I'm going to assume you're familiar with the narrative of Numbers 22-24. Balak, son of Zippor, king of Moab (Joshua 24:9), tries to hire the services of a seer named Balaam. Balak believes that Balaam's words have power (22:6), and he wants Balaam to aim those words at his enemy: Israel.
The whole Balak/Balaam saga is a study in paganism vs. Yahwism. The pagan worldview is that the gods can be handled, "worked," manipulated to serve us and our will.
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