Numbers 21-23New American Standard Bible (NASB)
21 When the Canaanite, the king of Arad, who lived in the [a]Negev, heard that Israel was coming by the way of [b]Atharim, then he fought against Israel and took some of them captive. 2 So Israel made a vow to the Lord and said, “If You will indeed deliver this people into my hand, then I will [c]utterly destroy their cities.” 3 The Lord heard the voice of Israel and delivered up the Canaanites; then they [d]utterly destroyed them and their cities. Thus the name of the place was called [e]Hormah.
4 Then they set out from Mount Hor by the way of the [f]Red Sea, to go around the land of Edom; and the [g]people became impatient because of the journey. 5 The people spoke against God and Moses, “Why have you brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? For there is no [h]food and no water, and [i]we loathe this miserable food.”
The Bronze Serpent
6 The Lord sent fiery serpents among the people and they bit the people, so that many people of Israel died. 7 So the people came to Moses and said, “We have sinned, because we have spoken against the Lord and you; intercede with the Lord, that He may remove the serpents from us.” And Moses interceded for the people. 8 Then the Lord said to Moses, “[j]Make a fiery serpent, and set it on a standard; and it shall come about, that everyone who is bitten, when he looks at it, he will live.” 9 And Moses made a bronze serpent and set it on the standard; and it came about, that if a serpent bit any man, when he looked to the bronze serpent, he lived.
10 Now the sons of Israel moved out and camped in Oboth. 11 They journeyed from Oboth and camped at Iye-abarim, in the wilderness which is opposite Moab, to the [k]east. 12 From there they set out and camped in [l]Wadi Zered. 13 From there they journeyed and camped on the other side of the Arnon, which is in the wilderness that comes out of the border of the Amorites, for the 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,
16 From there they continued to [m]Beer, that is the well where the Lord said to Moses, “Assemble the people, that I may give them water.”
17 Then Israel sang this song:
“Spring up, O well! Sing to it!
And from the wilderness they continued to Mattanah, 19 and from Mattanah to Nahaliel, and from Nahaliel to Bamoth, 20 and from Bamoth to the valley that is in the land of Moab, at the top of Pisgah which overlooks the [n]wasteland.
21 Then Israel sent messengers to Sihon, king of the Amorites, saying, 22 “Let me pass through your land. We will not turn off into field or vineyard; we will not drink water from wells. We will go by the king’s highway until we have passed through your border.” 23 But Sihon would not permit Israel to pass through his border. So Sihon gathered all his people and went out against Israel in the wilderness, and came to Jahaz and fought against Israel. 24 Then Israel [o]struck him with the edge of the sword, and took possession of his land from the Arnon to the Jabbok, as far as the sons of Ammon; for the border of the sons of Ammon was [p]Jazer. 25 Israel took all these cities and Israel lived in all the cities of the Amorites, in Heshbon, and in all her [q]villages. 26 For Heshbon was the city of Sihon, king of the Amorites, who had fought against the former king of Moab and had taken all his land out of his hand, as far as the Arnon. 27 Therefore those who use proverbs say,
“Come to Heshbon! Let it be built!
31 Thus Israel lived in the land of the Amorites. 32 Moses sent to spy out Jazer, and they captured its villages and dispossessed the Amorites who were there.
33 Then they turned and went up by the way of Bashan, and Og the king of Bashan went out [t]with all his people, for battle at Edrei. 34 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 you shall do to him as you did to Sihon, king of the Amorites, who lived at Heshbon.” 35 So they [u]killed him and his sons and all his people, until there was no remnant left him; and they possessed his land.
Balak Sends for Balaam
22 Then the sons of Israel journeyed, 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 [v]horde 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 [w]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 living opposite me. 6 Now, therefore, please come, curse this people for me since they are too [x]mighty for me; perhaps I may be able to [y]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 departed with the fees for divination in their hand; and they came to Balaam and [z]repeated Balak’s words to him. 8 He said to them, “Spend the night here, and I will bring word back to you 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, 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 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 the Lord has refused to let me go with you.” 14 The leaders of Moab arose and went to Balak and said, “Balaam refused to come with us.”
15 Then Balak again sent leaders, more numerous and more distinguished than [aa]the former. 16 They came to Balaam and said to him, “Thus says Balak the son of Zippor, ‘Let nothing, I beg you, hinder 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 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, contrary to the [ab]command of the Lord my God. 19 Now please, you also stay here tonight, and I will find out what else the Lord will speak to me.” 20 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.
The Angel and Balaam
22 But God was angry because he was going, and the angel of the Lord took his stand in the way 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 way with his drawn sword in his hand, the donkey turned off from the way and went into the field; but Balaam struck the donkey to turn her back into the way. 24 Then the angel of the Lord stood in a narrow path of the vineyards, with a wall on this side and a wall on that side. 25 When the donkey saw the angel of the Lord, she pressed herself to the wall and pressed Balaam’s foot against the wall, so he struck her again. 26 The angel of the Lord went further, and stood in a narrow place where there was no way to turn to the right hand or 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 stick. 28 And 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 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 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 the Lord 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 [ac]all the way to the ground. 32 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 [ad]contrary to me. 33 But the donkey saw me and turned aside from me these three times. If she had not turned aside from me, I would surely have killed you just now, and let her live.” 34 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 which I [ae]tell you.” So Balaam went along with the leaders 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, [af]at the extreme 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 really 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 Balak sacrificed oxen and sheep, and sent some to Balaam and the leaders who were with him.
The Prophecies of Balaam
23 Then Balaam said to Balak, “Build seven altars for me here, and prepare seven bulls and seven rams for me here.” 2 Balak did just as Balaam had spoken, and Balak and Balaam offered up a bull and a ram on each altar. 3 Then Balaam said to Balak, “Stand beside your burnt offering, and I will go; perhaps the Lord will come to meet me, and whatever He shows me I will tell you.” So he went to a bare hill.
4 Now God met Balaam, and he said to Him, “I have set up the seven altars, and I have offered up a bull and a ram on each altar.” 5 Then the Lord put a word in Balaam’s mouth and said, “Return to Balak, and you shall speak thus.” 6 So he returned to him, and behold, he was standing beside his burnt offering, he and all the leaders of Moab. 7 He took up his [ai]discourse and said,
“From Aram Balak has brought me,
11 Then Balak said to Balaam, “What have you done to me? I took you to curse my enemies, but behold, you have actually blessed them!” 12 He replied, “Must I not be careful to speak what the Lord puts in my mouth?”
13 Then Balak said to him, “Please come with me to another place from where you may see them, although you will only see the extreme end of them and will not see all of them; and curse them for me from there.” 14 So he took him to the field of Zophim, to the top of Pisgah, and built seven altars and offered a bull and a ram on each altar. 15 And he said to Balak, “Stand here beside your burnt offering while I myself meet the Lord over there.” 16 Then the Lord met Balaam and put a word in his mouth and said, “Return to Balak, and thus you shall speak.” 17 He came to him, and behold, he was standing beside his burnt offering, and the leaders of Moab with him. And Balak said to him, “What has the Lord spoken?” 18 Then he took up his [ak]discourse and said,
“Arise, O Balak, and hear;
25 Then Balak said to Balaam, “Do not curse them at all nor bless them at all!” 26 But Balaam replied to Balak, “Did I not tell you, ‘[am]Whatever the Lord speaks, that I must do’?”
27 Then Balak said to Balaam, “Please come, I will take you to another place; perhaps it will be [an]agreeable with God that you curse them for me from there.” 28 So Balak took Balaam to the top of Peor which overlooks the [ao]wasteland. 29 Balaam said to Balak, “Build seven altars for me here and prepare seven bulls and seven rams for me here.” 30 Balak did just as Balaam had said, and offered up a bull and a ram on each altar.
Click the button below to continue.
For the best Bible Gateway experience, consider an upgrade to Bible Gateway Plus. For less than the cost of a latte each month, you'll get reduced banner ads and a huge digital Bible study library. Try it free for 30 days!
Three easy steps to start your free trial subscription to Bible Gateway Plus.