1. Then the Israelites journeyed on and camped in the plains of Moab along the Jordan opposite Jericho.
2. Now Balak, the son of Zippor, saw all that the Israelites had done to the Amorites.
3. And the Moabites were afraid of Israel, because they were a very numerous people. In fact, they were terrified.
4. So the Moabites said to the elders of Midian, "Look, this horde is destroying everything around us as easily as the ox eats the grass of the field." So Balak, son of Zippor, king of Moab at the time,
5. sent messengers to summon Balaam, son of Beor, at Pethor near the river in the land of the Amonites. Balak said, "A people has come out of Egypt; they cover the face of the earth and are settling opposite me.
6. Come and put a curse on these people because they are too powerful for me. Then perhaps I may be able to defeat them and drive them out of the land, for I well know that those you bless are indeed blessed and those you curse are cursed."
7. The elders of Moab and Midian set out, taking with them the fee for divination. They went to Balaam and gave him Balak's message.
8. Balaam said to them, "Stay here tonight and I will give you whatever answer Yahweh will have given me." So the Moabite elders stayed in Balaam's house.
9. God came to Balaam and asked him, "Who are these men with you?"
10. Balaam said to God, "Balak, son of Zippor, king of Moab, sent them to me with this message:
11. A people has come out of Egypt and covers the face of the earth. Now come and put a curse on them for me. Perhaps I shall then be able to fight and drive them away."
12. But God said to Balaam, "Do not go with them; you must not put a curse on them because they are blessed."
13. Next morning Balaam got up and said to the elders of Balak, "Return to your country for Yahweh has refused to let me go with you."
14. So the Moabite elders returned to Balak and said, "Balaam refused to come with us."
15. Balak sent other leaders, more numerous and more distinguished than the first.
16. They went to Balaam and said, "This is what Balak, son of Zippor says: Do not refuse to come to me;
17. I will greatly honor you; whatever you ask of me I will do for you. Please come and lay a curse on this people for me."
18. Balaam answered the servants of Balak, "Even if Balak gave me his house full of silver and gold I could not do anything great or small beyond the command of Yahweh, my God.
19. Now you, too, stay here tonight as the others did, till I wait for what else Yahweh may tell me."
20. God came to Balaam at night and said, "If these men have come to summon you, go with them, but you may only do what I tell you."
21. Balaam got up next morning, saddled his donkey and went with the Moabite leaders.
22. But the anger of God was aroused because of his going and Yahweh's angel posted himself on the road, a drawn sword in his hand. Balaam was riding on the donkey and his two boys were with him.
23. When the donkey saw the angel, she turned off the road and went into the field. Then Balaam hit the donkey to get her back on to the road.
24. But the angel of Yahweh stood on a narrow lane between vineyards with a stone wall in either side.
25. When the donkey saw the angel of Yahweh, she shrank against the wall crushing Balaam's foot against it so he beat her again.
26. Then Yahweh's angel went ahead and stopped at a narrow place where there was no room to go either to the right or left.
27. When the donkey saw Yahweh's angel there, she lay down under Balaam; he was angry and beat her with a stick.
28. But now Yahweh opened the mouth of the donkey and she said to Balaam, "What have I done to you to make you beat me three times?"
29. Balaam answered, "You have made a fool of me. If I had a sword just now I would kill you."
30. And the donkey said to Balaam, "Am I not your own donkey that you have ridden to this day? Have I ever dared to do this to you?" He said, "No!"
31. Then Yahweh opened Balaam's eyes and he saw Yahweh's angel standing on the road with a drawn sword. He bowed and fell downward, his face to the ground.
32. Yahweh's angel said to him, "Why did you strike your donkey three times? I have come here to oppose you because you are going a wrong way.
33. The donkey saw me and turned away three times. Otherwise I would have killed you, but not her."
34. And Balaam said to Yahweh's angel, "I did not want to sin. I did not know you were posted against me on the road. But if this journey displeases you I will go back."
35. Yahweh's angel said to Balaam, "Go with these men, but you may say only what I tell you." So Balaam went on with Balak's men.
36. When Balak heard that Balaam had come, he went to meet him at the boundary city of Moab on the Arnon border.
37. Then Balak said to Balaam, "I sent an urgent summons to you; why didn't you come? Did you think I would not pay you well enough?"
38. Balaam then said to Balak, "Now I have come to you; but what can I say? Only what Yahweh puts on my lips."
39. So Balaam went with Balak and they came to Kiriath-huzoth.
40. There Balak sacrificed cattle and sheep and gave some to Balaam and the leaders who were with him.
41. Next morning Balak took Balaam up to the high places of Baal and from there he saw some of the people of Israel.