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Balak Sends for Balaam

22 Then (A)the children of Israel moved, and camped in the plains of Moab on the side of the Jordan across from Jericho.

Now (B)Balak the son of Zippor saw all that Israel had done to the Amorites. And (C)Moab was exceedingly afraid of the people because they were many, and Moab was sick with dread because of the children of Israel. So Moab said to (D)the elders of Midian, “Now this company will [a]lick up everything around us, as an ox licks up the grass of the field.” And Balak the son of Zippor was king of the Moabites at that time. Then (E)he sent messengers to Balaam the son of Beor at (F)Pethor, which is near [b]the River in the land of [c]the sons of his people, to call him, saying: “Look, a people has come from Egypt. See, they cover the face of the earth, and are settling next to me! (G)Therefore please come at once, (H)curse this people for me, for they are too mighty for me. Perhaps I shall be able to 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 departed with (I)the diviner’s fee in their hand, and they came to Balaam and spoke to him the words of Balak. And he said to them, (J)“Lodge here tonight, and I will bring back word to you, as the Lord speaks to me.” So the princes of Moab stayed with Balaam.

(K)Then God came to Balaam and said, “Who are these men with you?”

10 So Balaam said to God, “Balak the son of Zippor, king of Moab, has sent to me, saying, 11 ‘Look, a people has come out of Egypt, and they cover the face of the earth. Come now, curse them for me; perhaps I shall be able to overpower them and drive them out.’ ”

12 And God said to Balaam, “You shall not go with them; you shall not curse the people, for (L)they are blessed.”

13 So Balaam rose in the morning and said to the princes of Balak, “Go back to your land, for the Lord has refused to give me permission to go with you.”

14 And the princes of Moab rose and went to Balak, and said, “Balaam refuses to come with us.”

15 Then Balak again sent princes, more numerous and more [d]honorable than they. 16 And they came to Balaam and said to him, “Thus says Balak the son of Zippor: ‘Please let nothing hinder you from coming to me; 17 for I will certainly (M)honor you greatly, and I will do whatever you say to me. (N)Therefore please come, curse this people for me.’ ”

18 Then Balaam answered and said to the servants of Balak, (O)“Though Balak were to give me his house full of silver and gold, (P)I could not go beyond the word of the Lord my God, to do less or more. 19 Now therefore, please, you also (Q)stay here tonight, that I may know what more the Lord will say to me.”

20 (R)And God came to Balaam at night and said to him, “If the men come to call you, rise and go with them; but (S)only the word which I speak to you—that you shall do.” 21 So Balaam rose in the morning, saddled his donkey, and went with the princes of Moab.

Balaam, the Donkey, and the Angel

22 Then God’s anger was aroused because he went, (T)and the Angel of the Lord took His stand in the way as an adversary against him. And he was riding on his donkey, and his two servants were with him. 23 Now (U)the donkey saw the Angel of the Lord standing in the way with His drawn sword in His hand, and the donkey turned aside out of the way and went into the field. So Balaam struck the donkey to turn her back onto the road. 24 Then the Angel of the Lord stood in a narrow path between the vineyards, with a wall on this side and a wall on that side. 25 And when the donkey saw the Angel of the Lord, she pushed herself against the wall and crushed 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 either to the right hand or to the left. 27 And when the donkey saw the Angel of the Lord, she lay down under Balaam; so Balaam’s anger was aroused, and he struck the donkey with his staff.

28 Then the Lord (V)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, “Because you have [e]abused me. I wish there were a sword in my hand, (W)for now I would kill you!”

30 (X)So the donkey said to Balaam, “Am I not your donkey on which you have ridden, ever since I became yours, to this day? Was I ever [f]disposed to do this to you?”

And he said, “No.”

31 Then the Lord (Y)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 fell flat on his face. 32 And the Angel of the Lord said to him, “Why have you struck your donkey these three times? Behold, I have come out [g]to stand against you, because your way is (Z)perverse[h] before Me. 33 The donkey saw Me and turned aside from Me these three times. If she had not turned aside from Me, surely I would also have killed you by now, and let her live.”

34 And Balaam said to the Angel of the Lord, (AA)“I have sinned, for I did not know You stood in the way against me. Now therefore, if it [i]displeases You, I will turn back.”

35 Then the Angel of the Lord said to Balaam, “Go with the men, (AB)but only the word that I speak to you, that you shall speak.” So Balaam went with the princes of Balak.

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Footnotes

  1. Numbers 22:4 consume
  2. Numbers 22:5 The Euphrates
  3. Numbers 22:5 Or the people of Amau
  4. Numbers 22:15 distinguished
  5. Numbers 22:29 mocked
  6. Numbers 22:30 accustomed
  7. Numbers 22:32 as an adversary
  8. Numbers 22:32 contrary
  9. Numbers 22:34 Lit. is evil in your eyes

15 They have forsaken the right way and gone astray, following the way of (A)Balaam the son of Beor, who loved the wages of unrighteousness; 16 but he was rebuked for his iniquity: a dumb donkey speaking with a man’s voice restrained the madness of the prophet.

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The Lord did not set His (A)love on you nor choose you because you were more in number than any other people, for you were (B)the least of all peoples; but (C)because the Lord loves you, and because He would keep (D)the oath which He swore to your fathers, (E)the Lord has brought you out with a mighty hand, and redeemed you from the house of [a]bondage, from the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt.

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Footnotes

  1. Deuteronomy 7:8 slavery

10 (A)He has not dealt with us according to our sins,
Nor punished us according to our iniquities.

11 For as the heavens are high above the earth,
So great is His mercy toward those who fear Him;
12 As far as the east is from the west,
So far has He (B)removed our transgressions from us.
13 (C)As a father pities his children,
So the Lord pities those who fear Him.

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14 But I have a few things against you, because you have there those who hold the doctrine of (A)Balaam, who taught Balak to put a stumbling block before the children of Israel, (B)to eat things sacrificed to idols, (C)and to commit sexual immorality.

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