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Numbers 22:21-41New International Version - UK (NIVUK)

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 here and 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 face down.

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 realise 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 - UK (NIVUK)

Holy Bible, New International Version® Anglicized, NIV® Copyright © 1979, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

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