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Numbers 22 Expanded Bible (EXB)

Balak Sends for Balaam

22 Then the ·people [L sons/T children of] of Israel went to the plains of Moab, and they camped near the Jordan River across from Jericho.

Balak son of Zippor saw everything the Israelites had done to the Amorites. And Moab ·was scared of [dreaded] so many Israelites; truly, Moab was terrified by them.

The Moabites said to the elders of Midian, “·These people [L This community/assembly/congregation] will ·take [lick up] everything around us like an ox ·eating [licking] grass.”

Balak son of Zippor was the king of Moab at this time. He sent messengers to Balaam son of Beor at Pethor, near the Euphrates River in ·his native land [or the land of Amaw]. Balak said, “A nation has come out of Egypt that covers the land. They have ·camped [L settled] next to me, and they are too powerful for me. So come and put a curse on them. Maybe then I can defeat them and ·make them leave [drive them from] the area. I know that if you bless someone, the blessings happen, and if you put a curse on someone, it happens.”

The elders of Moab and Midian went with ·payment [L fee for divination] in their hands. When they found Balaam, they told him what Balak had said.

Balaam said to them, “Stay here for the night, and I will tell you what the Lord tells me.” So the Moabite leaders stayed with him.

God came to Balaam and asked, “Who are these men with you?”

10 Balaam said to God, “The king of Moab, Balak son of Zippor, sent them to me with this message: 11 ‘A ·nation [people] has come out of Egypt that ·covers [spreads over] the land. So come and put a curse on them, and maybe I can fight them and force them out of my land.’”

12 But God said to Balaam, “Do not go with them. Don’t put a curse on those people, because I have blessed them.”

13 The next morning Balaam ·awoke [rose] and said to Balak’s leaders, “Go back to your own country; the Lord has refused to let me go with you.”

14 So the Moabite leaders went back to Balak and said, “Balaam refused to come with us.”

15 So Balak sent other leaders—this time there were more of them, and they were more ·important [distinguished]. 16 They went to Balaam and said, “Balak son of Zippor says this: Please don’t let anything stop you from coming to me. 17 I will ·pay you very well [make you wealthy; honor you], and I will do what you say. Come and put a curse on these people for me.”

18 But Balaam answered Balak’s servants, “King Balak could give me his palace full of silver and gold, but I cannot ·disobey [transgress] the Lord my God in anything, great or small. 19 You stay here tonight as the other men did, and I will find out what more the Lord tells me.”

20 That night God came to Balaam and said, “These men have come to ask you to go with them. Go, but only do what I tell you.”

Balaam’s Donkey Speaks

21 Balaam got up the next morning and put a saddle on his donkey. Then he went with the Moabite leaders. 22 But God became angry because Balaam went, so the ·angel [messenger] of the Lord stood in the road to ·stop [challenge] Balaam. Balaam was riding his donkey, and he had two servants with him. 23 When the donkey saw the ·angel [messenger] of the Lord standing in the road with a drawn sword in his hand, the donkey left the road and went into the field. Balaam ·hit [struck] the donkey to force her back on the road.

24 Later, the ·angel [messenger] of the Lord stood on a narrow path between two vineyards, with walls on both sides. 25 Again the donkey saw the angel of the Lord, and she walked close to one wall, ·crushing [squeezing; scraping] Balaam’s foot against it. So he ·hit [struck] her again.

26 The ·angel [messenger] of the Lord went ahead again and stood at a narrow place, too narrow to turn left or right. 27 When the donkey saw the ·angel [messenger] of the Lord, she lay down under Balaam. This made him so angry that he ·hit [struck] her with his stick. 28 Then the Lord made the donkey talk, and she said to Balaam, “What have I done to make you ·hit [strike] me three times?”

29 Balaam answered the donkey, “You have made me look foolish! I wish I had a sword in my hand! I would kill you right now!”

30 But the donkey said to Balaam, “·I am [L Am I not…?] your very own donkey, which you have ridden for years. Have I ever done this to you before?”

“No,” Balaam said.

31 Then the Lord opened the eyes of Balaam and let Balaam see the ·angel [messenger] of the Lord, who was standing in the road with his sword drawn in his hand. Then Balaam bowed facedown on the ground.

32 The ·angel [messenger] of the Lord asked Balaam, “Why have you ·hit [struck] your donkey three times? I have stood here to ·stop [challenge] you, because what you are doing is wrong. 33 The donkey saw me and turned away from me three times [C it was more spiritually sensitive than Balaam]. If she had not turned away, I would have killed you by now, but I would have let her live.”

34 Then Balaam said to the ·angel [messenger] of the Lord, “I have sinned; I did not know you were standing in the road to stop me. If I am wrong, I will go back.”

35 The ·angel [messenger] of the Lord said to Balaam, “Go with these men, but say only what I tell you.” So Balaam went with Balak’s leaders.

36 When Balak heard that Balaam was coming, he went out to meet him at Ar in Moab, which was beside the Arnon, at the edge of his ·country [boundary]. 37 Balak said to Balaam, “·I had asked you before [L Did I not send for you…?] to come quickly. Why didn’t you come to me? ·I am [L Am I not…?] able to ·reward you well [give you wealth].”

38 But Balaam answered, “I have come to you now, but I can’t say just anything. I can only say what God tells me to say.”

39 Then Balaam went with Balak to Kiriath Huzoth. 40 Balak offered cattle and sheep as a sacrifice and gave some meat to Balaam and the leaders with him.

41 The next morning Balak took Balaam to Bamoth Baal; from there he could see the edge of the ·Israelite camp [L people].

Expanded Bible (EXB)

The Expanded Bible, Copyright © 2011 Thomas Nelson Inc. All rights reserved.

Numbers 22 New International Version (NIV)

Balak Summons Balaam

22 Then the Israelites traveled to the plains of Moab and camped along the Jordan across from Jericho.

Now Balak son of Zippor saw all that Israel had done to the Amorites, and Moab was terrified because there were so many people. Indeed, Moab was filled with dread because of the Israelites.

The Moabites said to the elders of Midian, “This horde is going to lick up everything around us, as an ox licks up the grass of the field.

So Balak son of Zippor, who was king of Moab at that time, sent messengers to summon Balaam son of Beor, who was at Pethor, near the Euphrates River, in his native land. Balak said:

“A people has come out of Egypt; they cover the face of the land and have settled next to me. Now come and put a curse on these people, because they are too powerful for me. Perhaps then I will be able to defeat them and drive them out of the land. For I know that whoever you bless is blessed, and whoever you curse is cursed.”

The elders of Moab and Midian left, taking with them the fee for divination. When they came to Balaam, they told him what Balak had said.

“Spend the night here,” Balaam said to them, “and I will report back to you with the answer the Lord gives me.” So the Moabite officials stayed with him.

God came to Balaam and asked, “Who are these men with you?”

10 Balaam said to God, “Balak son of Zippor, king of Moab, sent me this message: 11 ‘A people that has come out of Egypt covers the face of the land. Now come and put a curse on them for me. Perhaps then I will be able to fight them and drive them away.’”

12 But God said to Balaam, “Do not go with them. You must not put a curse on those people, because they are blessed.

13 The next morning Balaam got up and said to Balak’s officials, “Go back to your own country, for the Lord has refused to let me go with you.”

14 So the Moabite officials returned to Balak and said, “Balaam refused to come with us.”

15 Then Balak sent other officials, more numerous and more distinguished than the first. 16 They came to Balaam and said:

“This is what Balak son of Zippor says: Do not let anything keep you from coming to me, 17 because I will reward you handsomely and do whatever you say. Come and put a curse on these people for me.”

18 But Balaam answered them, “Even if Balak gave me all the silver and gold in his palace, I could not do anything great or small to go beyond the command of the Lord my God. 19 Now spend the night here so that I can find out what else the Lord will tell me.

20 That night God came to Balaam and said, “Since these men have come to summon you, go with them, but do only what I tell you.”

Balaam’s Donkey

21 Balaam got up in the morning, saddled his donkey and went with the Moabite officials. 22 But God was very angry when he went, and the angel of the Lord stood in the road to oppose him. Balaam was riding on his donkey, and his two servants were with him. 23 When the donkey saw the angel of the Lord standing in the road with a drawn sword in his hand, it turned off the road into a field. Balaam beat it to get it back on the road.

24 Then the angel of the Lord stood in a narrow path through the vineyards, with walls on both sides. 25 When the donkey saw the angel of the Lord, it pressed close to the wall, crushing Balaam’s foot against it. So he beat the donkey again.

26 Then the angel of the Lord moved on ahead and stood in a narrow place where there was no room to turn, either to the right or to the left. 27 When the donkey saw the angel of the Lord, it lay down under Balaam, and he was angry and beat it with his staff. 28 Then the Lord opened the donkey’s mouth, and it said to Balaam, “What have I done to you to make you beat me these three times?

29 Balaam answered the donkey, “You have made a fool of me! If only I had a sword in my hand, I would kill you right now.

30 The donkey said to Balaam, “Am I not your own donkey, which you have always ridden, to this day? Have I been in the habit of doing this to you?”

“No,” he said.

31 Then the Lord opened Balaam’s eyes, and he saw the angel of the Lord standing in the road with his sword drawn. So he bowed low and fell facedown.

32 The angel of the Lord asked him, “Why have you beaten your donkey these three times? I have come here to oppose you because your path is a reckless one before me.[a] 33 The donkey saw me and turned away from me these three times. If it had not turned away, I would certainly have killed you by now, but I would have spared it.”

34 Balaam said to the angel of the Lord, “I have sinned. I did not realize you were standing in the road to oppose me. Now if you are displeased, I will go back.”

35 The angel of the Lord said to Balaam, “Go with the men, but speak only what I tell you.” So Balaam went with Balak’s officials.

36 When Balak heard that Balaam was coming, he went out to meet him at the Moabite town on the Arnon border, at the edge of his territory. 37 Balak said to Balaam, “Did I not send you an urgent summons? Why didn’t you come to me? Am I really not able to reward you?”

38 “Well, I have come to you now,” Balaam replied. “But I can’t say whatever I please. I must speak only what God puts in my mouth.”

39 Then Balaam went with Balak to Kiriath Huzoth. 40 Balak sacrificed cattle and sheep, and gave some to Balaam and the officials who were with him. 41 The next morning Balak took Balaam up to Bamoth Baal, and from there he could see the outskirts of the Israelite camp.

Footnotes:

  1. Numbers 22:32 The meaning of the Hebrew for this clause is uncertain.
New International Version (NIV)

Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

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