1The Israelites then set out and pitched their camp in the Plains of Moab, beyond the Jordan oppositeJericho. 2Balak son of Zippor saw all that Israel had done to the Amorites, 3and Moab was terrified of the people, because there were so many of them. Moab was afraid of theIsraelites; 4he said to the elders of Midian, 'This horde wil soon have cropped everything round us as closely asan ox crops grass in the countryside.' Now Balak son of Zippor was king of Moab at the time. 5He sent messengers to summon Balaam son of Beor, at Pethor on the River, in the territory of theAmawites, saying, 'Look, a people coming from Egypt has overrun the whole countryside; they have halted at myvery door. 6I beg you come and curse this people for me, for they are stronger than I am. We may then be able todefeat them and drive them out of the country. For this I know: anyone you bless is blessed, anyone you curse isaccursed.' 7The elders of Moab and the elders of Midian set out, taking the fee for the divination with them. Theyfound Balaam and gave him Balak's message. 8He said to them, 'Stay the night here, and I wil answer as Yahweh directs me.' So the chiefs of Moabstayed with Balaam. 9God came to Balaam and said, 'Who are these men staying with you?' 10Balaam said to God, 'Balak son of Zippor, king of Moab, has sent me this message, 11"Look, a people coming from Egypt has overrun the whole countryside. Come now and curse themfor me; I may then be able to defeat them and drive them out." ' 12God said to Balaam, 'You are not to go with them. You are not to curse the people, for they areblessed.' 13In the morning Balaam got up and said to the chiefs sent by Balak, 'Go back to your country, forYahweh wil not let me go with you.' 14So the chiefs of Moab got up, went back to Balak and said, 'Balaam refuses to come with us.' 15And again Balak sent chiefs, more numerous and more renowned than the first. 16They came to Balaam and said, 'A message from Balak son of Zippor, "Now do not refuse to cometo me. 17I wil load you with honours and do whatever you say. I beg you come and curse this people for me."' 18In reply, Balaam said to Balak's envoys, 'Even if Balak gave me his house ful of silver and gold, Icould not go against the order of Yahweh my God in anything, great or smal . 19Now please stay the night here yourselves, and I wil learn what else Yahweh has to tel me.' 20God came to Balaam during the night and said to him, 'Have not these men come to summon you?Get up, go with them, but do only what I tel you to do.' 21Balaam got up and saddled his donkey and set out with the chiefs of Moab. 22His going kindled Yahweh's anger, and the angel of Yahweh took his stand on the road to bar hisway. Balaam was riding his donkey and his two servants were with him. 23Now the donkey saw the angel of Yahweh standing in the road with a drawn sword in his hand, andshe turned off the road into the open country. Balaam then struck the donkey to turn her back onto the road. 24The angel of Yahweh then went and stood on a narrow path among the vineyards, with a wall to theright and a wal to the left. 25The donkey saw the angel of Yahweh and scraped against the wal , scraping Balaam's foot againstit, so he struck her again. 26The angel of Yahweh then moved and stood in a place so narrow that there was no room to passeither to right or left. 27When the donkey saw the angel of Yahweh, she lay down under Balaam. Balaam flew into a rageand struck the donkey with his stick. 28Yahweh then gave the donkey the power to talk, and she said to Balaam, 'What harm have I doneyou, for you to strike me three times like this?' 29Balaam answered the donkey, 'Because you have been making a fool of me! If I had been carryinga sword, I should have killed you by now.' 30The donkey said to Balaam, 'Am I not your donkey, and have I not been your mount all your life?Have I ever behaved like this with you before?' 'No,' he replied. 31Yahweh then opened Balaam's eyes and he saw the angel of Yahweh standing in the road with adrawn sword in his hand; and he bowed his head and threw himself on his face. 32And the angel of Yahweh said to him, 'Why did you strike your donkey three times like that? I myselfhad come to bar your way; while I am here your road is blocked. 33The donkey saw me and turned aside because of me three times. You are lucky she did turn aside,or I should have kil ed you by now, though I would have spared her.' 34Balaam said to the angel of Yahweh, 'I have sinned. I did not know you were standing in the road tostop me. But if what I am doing displeases you, I wil go home again.' 35The angel of Yahweh said to Balaam, 'Go with these men, but say only what I tel you to say.' SoBalaam went on with the chiefs sent by Balak. 36Balak learned that Balaam was coming and went out to meet him, in the direction of Ar in Moab, atthe Arnon frontier on the country's furthest boundary. 37Balak said to Balaam, 'Did I not send messengers to summon you? Why did you not come to me?Did you think, perhaps, I could confer no honours on you?' 38Balaam said to Balak, 'I have come to you after al . I suppose you know I cannot say anything on myown? The words God puts into my mouth are what I shall say.' 39Balaam set out with Balak. They came to Kiriath-Huzoth. 40Balak sacrificed oxen and sheep, and offered portions to Balaam and the chiefs who were with him. 41Next morning Balak took Balaam and brought him up to Bamoth-Baal, from where he could see theedge of the camp.
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