1 The children of Israel traveled, and encamped in the plains of Moab beyond the Jordan at Jericho. 2 Balak the son of Zippor saw all that Israel had done to the Amorites. 3 Moab was very afraid of the people, because they were many: and Moab was distressed because of the children of Israel. 4 Moab said to the elders of Midian, "Now this multitude will lick up all that is around us, as the ox licks up the grass of the field." Balak the son of Zippor was king of Moab at that time. 5 He sent messengers to Balaam the son of Beor, to Pethor, which is by the River, to the land of the children of his people, to call him, saying, "Behold, there is a people who came out from Egypt. Behold, they cover the surface of the earth, and they are staying opposite me. 6 Please come now therefore curse me this people; for they are too mighty for me: perhaps I shall prevail, that we may strike them, and that I may drive them out of the land; for I know that he whom you bless is blessed, and he whom you curse is cursed."
7 The elders of Moab and the elders of Midian departed with the rewards of divination in their hand; and they came to Balaam, and spoke to him the words of Balak. 8 He said to them, "Lodge here this night, and I will bring you word again, as the LORD shall speak to me." The princes of Moab stayed with Balaam.
10 Balaam said to God, "Balak the son of Zippor, king of Moab, has said to me, 11 'Behold, the people that has come out of Egypt, it covers the surface of the earth: now, come curse me them; perhaps I shall be able to fight against them, and shall drive them out.'"
12 God said to Balaam, "You shall not go with them. You shall not curse the people; for they are blessed."
13 Balaam rose up in the morning, and said to the princes of Balak, "Go to your land; for the LORD refuses to permit me to go with you."
14 The princes of Moab rose up, and they went to Balak, and said, "Balaam refuses to come with us."
15 Balak sent yet again princes, more, and more honorable than they. 16 They came to Balaam, and said to him, "Thus says Balak the son of Zippor, 'Please let nothing hinder you from coming to me: 17 for I will promote you to very great honor, and whatever you say to me I will do. Please come therefore, and curse this people for me.'"
18 Balaam answered the servants of Balak, "If Balak would give me his house full of silver and gold, I can't go beyond the word of the LORD my God, to do less or more. 19 Now therefore, please wait also here this night, that I may know what the LORD will speak to me more."
20 God came to Balaam at night, and said to him, "If the men have come to call you, rise up, go with them; but only the word which I speak to you, that you shall do." 21 Balaam rose up in the morning, and saddled his donkey, and went with the princes of Moab.
22 God's anger was kindled because he went; and the angel of the LORD placed himself in the way for an adversary against him. Now he was riding on his donkey, and his two servants were with him. 23 The donkey saw the angel of the LORD standing in the way, with his sword drawn in his hand; and the donkey turned aside out of the way, and went into the field: and Balaam struck the donkey, to turn her into the way. 24 Then the angel of the LORD stood in a narrow path between the vineyards, a wall being on this side, and a wall on that side. 25 The donkey saw the angel of the LORD, and she thrust herself to the wall, and crushed Balaam's foot against the wall: and he struck her again. 26 The angel of the LORD went further, and stood in a narrow place, where there was no way to turn either to the right hand or to the left. 27 The donkey saw the angel of the LORD, and she lay down under Balaam: and Balaam's anger was kindled, and he struck the donkey with his staff.
28 The LORD opened the mouth of the donkey, and she said to Balaam, "What have I done to you, that you have struck me these three times?"
29 Balaam said to the donkey, "Because you have mocked me, I wish there were a sword in my hand, for now I would have killed you."
30 The donkey said to Balaam, "Am I not your donkey, on which you have ridden all your life long to this day? Was I ever in the habit of doing so to you?" He said, "No."
31 Then the LORD opened the eyes of Balaam, and he saw the angel of the LORD standing in the way, with his sword drawn in his hand; and he bowed his head, and fell on his face. 32 The angel of the LORD said to him, "Why have you struck your donkey these three times? Behold, I have come forth as an adversary, because your way is perverse before me: 33 and the donkey saw me, and turned aside before me these three times. Unless she had turned aside from me, surely now I would have killed you, and saved her alive."
34 Balaam said to the angel of the LORD, "I have sinned; for I did not know that you stood in the way against me. Now therefore, if it displeases you, I will go back again."
35 The angel of the LORD said to Balaam, "Go with the men; but only the word that I shall speak to you, that you shall speak." So Balaam went with the princes of Balak.
36 When Balak heard that Balaam had come, he went out to meet him to the City of Moab, which is on the border of the Arnon, which is in the utmost part of the border. 37 Balak said to Balaam, "Did I not earnestly send to you to call you? Why did you not come to me? Am I not able indeed to promote you to honor?"
38 Balaam said to Balak, "Behold, I have come to you: have I now any power at all to speak anything? The word that God puts in my mouth, that shall I speak." 39 Balaam went with Balak, and they came to Kiriath Huzoth. 40 Balak sacrificed cattle and sheep, and sent to Balaam, and to the princes who were with him.