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1And the children of Yisra’ĕl set out and camped in the desert plains of Mo’aḇ beyond the Yardĕn of Yeriḥo.
2And Balaq son of Tsippor saw all that Yisra’ĕl had done to the Amorites.
3And Mo’aḇ was exceedingly afraid of the people because they were many, and Mo’aḇ was in dread because of the children of Yisra’ĕl.
4And Mo’aḇ said to the elders of Miḏyan, “Now this company is licking up all that is around us, as an ox licks up the grass of the field.” Now Balaq son of Tsippor was sovereign of the Mo’aḇites at that time,
5and he sent messengers to Bil‛am son of Be‛or at Pethor, which is near the River in the land of the sons of his people, to call him, saying, “See, a people has come from Mitsrayim. See, they have covered the surface of the land, and are settling next to me!
6“And now, please come at once, curse this people for me, for they are too strong for me. It might be that I smite 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.”
7And the elders of Mo’aḇ and the elders of Miḏyan left with the fees for divination in their hand, and they came to Bil‛am and spoke the words of Balaq to him.
8And he said to them, “Spend the night here, and I shall bring back word to you, as יהוה speaks to me.” So the heads of Mo’aḇ stayed with Bil‛am.
9And Elohim came to Bil‛am and said, “Who are these men with you?”
10And Bil‛am said to Elohim, “Balaq, son of Tsippor, sovereign of Mo’aḇ, has sent to me, saying,
11‘See, a people has come out of Mitsrayim and cover the surface of the land. Come now, curse them for me. It might be that I am able to fight against them and drive them out.’ ”
12And Elohim said to Bil‛am, “Do not go with them. You do not curse the people, for they are blessed.”
13And Bil‛am rose in the morning and said to the heads of Balaq, “Go back to your land, for יהוה has refused to allow me to go with you.”
14And the heads of Mo’aḇ arose and went to Balaq, and said, “Bil‛am refuses to come with us.”
15Then Balaq again sent heads, more numerous and more esteemed than they.
16And they came to Bil‛am and said to him, “This is what Balaq son of Tsippor said: ‘Do not be withheld from coming to me, please,
17for I esteem you very greatly, and whatever you say to me, I do. Therefore please come, curse this people for me.’ ”
18And Bil‛am answered and said to the servants of Balaq, “Though Balaq were to give me his house filled with silver and gold, I am unable to go beyond the word of יהוה my Elohim, to do less or more.
19“And now, please, you also stay here tonight, and let me find out what more יהוה says to me.”
20And Elohim came to Bil‛am at night and said to him, “If the men come to call you, rise and go with them, but only the word which I speak to you that you do.”
21And Bil‛am rose in the morning and saddled his donkey, and went with the heads of Mo’aḇ.
22But the displeasure of Elohim burned because he went, and the Messenger of יהוה stationed Himself in the way as an adversary against him. And he was riding on his donkey, and his two servants were with him.
23And the donkey saw the Messenger of יהוה 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 Bil‛am beat the donkey to turn her back onto the way.
24Then the Messenger of יהוה stood in a narrow passage between the vineyards, with a wall on this side and a wall on that side.
25And when the donkey saw the Messenger of יהוה, she pushed herself against the wall and crushed Bil‛am’s foot against the wall, so he beat her again.
26And the Messenger of יהוה went further, and stood in a narrow place where there was no way to turn aside, right or left.
27And when the donkey saw the Messenger of יהוה, she lay down under Bil‛am. So Bil‛am’s displeasure burned, and he beat the donkey with his staff.
28Then יהוה opened the mouth of the donkey, and she said to Bil‛am, “What have I done to you, that you have beaten me these three times?”
29And Bil‛am said to the donkey, “Because you have mocked me. I wish there were a sword in my hand, for I would have killed you by now!”
30And the donkey said to Bil‛am, “Am I not your donkey on which you have ridden, ever since I became yours, to this day? Was I ever known to do so to you?” And he said, “No.”
31Then יהוה opened Bil‛am’s eyes, and he saw the Messenger of יהוה standing in the way with His drawn sword in His hand. And he bowed his head and fell on his face.
32And the Messenger of יהוה said to him, “Why have you beaten your donkey these three times? See, I have come out to stand against you, because your way is reckless before Me.
33“And the donkey saw Me and turned aside from Me these three times. If she had not turned aside from Me, I certainly would have killed you by now, and let her live.”
34And Bil‛am said to the Messenger of יהוה, “I have sinned, for I did not know You stood in the way against me. And now, if evil is in Your eyes, let me turn back.”
35And the Messenger of יהוה said to Bil‛am, “Go with the men, but only the word that I speak to you, that you speak.” Bil‛am then went with the heads of Balaq.
36And when Balaq heard that Bil‛am was coming, he went out to meet him at the city of Mo’aḇ, which is on the border at the Arnon, which was in the extremity of the border.
37And Balaq said to Bil‛am, “Did I not urgently send to you, calling for you? Why did you not come to me? Am I not able to esteem you?”
38And Bil‛am said to Balaq, “See, I have come to you! Now, am I at all able to say somewhat? The word that Elohim puts in my mouth, that I speak.”
39And Bil‛am went with Balaq, and they came to Qiryath Ḥutsoth.
40And Balaq slaughtered cattle and sheep, and he sent some to Bil‛am and to the heads who were with him.
41And it came to be the next day, that Balaq took Bil‛am and brought him up to the high places of Ba‛al, and from there he saw the extremity of the camp.
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