1 The IsraelitesI set outII and campedIII
in the plainsIV of MoabV acrossVI the JordanVII from Jericho.VIII
2 Now BalakIX sonX of ZipporXI sawXII
allXIIII that IsraelXIV had doneXV to the Amorites.XVI
3 Moab was in greatXVII dreadXVIII ofXIX the people,XX
because they were so numerous;XXI Moab was overcome with fearXXII of theXXIII Israelites.
4 And Moab saidXXIV to the eldersXXV of Midian,XXVI
“This hordeXXVII will now lick upXXVIII all that is aroundXXIX us, as an oxXXX licks up the grassXXXI of the field.”XXXII
Now Balak son of Zippor was kingXXXIII of Moab at that time.XXXIV 5 He sentXXXV messengersXXXVI
to BalaamXXXVII son of BeorXXXVIII at Pethor,XXXIX
which is on the Euphrates,XL in the landXLI ofXLII Amaw,XLIII to summonXLIV him,
saying, “XLVA people has come outXLVI of Egypt;XLVII XLVIIIthey have spreadXLIX
over the faceL of the earth,LI and they have settledLII next toLIII me.
6 ComeLIV now,LV curseLVI this people for me, since they are strongerLVII than I;
perhapsLVIII I shall be ableLIX to defeatLX them and driveLXI them from the land, for I knowLXII that whomever you blessLXIII is blessed, and whomever you curse is cursed.”
7 So the elders of Moab and the elders of Midian departedLXIV with the fees for divinationLXV in their hand,LXVI and they cameLXVII to Balaam and gaveLXVIII him Balak’s message.LXIX
8 He said to them, “StayLXX here tonight,LXXI and I will bring backLXXII wordLXXIII to you,
just as the LordLXXIV speaksLXXV to me”; so the officialsLXXVI of Moab stayedLXXVII with Balaam.
9 GodLXXVIII cameLXXIX to Balaam and said, “Who are these menLXXX with you?”
10 Balaam said to God, “King Balak son of Zippor of Moab has sent me this message: 11 ‘Look,LXXXI a people has come out of Egypt and has spread over the face of the earth; now come,LXXXII curseLXXXIII them for me; perhaps I shall be able to fightLXXXIV against them and drive them out.’”
12 God said to Balaam, “You shall not goLXXXV with them; you shall not curseLXXXVI the people, for they are blessed.”
13 So Balaam roseLXXXVII in the morningLXXXVIII and said to the officials of Balak, “Go to your own land, for the Lord has refused to letLXXXIX me go with you.”
14 So the officials of Moab rose and wentXC to Balak and said, “Balaam refuses to comeXCI with us.”
15 OnceXCII againXCIII Balak sent officials, more numerousXCIV and more distinguishedXCV than these.
16 They cameXCVI to Balaam and said to him, “ThusXCVII says Balak son of Zippor: Do notXCVIII let anything hinderXCIX you from comingC to me,
17 for I will surely do you great honor,CI and whateverCII you say to me I will do; come,CIII, CIV curseCV this people for me.”
18 But Balaam repliedCVI to the servantsCVII of Balak, “Although Balak were to giveCVIII me his houseCIX full ofCX silverCXI and gold,CXII
I couldCXIII not go beyondCXIV the commandCXV of the Lord my God, to do lessCXVI or more.CXVII
19 You also stayCXVIII, CXIX here overnight,CXX so that I may learnCXXI what moreCXXII the Lord may sayCXXIII to me.”
20 That nightCXXIV God cameCXXV to Balaam and said to him, “If the menCXXVI have comeCXXVII to summon you,
get upCXXVIII and goCXXIX with them, but do onlyCXXX whatCXXXI I tellCXXXII you to do.”
21 So Balaam got up in the morning, saddledCXXXIII his donkey,CXXXIV and wentCXXXV with the officials of Moab.
22 God’s angerCXXXVI was kindledCXXXVII because he was going,CXXXVIII and the angelCXXXIX of the Lord took his standCXL
in the roadCXLI as his adversary.CXLII Now he was ridingCXLIII on the donkey, and his twoCXLIV servantsCXLV were with him.
23 The donkey saw the angel of the Lord standingCXLVI in the road, with a drawnCXLVII swordCXLVIII in his hand, so the donkey turnedCXLIX off the road and wentCL into the field, and Balaam struckCLI the donkey, to turn it back onto the road.
24 Then the angel of the Lord stoodCLII in a narrow pathCLIII between the vineyards,CLIV with a wall on either side.CLV
25 When the donkey saw the angel of the Lord, it scrapedCLVI against the wallCLVII and scraped Balaam’s footCLVIII against the wall,CLIX so he struck it again.
26 Then the angel of the Lord wentCLX aheadCLXI and stoodCLXII in a narrowCLXIII place,CLXIV
where there was no wayCLXV to turn either to the rightCLXVI or to the left.CLXVII
27 When the donkey saw the angel of the Lord, it lay downCLXVIII underCLXIX Balaam, and Balaam’s anger was kindled, and he struck the donkey with his staff.CLXX
28 Then the Lord openedCLXXI the mouthCLXXII of the donkey, and it said to Balaam, “What have I done to you, that you have struck me these threeCLXXIII times?”CLXXIV
29 Balaam said to the donkey, “Because you have made a foolCLXXV of me! I wishCLXXVI I hadCLXXVII a sword in my hand! I would killCLXXVIII you right now!”
30 But the donkey said to Balaam, “Am I not your donkey, which you have ridden all your lifeCLXXIX to this day?CLXXX Have I been in the habitCLXXXI of treatingCLXXXII you this way?”CLXXXIII
And he said, “No.”
31 Then the Lord openedCLXXXIV the eyesCLXXXV of Balaam, and he saw the angel of the Lord standingCLXXXVI in the road, with his drawn sword in his hand, and he bowed down,CLXXXVII fallingCLXXXVIII on his face.CLXXXIX
32 The angel of the Lord said to him, “Why have you struck your donkey these three times? CXCI have come out as an adversary because your way is perverseCXCI beforeCXCII me. 33 The donkey saw me and turned awayCXCIII from me these three times. IfCXCIV it had not turned awayCXCV from me, surely just now I would have killed you and let it live.”CXCVI
34 Then Balaam said to the angel of the Lord, “I have sinned,CXCVII for I did not know that you were standingCXCVIII in the road to opposeCXCIX me. Now therefore, if it is displeasingCC to you,CCI I will return home.”CCII
35 The angel of the Lord said to Balaam, “GoCCIII with the men,CCIV but speak onlyCCV whatCCVI I tell you to speak.” So Balaam wentCCVII on with the officials of Balak.
36 When Balak heardCCVIII that Balaam had come,CCIX he went out to meetCCX him at Ir-moab,CCXI
on the boundaryCCXII formed by the Arnon,CCXIII at the farthest pointCCXIV of the boundary.
37 Balak said to Balaam, “Did I not sendCCXV to summon you? Why did you not comeCCXVI to me?CCXVII Am I not able to honorCCXVIII you?”
38 Balaam said to Balak, “CCXIXI have comeCCXX to you now, but do I have powerCCXXI to sayCCXXII just anything?CCXXIII The word God putsCCXXIV in my mouth, that is what I must say.”CCXXV
39 Then Balaam wentCCXXVI with Balak, and they cameCCXXVII to Kiriath-huzoth.CCXXVIII
40 Balak sacrificedCCXXIX oxenCCXXX and sheepCCXXXI and sent them to Balaam and to the officials who were with him.
41 CCXXXIIOn the next dayCCXXXIII
Balak tookCCXXXIV Balaam and brought him upCCXXXV to Bamoth-baal,CCXXXVI and from there he could see partCCXXXVII of the people of Israel.
Image credit: “Donkey Rider” by August Macke, 1914.