Numbers 22
New American Standard Bible►► 

Balak Sends for Balaam

1Then the sons of Israel journeyed on, and camped in the plains of Moab beyond the Jordan opposite Jericho.

2Now Balak the son of Zippor saw all that Israel had done to the Amorites. 3So Moab was in great fear because of the people, for they were numerous; and Moab was in dread of the sons of Israel. 4Moab said to the elders of Midian, “Now this [a]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. 5So he sent messengers to Balaam the son of Beor, at 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. 6Now, therefore, please come, curse this people for me since they are too [b]mighty for me; perhaps I will be able to [c]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.”

7So the elders of Moab and the elders of Midian left with the fees for divination in their hands; and they came to Balaam and [d]repeated Balak’s words to him. 8And 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. 9Then God came to Balaam and said, “Who are these men with you?” 10Balaam 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.’” 12But God said to Balaam, “Do not go with them; you shall not curse the people, for they are blessed.” 13So 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.” 14And the representatives from Moab got up and went to Balak, and said, “Balaam refused to come with us.”

15Then Balak sent representatives once again, more numerous and more distinguished than [e]the previous. 16They 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; 17for I will indeed honor you richly, and I will do whatever you tell me. Please come then, curse this people for me.’” 18But Balaam replied to 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 [f]command of the LORD my God. 19Now please, you also stay here tonight, and I will find out what else the LORD will say to me.” 20And 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 only the thing that I tell you.”

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

The Angel and Balaam

22But God was angry that he was going, 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. 23When 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. 24Then the angel of the LORD stood in a narrow path of the vineyards, with a stone wall on this side and on that side. 25When 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. 26Then 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. 27When the donkey saw the angel of the LORD, she lay down under Balaam; so Balaam was angry and struck the donkey with his staff. 28Then 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?” 29And 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 I would have killed you by now!” 30But 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.”

31Then the LORD opened Balaam’s eyes, and he saw the angel of the LORD standing in the way with his sword drawn in his hand; and he bowed [g]all the way to the ground. 32Then 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 reckless and contrary to me. 33But 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.” 34So 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. Now then, if it is displeasing to you, I will turn back.” 35But the angel of the LORD said to Balaam, “Go with the men, but you shall speak only the word that I [h]tell you.” So Balaam went along with the representatives of Balak.

36When Balak heard that Balaam was coming, he went out to meet him at the city of Moab, which is on the Arnon border, [i]at the extreme end of the border. 37Then 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?” 38So Balaam said to Balak, “Behold, I have come to you now! Am I really able to speak anything? The word that God puts in my mouth, that only shall I speak.” 39And Balaam went with Balak, and they came to Kiriath-huzoth. 40Balak sacrificed oxen and sheep, and sent some to Balaam and the leaders who were with him.

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



[a] 4 Lit assembly
[b] 6 Or numerous
[c] 6 Lit strike
[d] 7 Lit spoke
[e] 15 Lit these
[f] 18 Lit mouth
[g] 31 Lit and prostrated himself to his face
[h] 35 Or speak to
[i] 36 Lit which is at
[j] 41 Or Bamoth-baal
[k] 41 Lit the extremity of the people

New American Standard Bible
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by The Lockman Foundation, La Habra, Calif. All rights reserved.
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Numbers 21
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