Balak Sends for Balaam
1Then #Num. 33:48, 49the children of Israel moved, and camped in the plains of Moab on the side of the Jordan across from Jericho.
2Now #Josh. 24:9; Judg. 11:25; Mic. 6:5; Rev. 2:14Balak the son of Zippor saw all that Israel had done to the Amorites. 3And #Ex. 15:15Moab was exceedingly afraid of the people because they were many, and Moab was sick with dread because of the children of Israel. 4So Moab said to #Num. 25:15–18; 31:1–3; Josh. 13:21the elders of Midian, “Now this company will 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. 5Then #Num. 31:8, 16; Deut. 23:4; Josh. 13:22; 24:9; Neh. 13:1, 2; Mic. 6:5; 2 Pet. 2:15; Jude 11; Rev. 2:14he sent messengers to Balaam the son of Beor at #Deut. 23:4Pethor, which is near the River in the land of 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! 6#Num. 22:17; 23:7, 8Therefore please come at once, #Num. 22:12; 24:9curse 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.”
7So the elders of Moab and the elders of Midian departed with the #1 Sam. 9:7, 8diviner’s fee in their hand, and they came to Balaam and spoke to him the words of Balak. 8And he said to them, #Num. 22:19“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.
9#Gen. 20:3Then God came to Balaam and said, “Who are these men with you?”
10So 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.’ ”
12And God said to Balaam, “You shall not go with them; you shall not curse the people, for #Num. 23:20; (Rom. 11:28)they are blessed.”
13So 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.”
14And the princes of Moab rose and went to Balak, and said, “Balaam refuses to come with us.”
15Then Balak again sent princes, more numerous and more honorable than they. 16And they came to Balaam and said to him, “Thus says Balak the son of Zippor: ‘Please let nothing hinder you from coming to me; 17for I will certainly #Num. 24:11honor you greatly, and I will do whatever you say to me. #Num. 22:6Therefore please come, curse this people for me.’ ”
18Then Balaam answered and said to the servants of Balak, #Num. 22:38; 24:13“Though Balak were to give me his house full of silver and gold, #1 Kin. 22:14; 2 Chr. 18:13I could not go beyond the word of the Lord my God, to do less or more. 19Now therefore, please, you also #Num. 22:8stay here tonight, that I may know what more the Lord will say to me.”
20#Num. 22:9And God came to Balaam at night and said to him, “If the men come to call you, rise and go with them; but #Num. 22:35; 23:5, 12, 16, 26; 24:13only the word which I speak to you—that you shall do.” 21So Balaam rose in the morning, saddled his donkey, and went with the princes of Moab.
Balaam, the Donkey, and the Angel
22Then God’s anger was aroused because he went, #Ex. 4:24and 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. 23Now #Josh. 5:13; 2 Kin. 6:17; Dan. 10:7; Acts 22:9the 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. 24Then 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. 25And 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. 26Then 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. 27And 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.
28Then the Lord #2 Pet. 2:16opened 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, “Because you have abused me. I wish there were a sword in my hand, #(Prov. 12:10; Matt. 15:19)for now I would kill you!”
30#2 Pet. 2:16So 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 disposed to do this to you?”
And he said, “No.”
31Then the Lord #Gen. 21:19; 2 Kin. 6:17; Luke 24:16, 31opened 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. 32And the Angel of the Lord said to him, “Why have you struck your donkey these three times? Behold, I have come out to stand against you, because your way is #(2 Pet. 2:14, 15)perverse before Me. 33The 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.”
34And Balaam said to the Angel of the Lord, #1 Sam. 15:24, 30; 26:21; 2 Sam. 12:13“I have sinned, for I did not know You stood in the way against me. Now therefore, if it displeases You, I will turn back.”
35Then the Angel of the Lord said to Balaam, “Go with the men, #Num. 22:20but only the word that I speak to you, that you shall speak.” So Balaam went with the princes of Balak.
36Now when Balak heard that Balaam was coming, #Gen. 14:17he went out to meet him at the city of Moab, #Num. 21:13which is on the border at the Arnon, the boundary of the territory. 37Then Balak said to Balaam, “Did I not earnestly send to you, calling for you? Why did you not come to me? Am I not able #Num. 22:17; 24:11to honor you?”
38And Balaam said to Balak, “Look, I have come to you! Now, have I any power at all to say anything? #Num. 23:26; 24:13; 1 Kin. 22:14; 2 Chr. 18:13The word that God puts in my mouth, that I must speak.” 39So Balaam went with Balak, and they came to Kirjath Huzoth. 40Then Balak offered oxen and sheep, and he sent some to Balaam and to the princes who were with him.
Balaam’s First Prophecy
41So it was, the next day, that Balak took Balaam and brought him up to the #Num. 21:28; Deut. 12:2high places of Baal, that from there he might observe the extent of the people.