1 And they set out and made camp in the plains of Moab, across the Jordan, where Jericho is situated.
2 Then Balak, the son of Zippor, seeing all that Israel had done to the Amorite,
3 and that the Moabites had great fear of him, and that they were not able to bear his assault,
4 said to those greater by birth of Midian: "So will this people wipe away all those who are dwelling within our borders, in the same way that the ox is accustomed to tear out grass, all the way to the roots." At that time, he was king of Moab.
5 Therefore, he sent messengers to Balaam, the son of Beor, a seer who lived above the river of the land of the sons of Ammon, to call him, and to say: "Behold, a people has gone forth from Egypt, which has covered the face of the earth. They are encamped opposite me.
6 Therefore, come and curse this people, for they are stronger than I am. If only, in some way, I might be able to strike them and to drive them from my land. For I know that he whom you bless shall be blessed, and he whom you curse shall be cursed."
7 And the elders of Moab, and those greater by birth of Midian, continued on, holding the price of divination in their hands. And when they had come to Balaam, and had explained to him all the words of Balak,
8 he responded, "Remain for this night, and I will answer with whatever the Lord will say to me." And while they stayed with Balaam, God came and said to him,
9 "What do these men want with you?"
10 He responded, "Balak, the son of Zippor, the king of the Moabites has sent to me,
11 saying: 'Behold, a people, which has gone forth from Egypt, has covered the face of the earth. Come and curse them, so that, in some way, I may be able to fight them and drive them away.' "
12 And God said to Balaam, "Do not go with them, and do not curse the people, for they are blessed."
13 And he, rising up in the morning, said to the leaders, "Go into your own land, for the Lord has prohibited me from going with you."
14 Returning, the leaders said to Balak, "Balaam was not willing to come with us."
15 Again, he sent many more persons, and these were more noble than those he had sent before.
16 And when these had come to Balaam, they said: "So says Balak, the son of Zippor. Do not hesitate to come to me.
17 For I am ready to honor you, and whatever you would want, I shall give to you. Come and curse this people."
18 Balaam responded: "Even if Balak were to give to me his own house, filled with silver and gold, I still would not be able to change the word of the Lord my God, neither to say more, nor to say less.
19 I beg you to remain for this night also, so that I may know what the Lord will answer me again."
20 Therefore, God came to Balaam in the night, and said to him: "If these men have arrived to call you, then rise up and go with them; yet only in so far as you shall do what I will command you."
21 Balaam rose up in the morning, and saddling his donkey, he set out with them.
22 And God was angry. And an Angel of the Lord stood in the way opposite Balaam, who was sitting on the donkey, and he had two servants with him.
23 The donkey, discerning that the Angel was standing in the way with a drawn sword, turned herself from the road and went through a field. And when Balaam beat her and intended to return her to the path,
24 the Angel stood in a narrow place between the two walls, with which the vineyards were enclosed.
25 And the donkey, seeing this, drew herself close to the wall and scraped the foot of the rider. So he beat her again.
26 And, nevertheless, the Angel passing on to a narrow place, where one would not be able to deviate either to the right or to the left, stood to meet him.
27 And when the donkey had seen the Angel standing there, she fell under the feet of the rider, who, being angry, struck her sides more vehemently with a club.
28 And the Lord opened the mouth of the donkey, and she said: "What have I done to you? Why do strike you me, behold now, for the third time?"
29 Balaam responded, "Because you have deserved it, and you have mistreated me. If only I had a sword, so that I might pierce you."
30 The donkey said: "Am not I your animal, on which you have always been accustomed to sit, even until this present day? Tell me, when did I ever do the same thing to you." But he said, "Never."
31 Immediately, the Lord opened the eyes of Balaam, and he saw the Angel standing in the way with a drawn sword, and he reverenced him prone on the ground.
32 And the Angel said to him: "Why did you beat your donkey three times? I have come to be an adversary to you, because your way is perverse and contrary to me.
33 And unless the donkey had turned aside from the way, allowing a place for my opposition, I would have killed you, and she would have lived."
34 Balaam said: "I have sinned, not knowing that you stood against me. And now, if it displeases you for me to continue on, I will return."
35 The Angel said, "Go with them, but be careful not to speak anything other than what I shall instruct you." And so, he went with the leaders.
36 And when Balak had heard it, he went out to meet him in a town of the Moabites, which is situated at the furthest borders of Arnon.
37 And he said to Balaam: "I sent messengers to call you. Why did you not come to me immediately? Was it because I am not able to pay the cost for your arrival?"
38 He answered him: "Behold, here I am. Am I able to speak anything other than what God will put into my mouth?"
39 Therefore, they continued on together, and they arrived at a city, which was at the furthest borders of his kingdom.
40 And after Balak had killed oxen and sheep, he sent the gifts to Balaam, and to the leaders who were with him.
41 Then, when morning arrived, he led him to the heights of Baal, and he gazed upon the most distant portions of the population.