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Numbers 22Amplified Bible (AMP)

Balak Sends for Balaam

22 The Israelites journeyed, and camped in the plains of Moab, on the east side of the Jordan [River] across from Jericho.

And Balak [the king of Moab] the son of Zippor saw all that Israel had done to the Amorites. So Moab was terrified because of the people, for they were numerous. Moab was overcome with fear because of the sons of Israel. Moab said to the elders of Midian, “Now this horde will lick up all that is around us, just as the ox licks up the grass of the field.” And Balak the son of Zippor was the king of Moab at that time. So he sent messengers to [a]Balaam [a famous prophet-diviner] the son of Beor at Pethor, which is by the [Euphrates] River, in the land of the descendants of his people, to call for him, saying, “There is a people who have come out of Egypt; behold, they cover the surface of the land, and they are living opposite me. Now please come, curse these people for me, for they are too powerful for me; perhaps I will be able to defeat them and drive them out of the land. For I know [your reputation] that he whom you bless is blessed, and he whom you curse is cursed.”

So the elders of Moab and of Midian departed with fees for divination (foretelling) in hand; and they came to Balaam and told him the words of Balak. Balaam said to them, “Spend the night here and I will bring word back to you as the Lord may speak to me.” So the leaders of Moab stayed with Balaam [that night]. 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 ‘Hear this, the people who came out of Egypt cover the surface of the land; come now, 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 [of Israel], for they are blessed.” 13 Balaam got up in the morning, and said to the leaders of Balak, “Go back to your own land [of Moab], 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 [men who were] more distinguished than the first ones. 16 They came to Balaam, and said to him, “Thus says Balak the son of Zippor, ‘I beg you, let nothing hinder you from coming to me. 17 For I will give you a very great honor and I will do whatever you tell me; so please come, curse these people [of Israel] for me.’” 18 Balaam answered the servants of Balak, “Even if Balak were to give me his house full of silver and gold, I could not do anything, either small or great, contrary to the command of the Lord my God. 19 Now please, you also stay here tonight, and I will find out what else the Lord will say to me.” 20 God came to Balaam at night and said to him, “If the men have come to call you, get up and go with them, but you shall still do only what I tell you.”

21 So Balaam got up in the morning and [b]saddled his donkey and went with the leaders of Moab.

The Angel and Balaam

22 But God’s anger was kindled because [c]he was going, and the [d]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 and His drawn sword in His hand, the donkey turned off the path and went into the field; but Balaam struck the donkey to turn her back toward the path. 24 But the Angel of the Lord stood in a narrow path of the vineyards, with a [stone] wall on this side and a [stone] wall on that side. 25 When the donkey saw the Angel of the Lord, she pressed herself against the wall and crushed Balaam’s foot against it, and he struck her again. 26 The Angel of the Lord went further, and stood in a narrow place where there was no room 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, so Balaam was angry and he struck the donkey [a third time] with his staff. 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 until this day? Have I ever been accustomed to do so to you?” And he said, “No.”

31 Then the Lord opened Balaam’s eyes, and he saw the Angel of the Lord standing in the way with His drawn sword in His hand; and he bowed his head and lay himself face down. 32 The Angel of the Lord said to him, “Why have you struck your donkey these three times? Behold, I have come out to stand against you, because your behavior was obstinate and contrary to Me. 33 The donkey saw Me and turned away from Me these three times. If she had not turned away from Me, I would have certainly killed you 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. But now, if my going displeases You, I will turn back.” 35 The Angel of the Lord said to Balaam, “Go with the men, but you shall speak only what I 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 border at the Arnon [River], at the farthest end of the border. 37 Balak said to Balaam, “Did I not urgently send word to you to call you? Why did you not come to me [immediately]? Am I really unable to honor (pay) you?” 38 So Balaam said to Balak, “Indeed I have come to you now, but am I able to say 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 to the leaders who were with him.

41 Then it came about in the morning that Balak took Balaam and brought him up to the high places of Baal; from there he saw a portion of the Israelites.

Footnotes:

  1. Numbers 22:5 Balaam had some awareness and knowledge regarding the true God, but he abused the office of prophet.
  2. Numbers 22:21 The ancient rabbis saw in this action an indication that Balaam was eager to go with the messengers, because it was not considered appropriate for a man of importance to saddle his own mount.
  3. Numbers 22:22 Balaam went with God’s permission, but his motives were in opposition to God’s will.
  4. Numbers 22:22 “Angel” has been capitalized here to reflect the likelihood that it is God appearing in a visible form (see note Gen 16:7).
Amplified Bible (AMP)

Copyright © 2015 by The Lockman Foundation, La Habra, CA 90631. All rights reserved.

Numbers 22New International Version (NIV)

Balak Summons Balaam

22 Then the Israelites traveled to the plains of Moab and camped along the Jordan across from Jericho.

Now Balak son of Zippor saw all that Israel had done to the Amorites, and Moab was terrified because there were so many people. Indeed, Moab was filled with dread because of the Israelites.

The Moabites said to the elders of Midian, “This horde is going to lick up everything around us, as an ox licks up the grass of the field.

So Balak son of Zippor, who was king of Moab at that time, sent messengers to summon Balaam son of Beor, who was at Pethor, near the Euphrates River, in his native land. Balak said:

“A people has come out of Egypt; they cover the face of the land and have settled next to me. Now come and put a curse on these people, because they are too powerful for me. Perhaps then I will be able to defeat them and drive them out of the land. For I know that whoever you bless is blessed, and whoever you curse is cursed.”

The elders of Moab and Midian left, taking with them the fee for divination. When they came to Balaam, they told him what Balak had said.

“Spend the night here,” Balaam said to them, “and I will report back to you with the answer the Lord gives me.” So the Moabite officials stayed with him.

God came to Balaam and asked, “Who are these men with you?”

10 Balaam said to God, “Balak son of Zippor, king of Moab, sent me this message: 11 ‘A people that has come out of Egypt covers the face of the land. Now come and put a curse on them for me. Perhaps then I will be able to fight them and drive them away.’”

12 But God said to Balaam, “Do not go with them. You must not put a curse on those people, because they are blessed.

13 The next morning Balaam got up and said to Balak’s officials, “Go back to your own country, for the Lord has refused to let me go with you.”

14 So the Moabite officials returned to Balak and said, “Balaam refused to come with us.”

15 Then Balak sent other officials, more numerous and more distinguished than the first. 16 They came to Balaam and said:

“This is what Balak son of Zippor says: Do not let anything keep you from coming to me, 17 because I will reward you handsomely and do whatever you say. Come and put a curse on these people for me.”

18 But Balaam answered them, “Even if Balak gave me all the silver and gold in his palace, I could not do anything great or small to go beyond the command of the Lord my God. 19 Now spend the night here so that I can find out what else the Lord will tell me.

20 That night God came to Balaam and said, “Since these men have come to summon you, go with them, but do only what I tell you.”

Balaam’s Donkey

21 Balaam got up in the morning, saddled his donkey and went with the Moabite officials. 22 But God was very angry when he went, and the angel of the Lord stood in the road to oppose him. Balaam 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 road with a drawn sword in his hand, it turned off the road into a field. Balaam beat it to get it back on the road.

24 Then the angel of the Lord stood in a narrow path through the vineyards, with walls on both sides. 25 When the donkey saw the angel of the Lord, it pressed close to the wall, crushing Balaam’s foot against it. So he beat the donkey again.

26 Then the angel of the Lord moved on ahead and stood in a narrow place where there was no room to turn, either to the right or to the left. 27 When the donkey saw the angel of the Lord, it lay down under Balaam, and he was angry and beat it with his staff. 28 Then the Lord opened the donkey’s mouth, and it said to Balaam, “What have I done to you to make you beat me these three times?

29 Balaam answered the donkey, “You have made a fool of me! If only I had a sword in my hand, I would kill you right now.

30 The donkey said to Balaam, “Am I not your own donkey, which you have always ridden, to this day? Have I been in the habit of doing this to you?”

“No,” he said.

31 Then the Lord opened Balaam’s eyes, and he saw the angel of the Lord standing in the road with his sword drawn. So he bowed low and fell facedown.

32 The angel of the Lord asked him, “Why have you beaten your donkey these three times? I have come here to oppose you because your path is a reckless one before me.[a] 33 The donkey saw me and turned away from me these three times. If it had not turned away, I would certainly have killed you by now, but I would have spared it.”

34 Balaam said to the angel of the Lord, “I have sinned. I did not realize you were standing in the road to oppose me. Now if you are displeased, I will go back.”

35 The angel of the Lord said to Balaam, “Go with the men, but speak only what I tell you.” So Balaam went with Balak’s officials.

36 When Balak heard that Balaam was coming, he went out to meet him at the Moabite town on the Arnon border, at the edge of his territory. 37 Balak said to Balaam, “Did I not send you an urgent summons? Why didn’t you come to me? Am I really not able to reward you?”

38 “Well, I have come to you now,” Balaam replied. “But I can’t say whatever I please. I must speak only what God puts in my mouth.”

39 Then Balaam went with Balak to Kiriath Huzoth. 40 Balak sacrificed cattle and sheep, and gave some to Balaam and the officials who were with him. 41 The next morning Balak took Balaam up to Bamoth Baal, and from there he could see the outskirts of the Israelite camp.

Footnotes:

  1. Numbers 22:32 The meaning of the Hebrew for this clause is uncertain.
New International Version (NIV)

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