Why did Balak consult the elders of Midyan and not the king?
Ramban #1 (citing the Ibn Ezra): The five elders of Midyan were in fact, the kings. 1
Ramban #2: For the advice they were seeking, 2 they needed to ask the elders, who would have known best who Moshe was, and not the kings.
Ramban: Initially, Midyan had kings, only Sichon fought with them and subjugated them, removing their sovereignty, turning Midyan into a vassal state and relegating them to the status of judges. 3
Rashi (Bereishis 36:35) writes that Midyan and Mo'av were enemies. If so, why did Balak consult the elders of Midyan?
Rashi (from Sanhedrin 105a): Out of a common fear of Yisrael, they made peace and joined forces. And the reason that Balak consulted them was because Moshe had grown up in Midyan and that they would therefore know how to handle him.
Targum Yonasan: Mo'av and Midyan were one nation with one king up to that time.
What is the significance of Balak's comparison of Yisrael to an ox licking the grass?
What are the connotations of "ba'Eis ha'Hi"?
Rashi: Balak was not in line to be a king. He was a noble of Midyan. Mo'av appointed him then out of necessity. 1
Ramban #1: Refer to 22:2:1:2.
Ramban #2: Based on their fear of Yisrael, Mo'av did two things: (a) Acting on the advice of the elders of Midyan, they appointed Balak king; (b) Following the command of their new king, they sent to Bil'am to come and curse Yisrael. 2
Seforno: Despite the fact that the great warrior Balak was king of Mo'av at that time, he did not dare to attack Yisrael. 3
Targum Yonasan: This refers to the agreement between Midyan and Mo'av to take turns to sit on the throne.
Rashi writes that Balak was initially a noble of Midyan. His son's son (Eglon) was the father of Rus' father (Nazir 23b). If so, she was a Midyanis. Why does Yevamos 77b say that she was permitted because [the Torah forbade] "Mo'avi", and not a Mo'avis?
Moshav Zekenim citing Ri: Balak was a Mo'avi from birth. He went to Midyan and they crowned him, and later he returned to Mo'av, and they made him king at the time.
Moshav Zekenim: Rus was not literally his grandson's granddaughter 1 . There were more generations in between; she descended from a female descendant of Balak who married a Mo'avi.
Moshav Zekenim: Some texts in Nazir say that she was Eglon's daughter. This is difficult, for if so she was over 200 when she converted, and Yevamos 48b implies that she converted promptly!
Rashi writes that amidst a common fear of Yisrael, Mo'av and Midyan made peace. What is the source that Midyan feared Yisrael?
Divrei David: If they did not, Mo'av would not ask them for counsel from their enemy, lest they give a bad counsel to cause their demise. 1
Perhaps Midyan would give good counsel because they hated Yisrael more than they hated Mo'av, even if they were not afraid! Mo'av was not forced to accept their counsel. They can decide whether or not it is good! Below, Rashi says that Midyan entered the feud without any reason (refer to 31:2:2:1)! (PF)