Numbers 22-24 Expanded Bible (EXB)
Balak Sends for Balaam
22 Then the ·people [L sons/T children of] of Israel went to the plains of Moab, and they camped near the Jordan River across from Jericho.
2 Balak son of Zippor saw everything the Israelites had done to the Amorites. 3 And Moab ·was scared of [dreaded] so many Israelites; truly, Moab was terrified by them.
4 The Moabites said to the elders of Midian, “·These people [L This community/assembly/congregation] will ·take [lick up] everything around us like an ox ·eating [licking] grass.”
Balak son of Zippor was the king of Moab at this time. 5 He sent messengers to Balaam son of Beor at Pethor, near the Euphrates River in ·his native land [or the land of Amaw]. Balak said, “A nation has come out of Egypt that covers the land. They have ·camped [L settled] next to me, 6 and they are too powerful for me. So come and put a curse on them. Maybe then I can defeat them and ·make them leave [drive them from] the area. I know that if you bless someone, the blessings happen, and if you put a curse on someone, it happens.”
7 The elders of Moab and Midian went with ·payment [L fee for divination] in their hands. When they found Balaam, they told him what Balak had said.
8 Balaam said to them, “Stay here for the night, and I will tell you what the Lord tells me.” So the Moabite leaders stayed with him.
9 God came to Balaam and asked, “Who are these men with you?”
10 Balaam said to God, “The king of Moab, Balak son of Zippor, sent them to me with this message: 11 ‘A ·nation [people] has come out of Egypt that ·covers [spreads over] the land. So come and put a curse on them, and maybe I can fight them and force them out of my land.’”
12 But God said to Balaam, “Do not go with them. Don’t put a curse on those people, because I have blessed them.”
13 The next morning Balaam ·awoke [rose] and said to Balak’s leaders, “Go back to your own country; the Lord has refused to let me go with you.”
14 So the Moabite leaders went back to Balak and said, “Balaam refused to come with us.”
15 So Balak sent other leaders—this time there were more of them, and they were more ·important [distinguished]. 16 They went to Balaam and said, “Balak son of Zippor says this: Please don’t let anything stop you from coming to me. 17 I will ·pay you very well [make you wealthy; honor you], and I will do what you say. Come and put a curse on these people for me.”
18 But Balaam answered Balak’s servants, “King Balak could give me his palace full of silver and gold, but I cannot ·disobey [transgress] the Lord my God in anything, great or small. 19 You stay here tonight as the other men did, and I will find out what more the Lord tells me.”
20 That night God came to Balaam and said, “These men have come to ask you to go with them. Go, but only do what I tell you.”
Balaam’s Donkey Speaks
21 Balaam got up the next morning and put a saddle on his donkey. Then he went with the Moabite leaders. 22 But God became angry because Balaam went, so the ·angel [messenger] of the Lord stood in the road to ·stop [challenge] Balaam. Balaam was riding his donkey, and he had two servants with him. 23 When the donkey saw the ·angel [messenger] of the Lord standing in the road with a drawn sword in his hand, the donkey left the road and went into the field. Balaam ·hit [struck] the donkey to force her back on the road.
24 Later, the ·angel [messenger] of the Lord stood on a narrow path between two vineyards, with walls on both sides. 25 Again the donkey saw the angel of the Lord, and she walked close to one wall, ·crushing [squeezing; scraping] Balaam’s foot against it. So he ·hit [struck] her again.
26 The ·angel [messenger] of the Lord went ahead again and stood at a narrow place, too narrow to turn left or right. 27 When the donkey saw the ·angel [messenger] of the Lord, she lay down under Balaam. This made him so angry that he ·hit [struck] her with his stick. 28 Then the Lord made the donkey talk, and she said to Balaam, “What have I done to make you ·hit [strike] me three times?”
29 Balaam answered the donkey, “You have made me look foolish! I wish I had a sword in my hand! I would kill you right now!”
30 But the donkey said to Balaam, “·I am [L Am I not…?] your very own donkey, which you have ridden for years. Have I ever done this to you before?”
“No,” Balaam said.
31 Then the Lord opened the eyes of Balaam and let Balaam see the ·angel [messenger] of the Lord, who was standing in the road with his sword drawn in his hand. Then Balaam bowed facedown on the ground.
32 The ·angel [messenger] of the Lord asked Balaam, “Why have you ·hit [struck] your donkey three times? I have stood here to ·stop [challenge] you, because what you are doing is wrong. 33 The donkey saw me and turned away from me three times [C it was more spiritually sensitive than Balaam]. If she had not turned away, I would have killed you by now, but I would have let her live.”
34 Then Balaam said to the ·angel [messenger] of the Lord, “I have sinned; I did not know you were standing in the road to stop me. If I am wrong, I will go back.”
35 The ·angel [messenger] of the Lord said to Balaam, “Go with these men, but say only what I tell you.” So Balaam went with Balak’s leaders.
36 When Balak heard that Balaam was coming, he went out to meet him at Ar in Moab, which was beside the Arnon, at the edge of his ·country [boundary]. 37 Balak said to Balaam, “·I had asked you before [L Did I not send for you…?] to come quickly. Why didn’t you come to me? ·I am [L Am I not…?] able to ·reward you well [give you wealth].”
38 But Balaam answered, “I have come to you now, but I can’t say just anything. I can only say what God tells me to say.”
39 Then Balaam went with Balak to Kiriath Huzoth. 40 Balak offered cattle and sheep as a sacrifice and gave some meat to Balaam and the leaders with him.
41 The next morning Balak took Balaam to Bamoth Baal; from there he could see the edge of the ·Israelite camp [L people].
Balaam’s First Message
23 Balaam said to Balak, “Build me seven altars here, and prepare seven bulls and seven ·male sheep [rams] for me.” 2 Balak did what Balaam asked, and they offered a bull and a ·male sheep [ram] on each of the altars.
3 Then Balaam said to Balak, “Stay here beside your burnt offering [Lev. 1:1–17] and I will go. If the Lord comes to me, I will tell you whatever he shows me.” Then Balaam went to a ·higher place [or barren height].
4 God came to Balaam there, and Balaam said to him, “I have prepared seven altars, and I have offered a bull and a ·male sheep [ram] on each altar.”
5 The Lord ·told Balaam what he should say [L put a word in the mouth of Balaam]. Then the Lord said, “Go back to Balak and ·give him this message [L thus you will speak].”
6 So Balaam went back to Balak. Balak and all the leaders of Moab were still standing beside his burnt offering [Lev. 1:1–17] 7 when Balaam gave them this ·message [or oracle; or poem]:
“Balak brought me here from Aram;
11 Balak said to Balaam, “What have you done to me? I brought you here to curse my enemies, but you have only blessed them!”
12 But Balaam answered, “·I must [L Must I not…?] say what the Lord ·tells me to say [L put in my mouth].”
Balaam’s Second Message
13 Then Balak said to him, “Come with me to another place, where you can also see the people. But you can only see part of them, not all of them [C perhaps he could curse a part of Israel]. Curse them for me from there.” 14 So Balak took Balaam to the field of Zophim, on top of Mount Pisgah. There Balak built seven altars and offered a bull and a ·male sheep [ram] on each altar.
15 So Balaam said to Balak, “Stay here by your burnt offering [Lev. 1:1–17], and I will meet with God over there.”
16 So the Lord came to Balaam and ·told him what to say [L put a word in his mouth]. Then he said, “Go back to Balak and say ·such and such [L thus].”
17 So Balaam went to Balak, where he and the leaders of Moab were standing beside his burnt offering [Lev. 1:1–17]. Balak asked him, “What did the Lord say?”
18 Then Balaam gave this ·message [or oracle; or poem]:
“Stand up, Balak, and listen.
25 Then Balak said to Balaam, “You haven’t cursed these people, so at least don’t bless them!”
26 Balaam answered Balak, “·I told [L Did I not tell…?] you before that I can only do what the Lord tells me.”
Balaam’s Third Message
27 Then Balak said to Balaam, “Come, I will take you to another place. Maybe ·God will be pleased [L it will be right in the eyes/sight of God] to let you curse them from there.” 28 So Balak took Balaam to the top of Peor, the mountain that looks over the ·desert [wasteland; or Jeshimon].
29 Balaam told Balak, “Build me seven altars here and prepare for me seven bulls and seven ·male sheep [rams].” 30 Balak did what Balaam asked, and he offered a bull and a ·male sheep [ram] on each altar.
24 Balaam saw that ·the Lord wanted [L it was good in the eyes/sight of the Lord] to bless Israel, so he did not try to use any ·magic [divination] but looked toward the ·desert [wilderness]. 2 When Balaam ·saw [L lifted his eyes and saw] the Israelites camped in their tribes, the Spirit of God ·took control of [L was on] him, 3 and he gave this ·message [or oracle; or poem]:
“This is the ·message [utterance] of Balaam son of Beor,
10 Then Balak was angry with Balaam, and he ·pounded his fist [or struck his hands together]. He said to Balaam, “I called you here to curse my enemies, but you have continued to bless them three times. 11 Now go home! I said I would ·pay you well [make you wealthy], but the Lord has ·made you lose [denied you] your reward.”
12 Balaam said to Balak, “When you sent messengers to me, ·I told [L did I not tell…?] them, 13 ‘Balak could give me his ·palace [L house] filled with silver and gold, but I still cannot ·go against [transgress] the Lord’s commands. I could not do anything, good or bad, on my own, but I must say what the Lord says.’ 14 Now I am going back to my own people, but I will ·tell [L advise] you what these people will do to your people in the ·future [L later days].”
Balaam’s Final Message
15 Then Balaam gave this ·message [or oracle; or poem]:
“This is the ·message [utterance] of Balaam son of Beor,
20 Then Balaam saw Amalek and gave this message:
“Amalek was the most important nation,
21 Then Balaam saw the Kenites and gave this ·message [or oracle; or poem]:
“Your home is ·safe [enduring],
23 Then Balaam gave this ·message [or oracle; or poem]:
“·No one [L Who…?] can live when God does this.
25 Then Balaam got up and returned home, and Balak also went on his way.