Arad Conquered

21 When the Canaanite, the king of (A)Arad, who lived in the [a]Negev, heard that Israel was coming by the way of Atharim, he fought against Israel and took some of them captive. So (B)Israel made a vow to the Lord and said, “If You will indeed hand over this people to me, then I will [b]utterly destroy their cities.” The Lord heard the voice of Israel and turned over the Canaanites; then they [c]utterly destroyed them and their cities. And the place was named [d](C)Hormah.

Then they set out from Mount Hor by the way of the [e]Red Sea, to (D)go around the land of Edom; and the [f]people became impatient because of the journey. So the people spoke against God and Moses: “(E)Why have you brought us up from Egypt to die in the wilderness? For there is no [g]food and no water, and [h](F)we are disgusted with [i]this miserable food.”

The Bronze Serpent

(G)Then the Lord sent fiery serpents among the people and (H)they bit the people, so that (I)many people of Israel died. (J)So the people came to Moses and said, “We have sinned, because we have spoken against the Lord and against you; (K)intercede with the Lord, that He will remove the serpents from us.” And Moses interceded for the people. Then the Lord said to Moses, “[j]Make a (L)fiery serpent, and put it on a flag pole; and it shall come about, that everyone who is bitten, and looks at it, will live.” So Moses made a (M)bronze serpent and put it on the flag pole; and it came about, that if a serpent bit someone, and he looked at the bronze serpent, he lived.

10 (N)Now the sons of Israel moved out and camped in Oboth. 11 Then they journeyed from Oboth and camped at Iye-abarim, in the wilderness which is opposite Moab, to the [k]east. 12 (O)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; (P)for the Arnon is the border of Moab, between Moab and the Amorites. 14 For that reason it is said in the Book of the Wars of the Lord,

“Waheb in Suphah,
And the [m]wadis of the Arnon,
15 And the slope of the wadis
That extends to the site of (Q)Ar,
And leans to the border of Moab.”

16 (R)From there they continued to [n]Beer, that is the well where the Lord said to Moses, “Assemble the people, that I may give them water.”

17 (S)Then Israel sang this song:

“Spring up, O well! Sing to it!
18 The well, which the leaders dug,
Which the nobles of the people hollowed out,
With the scepter and with their staffs.”

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 [o]desert.

Two Victories

21 (T)Then Israel sent messengers to Sihon, king of the Amorites, saying, 22 (U)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 road until we have passed through your border.” 23 (V)But Sihon would not permit Israel to pass through his border. Instead, Sihon gathered all his people and went out against Israel in the wilderness, and came to (W)Jahaz and fought against Israel. 24 Then (X)Israel 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 (Y)border of the sons of Ammon was [p]Jazer. 25 Israel took all these cities, and (Z)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 For that reason those who use proverbs say,

“Come to Heshbon! Let it be built!
So let the city of Sihon be established.
28 (AA)For a fire spread from Heshbon,
A flame from the town of Sihon;
It devoured (AB)Ar of Moab,
The [r](AC)dominant [s]heights of the Arnon.
29 (AD)Woe to you, Moab!
You are destroyed, people of (AE)Chemosh!
(AF)He has given his sons as fugitives,
(AG)And his daughters into captivity,
To an Amorite king, Sihon.
30 But we have shot them down with arrows,
Heshbon is destroyed as far as (AH)Dibon,
Then we have laid waste as far as Nophah,
Which reaches to Medeba.”

31 So Israel lived in the land of the Amorites. 32 Now Moses sent men to spy out (AI)Jazer, and they captured its villages and dispossessed the Amorites who were there.

33 (AJ)Then they turned and went up by the way of Bashan, and Og the king of Bashan went out against them [t]with all his people, for battle at (AK)Edrei. 34 But the Lord said to Moses, “(AL)Do not fear him, for I have handed him over to you, and all his people and his land; and you shall do to him as you did to Sihon, king of the Amorites, who lived in Heshbon.” 35 So (AM)they [u]killed him and his sons and all his people, until there was no survivor left; and they took possession of his land.

Balak Sends for Balaam

22 (AN)Then the sons of Israel journeyed on, and camped in the plains of Moab beyond the Jordan opposite Jericho.

Now (AO)Balak the son of Zippor saw all that Israel had done to the Amorites. (AP)So Moab was in great fear because of the people, for they were numerous; and Moab was in dread of the sons of Israel. Moab said to the elders of (AQ)Midian, “Now this [v]horde will eat up all that is around us, as the ox eats up the grass of the field!” And Balak the son of Zippor was king of Moab at that time. So he sent messengers to (AR)Balaam the son of Beor, at (AS)Pethor, which is near the Euphrates River, in the land of the sons of his people, to call for him, saying, “Behold, a people came out of Egypt; behold, they have covered the surface of the land, and they are living opposite me. (AT)Now, therefore, please come, (AU)curse this people for me since they are too [w]mighty for me; perhaps I will be able to [x]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.”

So the elders of Moab and the elders of Midian left with the fees for (AV)divination in their hands; and they came to Balaam and [y]repeated Balak’s words to him. And he said to them, “Spend the night here, and I will bring word back to you just as the Lord may speak to me.” And the leaders of Moab stayed with Balaam. Then (AW)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, 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 will be able to fight against them and drive them out.’” 12 But God said to Balaam, “Do not go with them; (AX)you shall not curse the people, for they (AY)are blessed.” 13 So Balaam got up in the morning and said to Balak’s representatives, “Go back to your land, for the Lord has refused to let me go with you.” 14 And the representatives from Moab got up and went to Balak, and said, “Balaam refused to come with us.”

15 Then Balak sent representatives once again, more numerous and more distinguished than [z]the previous. 16 They came to Balaam and said to him, “This is what Balak the son of Zippor says: ‘I beg you, let nothing keep you from coming to me; 17 for I will indeed honor you richly, and I will do whatever you tell me. (AZ)Please come then, curse this people for me.’” 18 But Balaam replied to the servants of Balak, “(BA)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 [aa]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 And God came to Balaam at night and said to him, “If the men have come to call you, rise and go with them; but you shall do (BB)only the thing that I tell you.”

21 (BC)So Balaam arose in the morning, saddled his donkey, and went with the leaders of Moab.

The Angel and Balaam

22 But God was angry that he was going, (BD)and the angel of the Lord took his stand in the road 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 road with his sword drawn in his hand, the donkey turned off from the road and went into the field; and Balaam struck the donkey to guide her back onto the road. 24 Then the angel of the Lord stood in a narrow path of the vineyards, with a stone wall on this side and on that side. 25 When the donkey saw the angel of the Lord, she pressed herself against the wall and pressed Balaam’s foot against the wall, so he struck her again. 26 Then the angel of the Lord went further, and stood in a narrow place where there was no way to turn to the right or to the left. 27 When the donkey saw the angel of the Lord, she lay down under Balaam; so (BE)Balaam was angry and struck the donkey with his staff. 28 Then (BF)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 And Balaam said to the donkey, “It is because you have made a mockery of me! If only there had been a sword in my hand! For (BG)I would have killed you by now!” 30 But 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 in the habit of doing such a thing to you?” And he said, “No.”

31 Then the Lord opened Balaam’s eyes, and he saw (BH)the angel of the Lord standing in the way with his sword drawn in his hand; and he bowed [ab]all the way to the ground. 32 Then 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 (BI)reckless and contrary to me. 33 But the donkey saw me and turned away from me these three times. If she had not turned away from me, I certainly would have killed you just now, and let her live.” 34 So Balaam said to the angel of the Lord, “(BJ)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 (BK)you shall speak only the word that I [ac]tell you.” So Balaam went along with the representatives 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, [ad]at the extreme end of the border. 37 Then Balak said to Balaam, “Did I not urgently send word to you to call for 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 to you now! (BL)Am I really able to speak anything? The word that God puts in my mouth, that only shall I 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.

41 Then it came about in the morning that Balak took Balaam and brought him up to [ae](BM)the high places of Baal, and he saw from there [af]a (BN)portion of the people.


  1. Numbers 21:1 I.e., South country
  2. Numbers 21:2 Lit devote to destruction
  3. Numbers 21:3 Lit devoted to destruction
  4. Numbers 21:3 I.e., a devoted thing; or Destruction
  5. Numbers 21:4 Lit Sea of Reeds
  6. Numbers 21:4 Lit soul of the people was short
  7. Numbers 21:5 Lit bread
  8. Numbers 21:5 Lit our soul is disgusted
  9. Numbers 21:5 I.e., the manna
  10. Numbers 21:8 Lit Make for yourself
  11. Numbers 21:11 Lit sunrise
  12. Numbers 21:12 I.e., a dry stream bed, except in the rainy season
  13. Numbers 21:14 I.e., dry stream beds
  14. Numbers 21:16 I.e., a well
  15. Numbers 21:20 Or Jeshimon
  16. Numbers 21:24 So LXX; MT strong
  17. Numbers 21:25 Lit daughters
  18. Numbers 21:28 Lit lords of the
  19. Numbers 21:28 Or Bamoth
  20. Numbers 21:33 Lit he and
  21. Numbers 21:35 Lit struck
  22. Numbers 22:4 Lit assembly
  23. Numbers 22:6 Or numerous
  24. Numbers 22:6 Lit strike
  25. Numbers 22:7 Lit spoke
  26. Numbers 22:15 Lit these
  27. Numbers 22:18 Lit mouth
  28. Numbers 22:31 Lit and prostrated himself to his face
  29. Numbers 22:35 Or speak to
  30. Numbers 22:36 Lit which is at
  31. Numbers 22:41 Or Bamoth-baal
  32. Numbers 22:41 Lit the extremity of the people

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