them. They came and crowned him king over them at that time, as it is written: "And Balak the son of Tzipor was king of Moab at that time." At that time, he was the king, something that he was not before then. Therefore, it is written: "the son of Tzipor" THAT ALLUDES TO JETHRO WHO WAS CALLED 'TZIPOR' TO INDICATE that it was not proper to do so, BECAUSE HE WAS FROM THE DESCENDANTS OF JETHRO CALLED 'TZIPOR.' HE INQUIRES: It says, "And Balak...saw," but it should have said 'heard.' What is the meaning here of: "saw?" HE RESPONDS: He saw a vision and he knew that he will fall into the hands of Yisrael. Yisrael will first fall into his hands and only afterward would he fall into Yisrael's hands. That is the reason it says: "And Balak the son of Tzipor saw."
287. "And said, 'What men are these with you'" (Bemidbar 22:9): That was his own level of the left side that needed to ask, BECAUSE IT DIDN'T KNOW. Although the friends remarked on this differently, they indicated that the Holy One, blessed be He, was testing him with His words, because there were three WHO ELOHIM PUT TO A TEST. One was Hezekiah, one was Ezekiel and one was Bilaam. Two of them did not stand up to the test properly and one did. Who was it? That was Ezekiel, as it is written THAT THE HOLY ONE, BLESSED BE HE, ASKED HIM, "Can these bones live?" (Yechezkel 37:3). And he answered, "And I answered, Hashem, Elohim You know" (Ibid.) Hezekiah said: "They are come from a far country, from Babylon" (II Melachim 20:14). Bilaam said, "Balak the son of Tzipor, king of Moab, has sent to me" (Bemidbar 22:10) TO SHOW THAT he is important in the eyes of rulers and kings. HOWEVER, the Holy One, blessed be He, simply asked him in order to mislead him and allow him to err, as it is written: "He makes nations great and destroys them" (Iyov 12:23). And this has been explained.
292. "And Bilaam said to the Elohim, 'Balak the son of Tzipor, king of Moab...'" (Bemidbar 22:10). He mentioned the king of Moab TO SHOW THAT an important king sent for him. "King of Moab," indeed! Look at the arrogance of that wicked man, because it is written THAT HE SAID king of Moab instead of A KING over Moab, WHICH SHOULD HAVE indicated a person who is not worthy to be a king, but became a king over Moab FOR SOME REASON. Of the first KING, it is written: "Who had fought against the former king of Moab" (Bemidbar 21:26). IT DOES NOT REFER TO THE FIRST KING AS A KING OVER MOAB, AS IT IS WRITTEN: "AND BALAK THE SON OF TZIPOR WAS KING OVER MOAB" (BEMIDBAR 22:4), DUE TO THE FACT THAT THE EARLIER KING WAS a king, the son of a king, royalty descended from royalty. However, about this one, IT IS WRITTEN: "BALAK THE SON OF TZIPOR was king over Moab." The scripture testifies, "king over Moab" - THAT HE WAS NOT DISTINGUISHED, BUT BILAAM SAID TO ELOHIM, "BALAK THE SON OF TZIPOR, KING OF MOAB." Here, I remarked that he intended to give pride to his arrogant heart, SAYING LOOK HOW all the royalty of the world send me messengers.
397. "And Balak the son of Tzipor saw..." Rabbi Yosi opened the discussion with the verse: "Do not eat the bread of him who has an evil eye" (Mishlei 23:6). That applies to Bilaam, WHO WAS EVIL-EYED, and he blessed Yisrael. "Nor desire his dainties" (Ibid.) applies to Balak, for whose burnt offerings that he offered before Him, the Holy One, blessed be He, had no desire.