A Donkey Rebukes Balaam
1Then Bnei-Yisrael set out and camped in the plains of Moab alongside the Jordan across from Jericho.
2When Balak son of Zippor, realized all that Bnei-Yisrael had done to the Amorites,
3Moab became terrified because there were so many people. Moab was filled with dread because of Bnei-Yisrael.
4Moab said to the elders of Midian, “The multitude will lick up everything around us like the ox licks up the grass of the field.” Now Balak son of Zippor was king of Moab at that time.
5He sent messengers to summon Balaam son of Beor, at Pethor near the River in his native land, saying to him, “Look now, a people has come out of Egypt. See now, they cover the surface of the earth and are settling beside me.
6Come now, curse this people for me, because they are too strong for me! Perhaps I may be able to defeat them and drive them away from the country. I know that whoever you bless will be blessed and whoever you curse will be accursed!”
7The elders of Moab and Midian left with divination fees in their hand. When they came to Balaam, they told him Balak’s words.
8He said to them, “Spend the night here. I will give you an answer just as Adonai speaks to me.” So the officials of Moab stayed with Balaam.
9God came to Balaam and asked, “Who are these men with you?”
10Balaam said to God, “Balak son of Zippor, king of Moab, sent word to me:
11See, the people coming out of Egypt cover the surface of the land. Come now, curse them for me. Perhaps I will be able to fight against them and drive them away!”
12God said to Balaam, “Do not go with them! Do not curse them, for they are blessed!”
13So Balaam got up in the morning and said to the officials of Balak, “Go back to your country, for Adonai has refused to let me go with you.”
14So the Moabite officials got up, went back to Balak, and said, “Balaam refused to come with us.”
15Balak again sent other dignitaries, more numerous and honored than these previous ones.
16They also came to Balaam and said to him, “Thus says Balak son of Zippor: Please let nothing keep you from coming to me!
17I will richly reward you, and everything you tell me I will do! Just come now and curse this people for me!”
18But Balaam answered Balak’s servants, “Even if Balak gave me his house full of silver and gold, I cannot cross beyond the mouth of Adonai my God, to do anything small or great!
19But now, you may spend the night here, too. Then I may find out anything else Adonai may say to me.”
20God came to Balaam by night and said to him, “Since the men came to you to summon you, arise and go with them. However, only the word I tell you are you to do!”
21So Balaam got up in the morning, saddled his donkey, and went with the Moabite princes.
22But the anger of God burned because he was going. The angel of Adonai stood in the road to oppose him—he was riding on his donkey and two of his servants were with him—
23when the donkey saw the angel of Adonai standing in the road with his drawn sword in his hand, the donkey turned off the road and went into the field. So Balaam beat the donkey to get her back onto the road.
24Then the angel of Adonai stood in a narrow path between two vineyards, with a wall on this side and a wall on that side.
25When the donkey saw the angel of Adonai, she pressed against the wall, crushing Balaam’s foot against the wall. So Balaam continued beating her.
26The angel again moved. He stood in a narrow place where there was no room to turn, right or left.
27When the donkey saw the angel of Adonai, she lay down under Balaam. Balaam was very angry and beat the donkey with his staff.
28Then Adonai opened the donkey’s mouth and she said to Balaam, “What have I done to you that you have beaten me these three times?”
29Balaam said to the donkey, “Because you’ve made a fool of me! If I had a sword in my hand, I would kill you now!”
30The donkey said to Balaam, “Am I not your donkey which you have ridden as always to this day? Have I ever been in the habit of doing this to you?” “No,” he said.
31Then Adonai opened Balaam’s eyes, and he saw the angel of Adonai standing in the road with his drawn sword in his hand. So he fell on his face.
32The angel of Adonai said to him, “Why have you beaten your donkey these three times? Behold, I came as an adversary because your way before Me is a reckless one!
33The donkey saw Me and turned away from Me these three times. If she had not turned away from Me, by now I would have killed you indeed, but let her live!”
34Balaam said to the angel of Adonai, “I have sinned, for I did not know that you were standing in the road to oppose me. Now, if this is displeasing in your eyes, I will go back home.”
35The angel of Adonai said to Balaam, “Go with the men, but speak only the word that I tell you.” So Balaam went with Balak’s princes.
36When Balak heard that Balaam had come, he went out to greet him at the Moabite city on the border of the Arnon, the frontier of the territory.
37Balak said to Balaam, “Didn’t I send you an urgent summons? Why didn’t you come to me? Am I really unable to reward you?”
38“Look, I have come to you now!” Balaam said to Balak. “Can I just say anything? I must speak only the message which God puts into my mouth.”
39Then Balaam went with Balak to Kiriath-huzoth.
40Balak sacrificed cattle and sheep and sent some to Balaam and the princes who were with him.
41In the morning, Balak took Balaam with him to Bamoth-baal, and from there he saw part of the people.