Balak Sends for BalaamThen the sons of Israel set out and camped in the plains of Moab beyond the Jordan opposite Jericho. 2 And 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 Then Moab said to the elders of Midian, “Now this assembly will lick up all that is around us, as the ox licks 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 River, in the land of the sons of his people, to call him, saying, “Behold, a people came out of Egypt; behold, they cover the surface of the land, and they are settled opposite me. 6 So now, please come, curse this people for me since they are too mighty for me; perhaps I may be able to strike them down 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 went away with the fees for divination in their hand; and they came to Balaam and spoke Balak’s words to him. 8 And he said to them, “Spend the night here, and I will bring word back to you as Yahweh 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 And Balaam said to God, “Balak the son of Zippor, king of Moab, has 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 may be able to fight against them and drive them out.’” 12 And God said to Balaam, “Do not go with them; you shall not curse the people, for they are blessed.” 13 So Balaam arose in the morning and said to Balak’s leaders, “Go back to your land, for Yahweh has refused to allow me to go with you.” 14 And the leaders of Moab arose and came to Balak and said, “Balaam refused to go with us.” 15 Then Balak again sent leaders, more numerous and more honorable than the former. 16 And they came to Balaam and said to him, “Thus says Balak the son of Zippor, ‘Let nothing, I beg you, withhold you from coming to me; 17 for I will indeed honor you richly, and I will do whatever you say to me. Please come then, curse this people for me.’” 18 And Balaam replied to the servants of Balak, “Though Balak were to give me his house full of silver and gold, I could not do anything, either small or great, to trespass the command of Yahweh my God. 19 So now, please, you also stay here tonight, and I will know what else Yahweh will speak to me.” 20 And God came to Balaam at night and said to him, “If the men have come to call you, rise up and go with them; but only the word which I speak to you shall you do.” 21 So Balaam arose in the morning and saddled his donkey and went with the leaders of Moab.
Balaam’s Donkey and the Angel22 But God was angry because he was going, so the angel of Yahweh took his stand in the way as an adversary against him. Now he was riding on his donkey, and his two young men were with him. 23 Then the donkey saw the angel of Yahweh standing in the way with his drawn sword in his hand, and the donkey turned off from the way and went into the field; so Balaam struck the donkey to turn it back into the way. 24 Then the angel of Yahweh stood in a narrow path of the vineyards, with a wall on this side and a wall on that side. 25 And the donkey saw the angel of Yahweh, and it pressed itself to the wall and pressed Balaam’s foot against the wall, so he struck it again. 26 And the angel of Yahweh passed on ahead and stood in a narrow place where there was no way to turn to the right hand or the left. 27 Then the donkey saw the angel of Yahweh and lay down under Balaam; so Balaam was angry and struck the donkey with his stick. 28 And Yahweh opened the mouth of the donkey, and it said to Balaam, “What have I done to you, that you have struck me these three times?” 29 Then Balaam said to the donkey, “Because you have made a mockery of me! If there had been a sword in my hand, I would have killed you by now.” 30 And 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 accustomed to do so to you?” And he said, “No.” 31 Then Yahweh opened the eyes of Balaam, and he saw the angel of Yahweh standing in the way with his drawn sword in his hand; and he bowed his head down and prostrated himself to the ground. 32 And the angel of Yahweh said to him, “Why have you struck your donkey these three times? Behold, I have come out as an adversary because your way was contrary to me. 33 And the donkey saw me and turned aside from me these three times. If it had not turned aside from me, I would surely have killed you just now, and let it live.” 34 And Balaam said to the angel of Yahweh, “I have sinned, for I did not know that you were standing in the way against me. So now, if it is evil in your sight, I will turn back.” 35 But the angel of Yahweh said to Balaam, “Go with the men, but you shall speak only the word which I tell you.” So Balaam went along with the leaders of Balak. 36 Then Balak heard that Balaam was coming and went out to meet him at the city of Moab, which is on the Arnon border, at the end of the border. 37 Then Balak said to Balaam, “Did I not urgently send to you to call you? Why did you not come to me? Am I indeed unable to honor you?” 38 So Balaam said to Balak, “Behold, I have come now to you! Am I able to speak anything at all? The word that God puts in my mouth, that I shall speak.” 39 And Balaam went with Balak, and they came to Kiriath-huzoth. 40 And Balak sacrificed oxen and sheep, and sent some to Balaam and the leaders who were with him. 41 Then it happened in the morning that Balak took Balaam and brought him up to the high places of Baal, and he saw from there the end of the camp of the people.