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The Tanach, Jewish Publication Society tr. [1917], at


1 And the children of Israel journeyed, and pitched in the plains of Moab beyond the Jordan at Jericho.


2 And Balak the son of Zippor saw all that Israel had done to the Amorites. 3 And Moab was sore afraid of the people, because they were many; and Moab was overcome with dread because of the children of Israel. 4 And Moab said unto the elders of Midian: `Now will this multitude lick up all that is round about us, as the ox licketh up the grass of the field.'—And Balak the son of Zippor was king of Moab at that time.— 5 And he sent messengers unto 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 come out from Egypt; behold, they cover the face of the earth, and they abide over against me. 6 Come now therefore, I pray thee, curse me this people; for they are too mighty for me; peradventure I shall prevail, that we may smite them, and that I may drive them out of the land; for I know that he whom thou blessest is blessed, and he whom thou cursest is cursed.' 7 And the elders of Moab and the elders of Midian departed with the rewards of divination in their hand; and they came unto Balaam, and spoke unto him the words of Balak. 8 And he said unto them: `Lodge here this night, and I will bring you back word, as the LORD may speak unto me'; and the princes of Moab abode with Balaam. 9 And God came unto Balaam, and said: `What men are these with thee?' 10 And Balaam said unto God: `Balak the son of Zippor, king of Moab, hath sent unto me [,saying]: 11 Behold the people that is come out of Egypt, it covereth the face of the earth; now, come curse me them; peradventure I shall be able to fight against them, and shall drive them out.' 12 And God said unto Balaam: `Thou shalt not go with them; thou shalt not curse the people; for they are blessed.' 13 And Balaam rose up in the morning, and said unto the princes of Balak: `Get you into your land; for the LORD refuseth to give me leave to go with you.' 14 And the princes of Moab rose up, and they went unto Balak, and said: `Balaam refuseth to come with us.' 15 And Balak sent yet again princes, more, and more honourable than they. 16 And they came to Balaam, and said to him: `Thus saith Balak the son of Zippor: Let nothing, I pray thee, hinder thee from coming unto me; 17 for I will promote

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thee unto very great honour, and whatsoever thou sayest unto me I will do; come therefore, I pray thee, curse me this people.' 18 And Balaam answered and said unto the servants of Balak: `If Balak would give me his house full of silver and gold, I cannot go beyond the word of the LORD my God, to do any thing, small or great. 19 Now therefore, I pray you, tarry ye also here this night, that I may know what the LORD will speak unto me more.' 20 And God came unto Balaam at night, and said unto him: `If the men are come to call thee, rise up, go with them; but only the word which I speak unto thee, that shalt thou do.' 21 And Balaam rose up in the morning, and saddled his ass, and went with the princes of Moab. 22 And 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 upon his ass, and his two servants were with him.— 23 And the ass saw the angel of the LORD standing in the way, with his sword drawn in his hand; and the ass turned aside out of the way, and went into the field; and Balaam smote the ass, to turn her into the way. 24 Then the angel of the LORD stood in a hollow way between the vineyards, a fence being on this side, and a fence on that side. 25 And the ass saw the angel of the LORD, and she thrust herself unto the wall, and crushed Balaam's foot against the wall; and he smote her again. 26 And the angel of the LORD went further, and stood in a narrow place, where was no way to turn either to the right hand or to the left. 27 And the ass saw the angel of the LORD, and she lay down under Balaam; and Balaam's anger was kindled, and he smote the ass with his staff. 28 And the LORD opened the mouth of the ass, and she said unto Balaam: `What have I done unto thee, that thou hast smitten me these three times?' 29 And Balaam said unto the ass: `Because thou hast mocked me; I would there were a sword in my hand, for now I had killed thee.' 30 And the ass said unto Balaam: `Am not I thine ass, upon which thou hast ridden all thy life long unto this day? was I ever wont to do so unto thee?' And he said: `Nay.' 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 And the angel of the LORD said unto him: `Wherefore hast thou smitten thine ass these three times? behold, I am come forth for an adversary, because thy way is contrary unto me; 33 and the ass saw me, and turned aside before me these three times; unless she had turned aside from me, surely now I had even slain thee, and saved her alive.' 34 And Balaam said unto the angel of the LORD: `I have sinned; for I knew not that thou stoodest in the way against me; now therefore, if it displease thee, I will get me back.' 35 And the angel of the LORD said unto Balaam: `Go with the men; but only the word that I shall speak unto thee, that thou shalt speak.' So Balaam went with the princes of Balak. 36 And when Balak heard that Balaam was come, he went out to meet him unto Ir-moab, which is on the border of Arnon, which is in the utmost part of the border. 37 And Balak said unto Balaam: `Did I not earnestly send unto thee to call thee? wherefore camest thou not unto me? am I not able indeed to promote thee to honour?' 38 And Balaam said unto Balak:

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`Lo, I am come unto thee; have I now any power at all to speak any thing? the word that God putteth in my mouth, that shall I speak.' 39 And Balaam went with Balak, and they came unto Kiriath-huzoth. 40 And Balak sacrificed oxen and sheep, and sent to Balaam, and to the princes that were with him. 41 And it came to pass in the morning that Balak took Balaam, and brought him up into Bamoth-baal, and he saw from thence the utmost part of the people.

1 And Balaam said unto Balak: `Build me here seven altars, and prepare me here seven bullocks and seven rams.' 2 And Balak did as Balaam had spoken; and Balak and Balaam offered on every altar a bullock and a ram. 3 And Balaam said unto Balak: `Stand by thy burnt-offering, and I will go; peradventure the LORD will come to meet me; and whatsoever He showeth me I will tell thee.' And he went to a bare height. 4 And. God met Balaam; and he said unto Him: `I have prepared the seven altars, and I have offered up a bullock and a ram on every altar. 5 And the LORD put a word in Balaam's mouth, and said: `Return unto Balak, and thus thou shalt speak.' 6 And he returned unto him, and, lo, he stood by his burnt-offering, he, and all the princes of Moab. 7 And he took up his parable, and said:

From Aram Balak bringeth me,
The king of Moab from the mountains of the East:
`Come, curse me Jacob,
And come, execrate Israel.'
8 How shall I curse, whom God hath not cursed?
And how shall I execrate, whom the LORD hath not execrated?
9 For from the top of the rocks I see him,
And from the hills I behold him:
Lo, it is a people that shall dwell alone,
And shall not be reckoned among the nations.
10 Who hath counted the dust of Jacob,
Or numbered the stock of Israel?
Let me die the death of the righteous,
And let mine end be like his!

11 And Balak said unto Balaam: `What hast thou done unto me? I took thee to curse mine enemies, and, behold, thou hast blessed them altogether.' 12 And he answered and said: `Must I not take heed to speak that which the LORD putteth in my mouth?' 13 And Balak said unto him: `Come, I pray thee, with me unto another place, from whence thou mayest see them; thou shalt see but the utmost part of them, and shalt not see them all; and curse me them from thence.' 14 And he took him into the field of Zophim, to the top of Pisgah, and built seven altars, and offered up a bullock and a ram on every altar. 15 And he said unto Balak: `Stand here by thy burnt-offering, while I go toward a meeting yonder.' 16 And the LORD met Balaam, and put a word in his mouth, and said: `Return unto Balak, and thus shalt thou speak.' 17 And he came to him, and, lo, he stood by his burnt-offering, and the princes of Moab with him. And Balak said unto him: `What hath the LORD spoken?' 18 And he took up his parable, and said:

Arise, Balak, and hear;
Give ear unto me, thou son of Zippor:
19 God is not a man, that He should lie;
Neither the son of man, that He should repent: p. 193
When He hath said, will He not do it?
Or when He hath spoken, will He not make it good?
20 Behold, I am bidden to bless;
And when He hath blessed, I cannot call it back.
21 None hath beheld iniquity in Jacob,
Neither hath one seen perverseness in Israel;
The LORD his God is with him,
And the shouting for the King is among them.
22 God who brought them forth out of Egypt
Is for them like the lofty horns of the wild-ox.
23 For there is no enchantment with Jacob,
Neither is there any divination with Israel;
Now is it said of Jacob and of Israel:
`What hath God wrought!'
24 Behold a people that riseth up as a lioness,
And as a lion Both he lift himself up;
He shall not lie down until he eat of the prey,
And drink the blood of the slain.

25 And Balak said unto Balaam: `Neither curse them at all, nor bless them at all.' 26 But Balaam answered and said unto Balak: `Told not I thee, saying: All that the LORD speaketh, that I must do?' 27 And Balak said unto Balaam: `Come now, I will take thee unto another place; peradventure it will please God that thou mayest curse me them from thence.' 28 And Balak took Balaam unto the top of Peor, that looketh down upon the desert. 29 And Balaam said unto Balak: `Build me here seven altars, and prepare me here seven bullocks and seven rams.' 30 And Balak did as Balaam had said, and offered up a bullock and a ram on every altar.

Next: Numbers Chapter 24