Josephus 7 paraphrases the story more suo, and speaks of Balaam as the best prophet of his time, but with a disposition ill adapted to resist temptation.
With equal frankness Balaam replied that, though he had come now, he had no power to say anything but what Elohim might put into his mouth.
According to J, Balaam was among his own people the BneAmmon when Balak sent messengers to him with presents such as soothsayers generally received, asking him to come and curse a people that had come up out of Egypt.
Yahweh is as much the God of Balaam as he is of Moses.
But Elohim came to Balaam by night and forbade him to go.
A second and still more influential embassy having been sent, Elohim again appeared by night, and this time permitted Balaam to go on condition that he said nothing but what Elohim bade him say.
Nevertheless Balaam sets out with two servants to go to Balak, but the Angel of Yahweh meets him.
Taking the narratives as we now have them, Balaam is a companion figure to Jonah, the prophet who wanted to go where he was not sent, over against the prophet who ran away from the mission to which he was called.
Thereupon, instead of cursing the Israelites, Balaam blessed them.
The chief significance of the Balaam narratives for the history of the religion of Israel is the recognition by J and E of the genuine inspiration of a non-Hebrew prophet.