Numbers Chapter 22  PDF  MSWord

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Go to Commentary on Num 22
Balak Summons Balaam

1The children of Israel traveled and encamped in the plains of Moab beyond the Jordan at Jericho.
  2Balak the son of Zippor saw all that Israel had done to the Amorites.
  3Moab was very afraid of the people because they were many; and Moab was distressed because of the children of Israel.
  4Moab said to the elders of Midian, “Now this multitude will lick up all that is around us as the ox licks up the green plants of the field.” Balak the son of Zippor was king of Moab at that time.
  5He sent messengers to Balaam the son of Beor, to Pethor that 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.
  6Please come now therefore, curse this people for me because they are too mighty for me; then perhaps I may 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.”

7The 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.
  8He said to them, “Lodge here this night, and I will bring you word again as Yahweh will speak to me.” The officials of Moab stayed with Balaam.

9God came to Balaam and said, “Who are these men with you?”

10Balaam 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 them for me; perhaps I may be able to fight against them and drive them out.’”

12God said to Balaam, “You are not to go with them. You are not to curse the people, for they are blessed.”

13Balaam rose up in the morning and said to the officials of Balak, “Go to your land; for Yahweh refuses to permit me to go with you.”

14The officials of Moab rose up, and they went to Balak and said, “Balaam refuses to come with us.”

15Balak sent yet again officials, more, and more honorable than they.
  16They came to Balaam and said to him, “This is what Balak the son of Zippor says: ‘Please let nothing hinder you from coming to me;
  17for I will promote you to very great honor, and whatever you say to me I will do. So please come and curse this people for me.’”

18Balaam answered the servants of Balak, “If Balak would give me his house full of silver and gold, I cannot go beyond the word of Yahweh my God to do less or more.
  19Now therefore, please wait also here this night, that I may know what Yahweh will speak to me more.”
  20God 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 that I speak to you, that you must do.”
  21Balaam rose up in the morning and saddled his donkey and went with the officials of Moab.

Balaam’s Donkey and the Angel

22God’s anger was kindled because he went; and the angel of Yahweh placed himself in the road as an adversary against him. Now he was riding on his donkey and his two servants were with him.
  23The donkey saw the angel of Yahweh standing in the road with his sword drawn in his hand, and the donkey turned aside out of the road and went into the field; and Balaam struck the donkey, to turn her into the road.
  24Then the angel of Yahweh stood in a narrow path between the vineyards, a wall being on this side and a wall on that side.
  25The donkey saw the angel of Yahweh and she thrust herself to the wall and crushed Balaam’s foot against the wall, and he struck her again.

26The angel of Yahweh went further and stood in a narrow place where there was no way to turn either to the right hand or to the left.
  27The donkey saw the angel of Yahweh, and she lay down under Balaam; and Balaam’s anger was kindled, and he struck the donkey with his staff.

28Yahweh 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?”

29Balaam 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.”

30The 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.”

31Then Yahweh opened the eyes of Balaam and he saw the angel of Yahweh standing in the road with his sword drawn in his hand, and he kneeled and bowed down on his face.
  32The angel of Yahweh said to him, “Why have you struck your donkey these three times? Behold, I have come out as an adversary because your way is perverse before me,
  33and 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.”

34Balaam said to the angel of Yahweh, “I have sinned; for I did not know that you stood in the road against me. Now therefore, if it displeases you, I will go back again.”

35The angel of Yahweh said to Balaam, “Go with the men; but you are to speak only the word that I tell you.” So Balaam went with the officials of Balak.

36When Balak heard that Balaam had come, he went out to meet him to the City of Moab that is on the border of the Arnon, that is in the utmost part of the border.
  37Balak said to Balaam, “Didn’t I earnestly send to you to call you? Why didn’t you come to me? Am I not able indeed to promote you to honor?”

38Balaam 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 I must speak.”
  39Balaam went with Balak and they came to Kiriath-huzoth.
  40Balak sacrificed cattle and sheep and sent to Balaam, and to the officials who were with him.

41It came to pass in the morning that Balak took Balaam and brought him up into the high places of Baal, and from there he saw the extremity of the people.

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