The Death of Miriam

20 And the people of Israel, the whole congregation, came (A)into the wilderness of Zin in the first month, and the people stayed in Kadesh. And (B)Miriam died there and was buried there.

The Waters of Meribah

(C)Now there was no water for the congregation. (D)And they assembled themselves together against Moses and against Aaron. And the people (E)quarreled with Moses and said, “Would that we had perished (F)when our brothers perished before the Lord! Why have you brought the assembly of the Lord into this wilderness, that we should die here, both we and our cattle? And (G)why have you made us come up out of Egypt to bring us to this evil place? It is no place for grain or figs or vines or pomegranates, and there is no water to drink.” Then Moses and Aaron went from the presence of the assembly to the entrance of the tent of meeting and (H)fell on their faces. (I)And the glory of the Lord appeared to them, and the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, (J)“Take the staff, and assemble the congregation, you and Aaron your brother, and tell the rock before their eyes to yield its water. So (K)you shall bring water out of the rock for them and give drink to the congregation and their cattle.” And Moses took the staff (L)from before the Lord, as he commanded him.

Moses Strikes the Rock

10 Then Moses and Aaron gathered the assembly together before the rock, and he said to them, (M)“Hear now, you rebels: shall we bring water for you out of this rock?” 11 And Moses lifted up his hand and struck the rock with his staff twice, (N)and water came out abundantly, and the congregation drank, and their livestock. 12 And the Lord said to Moses and Aaron, “Because (O)you did not believe in me, (P)to uphold me as holy in the eyes of the people of Israel, therefore you shall not bring this assembly into the land that I have given them.” 13 (Q)These are the waters of Meribah,[a] where the people of Israel quarreled with the Lord, and through them he showed himself holy.

Edom Refuses Passage

14 (R)Moses sent messengers from Kadesh to (S)the king of Edom: “Thus says (T)your brother Israel: You know all the hardship that we have met: 15 (U)how our fathers went down to Egypt, (V)and we lived in Egypt a long time. (W)And the Egyptians dealt harshly with us and our fathers. 16 And (X)when we cried to the Lord, he heard our voice and (Y)sent an angel and brought us out of Egypt. And here we are in Kadesh, a city on the edge of your territory. 17 (Z)Please let us pass through your land. We will not pass through field or vineyard, (AA)or drink water from a well. We will go along the King's Highway. We will not turn aside to the right hand or to the left until we have passed through your territory.” 18 But Edom said to him, “You shall not pass through, lest I come out with the sword against you.” 19 And the people of Israel said to him, “We will go up by the highway, (AB)and if we drink of your water, I and my livestock, (AC)then I will pay for it. Let me only pass through on foot, nothing more.” 20 But he said, (AD)“You shall not pass through.” And Edom came out against them with a large army and with a strong force. 21 Thus Edom (AE)refused to give Israel passage through his territory, so Israel (AF)turned away from him.

The Death of Aaron

22 And they journeyed from (AG)Kadesh, and the people of Israel, the whole congregation, came to (AH)Mount Hor. 23 And the Lord said to Moses and Aaron at Mount Hor, on the border of the land of Edom, 24 (AI)“Let Aaron be gathered to his people, for he shall not enter the land that I have given to the people of Israel, because (AJ)you rebelled against my command at the waters of Meribah. 25 Take Aaron and Eleazar his son and bring them up to Mount Hor. 26 And strip Aaron of his garments and put them on Eleazar his son. And Aaron (AK)shall be gathered to his people and shall die there.” 27 Moses did as the Lord commanded. And they went up Mount Hor in the sight of all the congregation. 28 (AL)And Moses stripped Aaron of his garments and put them on Eleazar his son. And Aaron died there (AM)on the top of the mountain. Then Moses and Eleazar came down from the mountain. 29 And when all the congregation saw that Aaron had perished, (AN)all the house of Israel wept for Aaron thirty days.

Arad Destroyed

21 When (AO)the Canaanite, the king of Arad, who lived in (AP)the Negeb, heard that Israel was coming by the way of Atharim, he fought against Israel, and took some of them captive. (AQ)And Israel vowed a vow to the Lord and said, “If you will indeed give this people into my hand, then I will devote their cities to destruction.”[b] And the Lord heeded the voice of Israel and gave over the Canaanites, and they devoted them and their cities to destruction. So the name of the place was called (AR)Hormah.[c]

The Bronze Serpent

From Mount Hor (AS)they set out by the way to the Red Sea, (AT)to go around the land of Edom. And the people became impatient on the way. And the people (AU)spoke against God and against Moses, (AV)“Why have you brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? For there is no food and no water, and (AW)we loathe this worthless food.” (AX)Then the Lord sent fiery serpents among the people, and (AY)they bit the people, so that many people of Israel died. (AZ)And the people came to Moses and said, “We have sinned, for we have spoken against the Lord and against you. (BA)Pray to the Lord, that he take away the serpents from us.” So Moses prayed for the people. And the Lord said to Moses, “Make a fiery serpent and set it on a pole, and everyone who is bitten, when he sees it, shall live.” So (BB)Moses made a bronze[d] serpent and set it on a pole. And if a serpent bit anyone, he would look at the bronze serpent and live.

The Song of the Well

10 And the people of Israel set out and (BC)camped in Oboth. 11 (BD)And they set out from Oboth and (BE)camped at Iye-abarim, in the wilderness that is opposite Moab, toward the sunrise. 12 From there they set out and camped in (BF)the Valley of Zered. 13 From there they set out and camped on the other side of the Arnon, which is in the wilderness that extends from the border of the Amorites, for the (BG)Arnon is the border of Moab, between Moab and the Amorites. 14 Therefore it is said in the Book of the Wars of the Lord,

“Waheb in Suphah, and the valleys of the Arnon,
15 and the slope of the valleys
that extends to the seat of (BH)Ar,
and leans to the border of Moab.”

16 And from there they continued (BI)to Beer;[e] that is the well of which the Lord said to Moses, “Gather the people together, so that (BJ)I may give them water.” 17 Then Israel sang this song:

“Spring up, O well!—Sing to it!—
18 the well that the princes made,
that the nobles of the people dug,
with (BK)the scepter and with their staffs.”

And from the wilderness they went on to Mattanah, 19 and from Mattanah to Nahaliel, and from Nahaliel to Bamoth, 20 and from Bamoth to the valley lying in the region of Moab by the top of Pisgah (BL)that looks down on the desert.[f]

King Sihon Defeated

21 Then (BM)Israel sent messengers to Sihon king of the Amorites, saying, 22 (BN)“Let me pass through your land. We will not turn aside into field or vineyard. We will not drink the water of a well. We will go by the King's Highway until we have passed through your territory.” 23 (BO)But Sihon would not allow Israel to pass through his territory. He gathered all his people together and went out against Israel to the wilderness and (BP)came to Jahaz and fought against Israel. 24 (BQ)And Israel defeated him with the edge of the sword and took possession of his land from the Arnon to the (BR)Jabbok, as far as to the Ammonites, for the border of the Ammonites was strong. 25 And Israel took all these cities, and Israel settled in all the cities of the Amorites, in Heshbon, and in all its villages. 26 For Heshbon was the city of Sihon the king of the Amorites, who had fought against the former king of Moab and taken all his land out of his hand, as far as the Arnon. 27 Therefore the (BS)ballad singers say,

“Come to (BT)Heshbon, let it be built;
    let the city of Sihon be established.
28 For (BU)fire came out from (BV)Heshbon,
    flame from the city of Sihon.
It devoured (BW)Ar of Moab,
    and swallowed[g] the heights of the Arnon.
29 (BX)Woe to you, O Moab!
    You are undone, O people of (BY)Chemosh!
He has made his sons fugitives,
    and his daughters captives,
    to an Amorite king, Sihon.
30 So we overthrew them;
    Heshbon, as far as (BZ)Dibon, perished;
    and we laid waste as far as Nophah;
    fire spread as far as (CA)Medeba.”[h]

King Og Defeated

31 Thus Israel lived in the land of the Amorites. 32 And Moses sent to spy out (CB)Jazer, and they captured its villages and dispossessed the Amorites who were there. 33 Then they turned and went up by the way to Bashan. And Og the king of Bashan came out against them, he and all his people, to battle (CC)at Edrei. 34 (CD)But the Lord said to Moses, “Do not fear him, for I have given him into your hand, and all his people, and his land. And (CE)you shall do to him as you did to Sihon king of the Amorites, who lived at Heshbon.” 35 So they defeated him and his sons and all his people, until he had no survivor left. And they possessed his land.

Balak Summons Balaam

22 Then (CF)the people of Israel set out and camped in the plains of Moab beyond the Jordan at Jericho. And (CG)Balak the son of Zippor saw all that Israel had done to the Amorites. And (CH)Moab was in great dread of the people, because they were many. Moab was overcome with fear of the people of Israel. And Moab said to (CI)the elders of Midian, “This horde will now lick up all that is around us, as the ox licks up the grass of the field.” So Balak the son of Zippor, who was king of Moab at that time, (CJ)sent messengers to Balaam the son of Beor (CK)at Pethor, which is near the River[i] in the land of the people of Amaw,[j] to call him, saying, “Behold, a people has come out of Egypt. They cover the face of the earth, and they are dwelling opposite me. (CL)Come now, curse this people for me, since they are too mighty for me. Perhaps I shall be able to defeat them and drive them from the land, for I know that he whom you bless is blessed, and he whom you curse is cursed.”

So the elders of Moab and (CM)the elders of Midian departed with (CN)the fees for divination in their hand. And they came to Balaam and gave him Balak's message. And he said to them, “Lodge here tonight, and I will bring back word to you, as the Lord speaks to me.” So the princes of Moab stayed with Balaam. (CO)And 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 to me, saying, 11 ‘Behold, a people has come out of Egypt, and it covers the face of the earth. Now come, curse them for me. Perhaps I shall be able to fight against them and drive them out.’” 12 God said to Balaam, “You shall not go with them. You shall not curse the people, for (CP)they are blessed.” 13 So Balaam rose in the morning and said to the princes of Balak, “Go to your own land, for the Lord has refused to let me go with you.” 14 So the princes of Moab rose and went to Balak and said, “Balaam refuses to come with us.”

15 Once again Balak sent princes, more in number and more honorable than these. 16 And they came to Balaam and said to him, “Thus says Balak the son of Zippor: ‘Let nothing hinder you from coming to me, 17 (CQ)for I will surely do you great honor, and whatever you say to me I will do. (CR)Come, curse this people for me.’” 18 But Balaam answered and said to the servants of Balak, (CS)“Though Balak were to give me his house full of silver and gold, (CT)I could not go beyond the command of the Lord my God to do less or more. 19 So you, too, (CU)please stay here tonight, that I may know what more the Lord will say to me.” 20 (CV)And God came to Balaam at night and said to him, “If the men have come to call you, rise, go with them; (CW)but only do what I tell you.” 21 So Balaam rose in the morning and saddled his donkey and went with the princes of Moab.

Balaam's Donkey and the Angel

22 But God's anger was kindled because he went, (CX)and the angel of the Lord took his stand in the way (CY)as his adversary. Now he was riding on the donkey, and his two servants were with him. 23 And the donkey saw the angel of the Lord standing in the road, with a drawn sword in his hand. And the donkey turned aside out of the road and went into the field. And Balaam struck the donkey, to turn her into the road. 24 Then the angel of the Lord stood in a narrow path between the vineyards, with a wall on either side. 25 And when the donkey saw the angel of the Lord, she pushed against the wall and pressed Balaam's foot against the wall. So he struck her again. 26 Then the angel of the Lord went ahead and stood in a narrow place, where there was no way to turn either to the right or to the left. 27 When the donkey saw the angel of the Lord, she lay down under Balaam. And Balaam's anger was kindled, and he struck the donkey with his staff. 28 Then the Lord (CZ)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, “Because you have made a fool of me. I wish I had a sword in my hand, for then I would kill you.” 30 And the donkey said to Balaam, “Am I not your donkey, on which you have ridden all your life long to this day? Is it my habit to treat you this way?” And he said, “No.”

31 Then the Lord (DA)opened the eyes of Balaam, and he saw the angel of the Lord standing in the way, with his drawn sword in his hand. And he bowed down and fell on his face. 32 And the angel of the Lord said to him, “Why have you struck your donkey these three times? Behold, I have come out (DB)to oppose you because your way is perverse[k] before me. 33 The donkey saw me and turned aside before me these three times. If she had not turned aside from me, surely just now I would have killed you and let her live.” 34 Then Balaam said to the angel of the Lord, (DC)“I have sinned, for I did not know that you stood in the road against me. Now therefore, if it is evil in your sight, I will turn back.” 35 And the angel of the Lord said to Balaam, “Go with the men, (DD)but speak only the word that I tell you.” So Balaam went on with the princes of Balak.

36 When Balak heard that Balaam had come, he went out to meet him at the city of Moab, (DE)on the border formed by the Arnon, at the extremity of the border. 37 And Balak said to Balaam, “Did I not send to you to call you? Why did you not come to me? Am I not able to (DF)honor you?” 38 Balaam said to Balak, “Behold, I have come to you! Have I now any power of my own to speak anything? (DG)The word that God puts in my mouth, that must I speak.” 39 Then Balaam went with Balak, and they came to Kiriath-huzoth. 40 And Balak sacrificed oxen and sheep, and sent for Balaam and for the princes who were with him.

41 And in the morning Balak took Balaam and brought him up to Bamoth-baal, and from there he saw a fraction of the people.

Balaam's First Oracle

23 And Balaam said to Balak, (DH)“Build for me here seven altars, and prepare for me here seven bulls and seven rams.” Balak did as Balaam had said. And Balak and Balaam (DI)offered on each altar a bull and a ram. And Balaam said to Balak, (DJ)“Stand beside your burnt offering, and I will go. Perhaps the Lord will come (DK)to meet me, and whatever he shows me I will tell you.” And he went to a bare height, (DL)and God met Balaam. And Balaam said to him, “I have arranged the seven altars and I have offered on each altar a bull and a ram.” And the Lord (DM)put a word in Balaam's mouth and said, “Return to Balak, and thus you shall speak.” And he returned to him, and behold, he and all the princes of Moab were standing beside his burnt offering. And Balaam (DN)took up his discourse and said,

“From (DO)Aram Balak has brought me,
    the king of Moab (DP)from the eastern mountains:
‘Come, (DQ)curse Jacob for me,
    and come, denounce Israel!’
How can I curse whom God has not cursed?
    How can I denounce whom the Lord has not denounced?
For from the top of the crags (DR)I see him,
    from the hills I behold him;
behold, (DS)a people dwelling alone,
    and (DT)not counting itself among the nations!
10 (DU)Who can count the dust of Jacob
    or number the fourth part[l] of Israel?
Let me die (DV)the death of the upright,
    and let my end be like his!”

11 And Balak said to Balaam, “What have you done to me? (DW)I took you to curse my enemies, and behold, you have done nothing but bless them.” 12 And he answered and said, (DX)“Must I not take care to speak what the Lord puts in my mouth?”

Balaam's Second Oracle

13 And Balak said to him, “Please come with me to another place, from which you may see them. You shall see only a fraction of them and shall not see them all. Then curse them for me from there.” 14 And he took him to the field of Zophim, to the top of Pisgah, (DY)and built seven altars and offered a bull and a ram on each altar. 15 Balaam said to Balak, (DZ)“Stand here beside your burnt offering, while I meet the Lord over there.” 16 And the Lord met Balaam and (EA)put a word in his mouth and said, “Return to Balak, and thus shall you speak.” 17 And he came to him, and behold, he was standing beside his burnt offering, and the princes of Moab with him. And Balak said to him, “What has the Lord spoken?” 18 And Balaam took up his discourse and said,

“Rise, Balak, and hear;
    give ear to me, O son of Zippor:
19 (EB)God is not man, that he should lie,
    or a son of man, that he should change his mind.
Has he said, and will he not do it?
    Or has he spoken, and will he not fulfill it?
20 Behold, I received a command to bless:
    (EC)he has blessed, and (ED)I cannot revoke it.
21 (EE)He has not beheld misfortune in Jacob,
    nor has he seen trouble in Israel.
The Lord their God is with them,
    and the shout of a king is among them.
22 (EF)God brings them out of Egypt
    and is for them like (EG)the horns of the wild ox.
23 For there is no enchantment against Jacob,
    no (EH)divination against Israel;
now it shall be said of Jacob and Israel,
    (EI)‘What has God wrought!’
24 Behold, a people! (EJ)As a lioness it rises up
    and as a lion it lifts itself;
(EK)it does not lie down until it has devoured the prey
    and drunk the blood of the slain.”

25 And Balak said to Balaam, “Do not curse them at all, and do not bless them at all.” 26 But Balaam answered Balak, “Did I not tell you, (EL)‘All that the Lord says, that I must do’?” 27 And Balak said to Balaam, (EM)“Come now, I will take you to another place. Perhaps it will please God that you may curse them for me from there.” 28 So Balak took Balaam to the top of (EN)Peor, which overlooks (EO)the desert.[m] 29 And Balaam said to Balak, (EP)“Build for me here seven altars and prepare for me here seven bulls and seven rams.” 30 (EQ)And Balak did as Balaam had said, and offered a bull and a ram on each altar.

Balaam's Third Oracle

24 When Balaam saw that it pleased the Lord to bless Israel, he did not go, as at (ER)other times, to look for omens, but set his face toward the wilderness. And Balaam lifted up his eyes and saw Israel (ES)camping tribe by tribe. And (ET)the Spirit of God came upon him, and he (EU)took up his discourse and said,

“The oracle of Balaam the son of Beor,
    the oracle of the man whose eye is opened,[n]
the oracle of him who hears the words of God,
    who sees the vision of the Almighty,
    (EV)falling down with his eyes uncovered:
How lovely are your tents, O Jacob,
    your encampments, O Israel!
Like palm groves[o] that stretch afar,
    like gardens beside a river,
(EW)like aloes (EX)that the Lord has planted,
    like cedar trees beside the waters.
Water shall flow from his buckets,
    and his seed shall be (EY)in many waters;
his king shall be higher than (EZ)Agag,
    and (FA)his kingdom shall be exalted.
God brings him out of Egypt
    and is for him like the (FB)horns of the wild ox;
he shall (FC)eat up the nations, his adversaries,
    and shall (FD)break their bones in pieces
    and (FE)pierce them through with his arrows.
He crouched, he lay down like a lion
    and (FF)like a lioness; who will rouse him up?
(FG)Blessed are those who bless you,
    and cursed are those who curse you.”

10 And Balak's anger was kindled against Balaam, and he (FH)struck his hands together. And Balak said to Balaam, (FI)“I called you to curse my enemies, and behold, you have blessed them these three times. 11 Therefore now flee to your own place. I said, (FJ)‘I will certainly honor you,’ but the Lord has held you back from honor.” 12 And Balaam said to Balak, “Did I not tell your messengers whom you sent to me, 13 (FK)‘If Balak should give me his house full of silver and gold, I would not be able to go beyond the word of the Lord, to do either good or bad (FL)of my own will. What the Lord speaks, that will I speak’? 14 And now, behold, I am going to my people. Come, (FM)I will let you know what this people will do to your people (FN)in the latter days.”

Balaam's Final Oracle

15 (FO)And he took up his discourse and said,

“The oracle of Balaam the son of Beor,
    the oracle of the man whose eye is opened,
16 the oracle of him who hears the words of God,
    and knows the knowledge of (FP)the Most High,
who sees the vision of the Almighty,
    (FQ)falling down with his eyes uncovered:
17 (FR)I see him, but not now;
    I behold him, but not near:
(FS)a star shall come out of Jacob,
    and (FT)a scepter shall rise out of Israel;
it shall (FU)crush the forehead[p] of Moab
    and break down all the sons of Sheth.
18 (FV)Edom shall be dispossessed;
    (FW)Seir also, his enemies, shall be dispossessed.
    Israel is doing valiantly.
19 And one from Jacob shall exercise dominion
    and destroy the survivors of cities!”

20 Then he looked on Amalek and (FX)took up his discourse and said,

“Amalek was the first among the nations,
    (FY)but its end is utter destruction.”

21 And he looked on the Kenite, and took up his discourse and said,

“Enduring is your dwelling place,
    and your nest is set in the rock.
22 Nevertheless, Kain shall be burned
    when Asshur takes you away captive.”

23 And he took up his discourse and said,

“Alas, who shall live when God does this?
24     But ships shall come from (FZ)Kittim
and shall afflict Asshur and (GA)Eber;
    and he too (GB)shall come to utter destruction.”

25 Then Balaam rose and (GC)went back to his place. And Balak also went his way.

Baal Worship at Peor

25 While Israel lived in (GD)Shittim, (GE)the people began to whore with the daughters of Moab. (GF)These invited the people to the sacrifices of their gods, and the people ate and bowed down to their gods. So Israel yoked himself to Baal of Peor. And the anger of the Lord was kindled against Israel. And the Lord said to Moses, (GG)“Take all the chiefs of the people and (GH)hang[q] them in the sun before the Lord, (GI)that the fierce anger of the Lord may turn away from Israel.” And Moses said to (GJ)the judges of Israel, (GK)“Each of you kill those of his men who have yoked themselves to Baal of Peor.”

And behold, one of the people of Israel came and brought a Midianite woman to his family, in the sight of Moses and in the sight of the whole congregation of the people of Israel, while they were (GL)weeping in the entrance of the tent of meeting. (GM)When Phinehas (GN)the son of Eleazar, son of Aaron the priest, saw it, he rose and left the congregation and took a spear in his hand and went after the man of Israel into the chamber and pierced both of them, the man of Israel and the woman through her belly. Thus the plague on the people of Israel was stopped. Nevertheless, (GO)those who died by the plague were twenty-four thousand.

The Zeal of Phinehas

10 And the Lord said to Moses, 11 “Phinehas the son of Eleazar, son of Aaron the priest, has turned back my wrath from the people of Israel, in that he (GP)was jealous with my jealousy among them, so that I did not consume the people of Israel in (GQ)my jealousy. 12 Therefore say, (GR)‘Behold, I give to him my covenant of peace, 13 and it shall be to him and to (GS)his descendants after him the covenant of (GT)a perpetual priesthood, because he was jealous for his God and made atonement for the people of Israel.’”

14 The name of the slain man of Israel, who was killed with the Midianite woman, was Zimri the son of Salu, chief of a father's house belonging to the Simeonites. 15 And the name of the Midianite woman who was killed was Cozbi the daughter of (GU)Zur, who was the tribal head of a father's house in Midian.

16 And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, 17 (GV)“Harass the Midianites and strike them down, 18 for they have harassed you with their (GW)wiles, with which they beguiled you in the matter of (GX)Peor, and in the matter of Cozbi, the daughter of the chief of Midian, their sister, who was killed on the day of the plague on account of Peor.”


  1. Numbers 20:13 Meribah means quarreling
  2. Numbers 21:2 That is, set apart (devote) as an offering to the Lord (for destruction); also verse 3
  3. Numbers 21:3 Hormah means destruction
  4. Numbers 21:9 Or copper
  5. Numbers 21:16 Beer means well
  6. Numbers 21:20 Or Jeshimon
  7. Numbers 21:28 Septuagint; Hebrew the lords of
  8. Numbers 21:30 Compare Samaritan and Septuagint; Hebrew and we laid waste as far as Nophah, which is as far as Medeba
  9. Numbers 22:5 That is, the Euphrates
  10. Numbers 22:5 Or the people of his kindred
  11. Numbers 22:32 Or reckless
  12. Numbers 23:10 Or dust clouds
  13. Numbers 23:28 Or Jeshimon
  14. Numbers 24:3 Or closed, or perfect; also verse 15
  15. Numbers 24:6 Or valleys
  16. Numbers 24:17 Hebrew corners [of the head]
  17. Numbers 25:4 Or impale

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