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Numbers 22:21-41 GOD’S WORD Translation (GW)

Balaam’s Journey to Moab

21 When Balaam got up in the morning, he saddled his donkey and left with the Moabite princes.

22 God became angry that he was going. So the Messenger of the Lord stood in the road to stop him. Balaam was riding on his donkey, accompanied by his two servants. 23 When the donkey saw the Messenger of the Lord standing in the road with his sword drawn, the donkey turned off the road into a field. Balaam hit the donkey to get it back on the road.

24 Where the road went through the vineyards, it was narrow, with stone walls on both sides. Now the Messenger of the Lord stood there. 25 When the donkey saw the Messenger of the Lord, it moved over and pinned Balaam’s foot against the wall. So Balaam hit the donkey again.

26 Then the Messenger of the Lord moved ahead and stood in a narrower place where there was no room to turn to the right or the left. 27 When the donkey saw the Messenger of the Lord, it lay down under Balaam. Balaam became so angry he hit the donkey with his stick. 28 Then the Lord made the donkey speak, and it asked Balaam, “What have I done to make you hit me three times?”

29 Balaam answered, “You’ve made a fool of me! If I had a sword in my hand, I’d kill you right now.”

30 The donkey said to Balaam, “I’m your own donkey. You’ve always ridden me. Have I ever done this to you before?”

“No,” he answered.

31 Then the Lord let Balaam see the Messenger of the Lord who was standing in the road with his sword drawn. So Balaam knelt, bowing with his face touching the ground.

32 The Messenger of the Lord asked him, “Why have you hit your donkey three times like this? I’ve come here to stop you because the trip you’re taking is evil. [a] 33 The donkey saw me and turned away from me these three times. If it had not turned away from me, I would certainly have killed you by now but spared the donkey.”

34 Balaam said to the Messenger of the Lord, “I’ve sinned. I didn’t know you were standing there in the road to stop me. If you still think this trip is evil, I’ll go back.”

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

36 When Balak heard that Balaam had come, he went out to meet him at Ir Moab, in the region of the Arnon Valley, right on the border of Moab. 37 Balak said to Balaam, “Why didn’t you come when I summoned you? You knew I’d be able to reward you.”

38 Balaam replied, “Well, I’ve come to you now. But I can’t say whatever I want to. I can only say what God tells me to say.”

39 Balaam went with Balak to Kiriath Huzoth. 40 Balak sacrificed cattle, sheep, and goats, and sent some of the meat to Balaam and the princes who were with him.

41 The next morning Balak took Balaam up to Bamoth Baal. From there he could see the outskirts of the Israelites’ camp.

Footnotes:

  1. Numbers 22:33 Greek; Hebrew meaning of “because . . . evil” uncertain.
GOD’S WORD Translation (GW)

Copyright © 1995 by God's Word to the Nations. Used by permission of God's Word Mission Society.

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