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Free Bible Version - Numbers

Numbers 22

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1The Israelites moved on and camped on the plains of Moab east of the Jordan, opposite Jericho.
2Balak, son of Zippor, had seen all that the Israelites had done to the Amorites.
3The Moabites were terrified of the Israelites because there were so many of them. The Moabites dreaded the arrival of the Israelites
4and told the leaders of Midian, “This horde will eat up everything we have, just like an ox eats up grass in the field!” (Balak son of Zippor, was king of Moab at that time.)
5He sent messengers to call Balaam, son of Beor, who lived in Pethor near the Euphrates River in his own country. “Listen, a group of people has arrived here who came from Egypt,” Balak said in his message to Balaam. “There are hordes of them and they present a real threat to me.
6Please come immediately and curse these people for me, because they are stronger than me. Maybe then I'll be able to attack them and drive them out of my country because I know that whoever you bless is blessed, and whoever you curse is cursed.”
7The Moabite and Midianite leaders departed, taking payment for the fortune-telling with them. When they arrived they gave Balaam the message from Balak.
8“Stay the night and I'll let you know the answer the Lord gives me,” Balaam told them. So the Moabite leaders stayed there with Balaam.
9God came to Balaam and asked him, “Who are these men staying with you?”
10Balaam told God, “Balak, son of Zippor, the king of Moab, sent me this message:
11‘Listen, a group of people has arrived here who came from Egypt. There are hordes of them. Please come immediately and curse these people for me. Maybe then I'll be able to fight them and drive them out of my country.’”
12But God told Balaam, “You are not to go back with them. You must not curse this people, for they are blessed.”
13In the morning Balaam got up and said to Balak's messengers, “Go back to where you came from because the Lord has refused to allow me to go with you.”
14The Moabite leaders left. They returned to Balak, and told him, “Balaam refused to come back with us.”
15Then Balak sent even more leaders who were more prestigious than before.
16When they arrived they told Balaam, “This is what Balak son of Zippor says: ‘Please don't let anything stop you from coming to see me,
17because I will pay you a great deal and follow all the advice you give me. Please come and curse these people for me!’”
18But Balaam told Balak's officials, “Even if Balak gave me his whole palace full of silver and gold, I couldn't disobey the command of the Lord my God in any way.

19Now you should also stay the night so I can see if the Lord has anything else to tell me.”
20God came to Balaam during the night and told him, “Since these men have come for you, get up and go with them. But only do what I tell you.”
21In the morning Balaam got up, put a saddle on his donkey, and left with the Moabite leaders.
22God's got angry because Balaam had decided to go. The angel of the Lord came and stood in the road to confront him. Balaam was riding on his donkey, and he was accompanied by his two servants.
23The donkey saw the angel of the Lord standing in the road holding a drawn sword, so it turned from the road and went into a field. So Balaam beat it to make it go back to the road.
24Then the angel of the Lord stood in a narrow part of the road that passed between two vineyards, with walls on both sides.
25The donkey saw the angel of the Lord and tried to get past. It pushed up against the wall and crushed Balaam's foot against it. So he beat it again.
26Then the angel of the Lord went ahead and stood in a narrow place where there was no room to get past, either on the right or the left.
27The donkey saw the angel of the Lord and lay down under Balaam. He got angry and beat it with his walking stick.
28The Lord gave the donkey the ability to speak and it said to Balaam, “What have I done to you for you to beat me three times?”
29“You made me look stupid!” Balaam told the donkey. “If I was holding a sword, I'd kill you now!”
30But the donkey asked Balaam, “Aren't I the donkey you've ridden all your life right up to today? Have I ever treated you this way before?” “No,” he admitted.
31Then the Lord gave Balaam the ability to see the angel of the Lord standing in the road holding a drawn sword. Balaam bowed low and fell facedown on the ground.
32The angel of the Lord asked him, “Why did you beat your donkey three times? Listen, I have come to confront you because you're being obstinate.
33The donkey saw me and avoided me three times. If it had not avoided me, by now I definitely would have killed you and allowed the donkey to live.”
34“I have sinned because I did not realize that you were standing in the road to confront me,” Balaam said to the angel of the Lord, “So if this isn't what you want, I'll go back home.”
35The angel of the Lord told Balaam, “No, you can go with the men, but only say what I tell you.” So Balaam continued on with Balak's officials.
36When Balak found out that Balaam was on his way, he went out to meet him at the Moabite town on the border at the Arnon River, the farthest point of his territory.

37He said to Balaam, “Didn't you think my call for you to come was urgent? Why didn't you come to me straight away? Did you think I couldn't pay you enough?”
38“Look, I'm here with you now, aren't I?” Balaam replied. “But do you think I can just say anything? I can only speak the words that God gives me to say.”
39So Balaam went with Balak and they arrived at Kiriath-huzoth.
40Balak sacrificed cattle and sheep, and he shared with meat with Balaam and the leaders who were with him.
41The next morning Balak took Balaam up to Bamoth-baal. From there he could see the extent of the Israelite camp.