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
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 HaShem may speak unto me'; and the princes of Moab abode
9 And G-d came unto Balaam, and said: 'What men are these
10 And Balaam said unto G-d: '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 G-d 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 HaShem 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
17 for I will promote thee unto very great honour, and
whatsoever thou sayest unto me I will do; come therefore, I pray thee, curse me
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 HaShem my G-d, to do any thing, small or great.
19 Now therefore, I pray you, tarry ye also here this night,
that I may know what HaShem will speak unto me more.'
20 And G-d 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 G-d's anger was kindled because he went; and the angel
of HaShem 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 HaShem 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 HaShem 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 HaShem, and she thrust
herself unto the wall, and crushed Balaam's foot against the wall; and he smote
26 And the angel of HaShem 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 HaShem, and she lay down
under Balaam; and Balaam's anger was kindled, and he smote the ass with his
28 And HaShem opened the mouth of the ass, and she said unto
Balaam: 'What have I done unto thee, that thou hast smitten me these three
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 HaShem opened the eyes of Balaam, and he saw the
angel of HaShem 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 HaShem 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 HaShem: '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 HaShem 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: 'Lo, I am come unto thee; have
I now any power at all to speak any thing? the word that G-d putteth in my
mouth, that shall I speak.'
39 And Balaam went with Balak, and they came unto
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
Sources: Portions copyright © 1997 by Benyamin Pilant, All Rights Reserved
JPS Electronic Edition, based on the 1917 JPS translation, Copyright © 1998 by Larry Nelson, All Rights Reserved