Did prophecy of Balaam foretell star?

Balaam is listed among those who prophesied of the Messiah's coming. His prophecy, however, is unique among those of the Old Testament.

In Jesus the Christ, Elder James E. Talmage observed: "Much has been written . . . concerning the visit of the magi, or wise men, who thus sought and found the infant Christ. . . . Attempts have been made to identify the star whose appearance in their eastern sky had assured the magi that the King was born; but astronomy furnished no satisfactory confirmation. The recorded appearance of the star has been associated by both ancient and modern interpreters with the prophecy of Balaam, who, though not an Israelite, had blessed Israel, and under divine inspiration had predicted: `there shall come a Star out of Jacob, and a Sceptre shall rise out of Israel.' " (Num. 24:17.)The Book of Mormon contains Samuel the Lamanite's prophecy of a "new star" as a sign of the Savior's birth. (Hel. 14:5.) The Nephite nation saw that new star when the Savior was born. (3 Ne. 1:21.) Elder Bruce R. McConkie noted that there is "no comparable Messianic prophecy in the Bible as we now have it. The nearest allusion to such is found in the prophecy of Balaam. . . . " (New Testament Commentary 1:103.)

Subscribe for free and get daily or weekly updates straight to your inbox
The three things you need to know everyday
Highlights from the last week to keep you informed