The Balaam narratives are considered a source of fascination by many because of the comical tale of Balaam and his donkey. The narratives will however reveal more to the reader willing to engage with the text. May Balaam, despite his unsavoury reputation, be considered a real prophet and will this determination impact on the finding of verse 17 as a messianic prophecy? Current literary work and scholarly articles available were studied and dialogical and comparative methods used to summarise current views and debates relating to these questions.