NLTNew Living Translation
21So the next morning Balaam got up, saddled his donkey, and started off with the Moabite officials. 22But God was angry that Balaam was going, so he sent the angel of the Lord to stand in the road to block his way. As Balaam and two servants were riding along, 23Balaam’s donkey saw the angel of the Lord standing in the road with a drawn sword in his hand. The donkey bolted off the road into a field, but Balaam beat it and turned it back onto the road. 24Then the angel of the Lord stood at a place where the road narrowed between two vineyard walls. 25When the donkey saw the angel of the Lord, it tried to squeeze by and crushed Balaam’s foot against the wall. So Balaam beat the donkey again. 26Then the angel of the Lord moved farther down the road and stood in a place too narrow for the donkey to get by at all. 27This time when the donkey saw the angel, it lay down under Balaam. In a fit of rage Balaam beat the animal again with his staff.
28Then the Lord gave the donkey the ability to speak. “What have I done to you that deserves your beating me three times?” it asked Balaam.
29“You have made me look like a fool!” Balaam shouted. “If I had a sword with me, I would kill you!”
30“But I am the same donkey you have ridden all your life,” the donkey answered. “Have I ever done anything like this before?”
“No,” Balaam admitted.
31Then the Lord opened Balaam’s eyes, and he saw the angel of the Lord standing in the roadway with a drawn sword in his hand. Balaam bowed his head and fell face down on the ground before him.
32“Why did you beat your donkey those three times?” the angel of the Lord demanded. “Look, I have come to block your way because you are stubbornly resisting me. 33Three times the donkey saw me and shied away; otherwise, I would certainly have killed you by now and spared the donkey.”
34Then Balaam confessed to the angel of the Lord, “I have sinned. I didn’t realize you were standing in the road to block my way. I will return home if you are against my going.”
Holy Bible, New Living Translation copyright 1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois, 60188. All rights reserved.