Balak Sends for Balaam
22 Then the sons of Israel journeyed on, and camped in the plains of Moab beyond the Jordan opposite Jericho.
2 Now Balak the son of Zippor saw all that Israel had done to the Amorites. 3 So Moab was in great fear because of the people, for they were numerous; and Moab was in dread of the sons of Israel. 4 Moab said to the elders of Midian, “Now this [a]horde will eat up all that is around us, as the ox eats up the grass of the field!” And Balak the son of Zippor was king of Moab at that time. 5 So he sent messengers to Balaam the son of Beor, at Pethor, which is near the Euphrates River, in the land of the sons of his people, to call for him, saying, “Behold, a people came out of Egypt; behold, they have covered the surface of the land, and they are living opposite me. 6 Now, therefore, please come, curse this people for me since they are too [b]mighty for me; perhaps I will be able to [c]defeat them and drive them out of the land. For I know that he whom you bless is blessed, and he whom you curse is cursed.”
7 So the elders of Moab and the elders of Midian left with the fees for divination in their hands; and they came to Balaam and [d]repeated Balak’s words to him. 8 And he said to them, “Spend the night here, and I will bring word back to you just as the Lord may speak to me.” And the leaders of Moab stayed with Balaam. 9 Then God came to Balaam and said, “Who are these men with you?” 10 Balaam said to God, “Balak the son of Zippor, king of Moab, sent word to me: 11 ‘Behold, there is a people who came out of Egypt, and they cover the surface of the land; now come, curse them for me; perhaps I will be able to fight against them and drive them out.’” 12 But God said to Balaam, “Do not go with them; you shall not curse the people, for they are blessed.” 13 So Balaam got up in the morning and said to Balak’s representatives, “Go back to your land, for the Lord has refused to let me go with you.” 14 And the representatives from Moab got up and went to Balak, and said, “Balaam refused to come with us.”
15 Then Balak sent representatives once again, more numerous and more distinguished than [e]the previous. 16 They came to Balaam and said to him, “This is what Balak the son of Zippor says: ‘I beg you, let nothing keep you from coming to me; 17 for I will indeed honor you richly, and I will do whatever you tell me. Please come then, curse this people for me.’” 18 But Balaam replied to the servants of Balak, “Even if Balak were to give me his house full of silver and gold, I could not do anything, either small or great, contrary to the [f]command of the Lord my God. 19 Now please, you also stay here tonight, and I will find out what else the Lord will say to me.” 20 And God came to Balaam at night and said to him, “If the men have come to call you, rise and go with them; but you shall do only the thing that I tell you.”
21 So Balaam arose in the morning, saddled his donkey, and went with the leaders of Moab.
The Angel and Balaam
22 But God was angry that he was going, and the angel of the Lord took his stand in the road as an adversary against him. Now he was riding on his donkey, and his two servants were with him. 23 When the donkey saw the angel of the Lord standing in the road with his sword drawn in his hand, the donkey turned off from the road and went into the field; and Balaam struck the donkey to guide her back onto the road. 24 Then the angel of the Lord stood in a narrow path of the vineyards, with a stone wall on this side and on that side. 25 When the donkey saw the angel of the Lord, she pressed herself against the wall and pressed Balaam’s foot against the wall, so he struck her again. 26 Then the angel of the Lord went further, and stood in a narrow place where there was no way to turn to the right or to the left. 27 When the donkey saw the angel of the Lord, she lay down under Balaam; so Balaam was angry and struck the donkey with his staff. 28 Then the Lord opened the mouth of the donkey, and she said to Balaam, “What have I done to you, that you have struck me these three times?” 29 And Balaam said to the donkey, “It is because you have made a mockery of me! If only there had been a sword in my hand! For I would have killed you by now!” 30 But the donkey said to Balaam, “Am I not your donkey on which you have ridden all your life to this day? Have I ever been in the habit of doing such a thing to you?” And he said, “No.”
31 Then the Lord opened Balaam’s eyes, and he saw the angel of the Lord standing in the way with his sword drawn in his hand; and he bowed [g]all the way to the ground. 32 Then the angel of the Lord said to him, “Why have you struck your donkey these three times? Behold, I have come out as an adversary, because your way was reckless and contrary to me. 33 But the donkey saw me and turned away from me these three times. If she had not turned away from me, I certainly would have killed you just now, and let her live.” 34 So Balaam said to the angel of the Lord, “I have sinned, for I did not know that you were standing in the way against me. Now then, if it is displeasing to you, I will turn back.” 35 But the angel of the Lord said to Balaam, “Go with the men, but you shall speak only the word that I [h]tell you.” So Balaam went along with the representatives of Balak.
36 When Balak heard that Balaam was coming, he went out to meet him at the city of Moab, which is on the Arnon border, [i]at the extreme end of the border. 37 Then Balak said to Balaam, “Did I not urgently send word to you to call for you? Why did you not come to me? Am I really unable to honor you?” 38 So Balaam said to Balak, “Behold, I have come to you now! Am I really able to speak anything? The word that God puts in my mouth, that only shall I speak.” 39 And Balaam went with Balak, and they came to Kiriath-huzoth. 40 Balak sacrificed oxen and sheep, and sent some to Balaam and the leaders who were with him.
- Numbers 22:4 Lit assembly
- Numbers 22:6 Or numerous
- Numbers 22:6 Lit strike
- Numbers 22:7 Lit spoke
- Numbers 22:15 Lit these
- Numbers 22:18 Lit mouth
- Numbers 22:31 Lit and prostrated himself to his face
- Numbers 22:35 Or speak to
- Numbers 22:36 Lit which is at
- Numbers 22:41 Or Bamoth-baal
- Numbers 22:41 Lit the extremity of the people