Numbers 21-22 Bible in Basic English

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The Canaanites Attack Israel

21 1  And it came to the ears of the Canaanite, the king of Arad, living in the South, that Israel was coming by the way of Atharim, and he came out against them and took some of them prisoners. 2  Then Israel made an oath to the Lord, and said, If you will give up this people into my hands, then I will send complete destruction on all their towns. 3  And the Lord, in answer to the voice of Israel, gave the Canaanites up to them; and they put them and their towns completely to destruction: and that place was named Hormah.

The Fiery Serpents

4  Then they went on from Mount Hor by the way to the Red Sea, going round the land of Edom: and the spirit of the people was overcome with weariness on the way. 5  And crying out against God and against Moses, they said, Why have you taken us out of Egypt to come to our death in the waste land? For there is no bread and no water, and this poor bread is disgusting to us. 6  Then the Lord sent poison-snakes among the people; and their bites were a cause of death to numbers of the people of Israel. 7  Then the people came to Moses and said, We have done wrong in crying out against the Lord and against you: make prayer to the Lord to take away the snakes from us. So Moses made prayer for the people. 8  And the Lord said to Moses, Make an image of a snake and put it on a rod, and anyone who has been wounded by the snakes, looking on it will be made well. 9  So Moses made a snake of brass and put it on a rod; and anyone who had a snakebite, after looking on the snake of brass, was made well.

The Israelites Journey around Moab

10  Then the children of Israel went on and put up their tents in Oboth. 11  And journeying on again from Oboth, they put up their tents in Iye-abarim, in the waste land before Moab looking east. 12  And moving on from there, they put up their tents in the valley of Zered. 13  From there they went on and put up their tents on the other side of the Arnon, which is on the waste land at the edge of the land of the Amorites; for the Arnon is the line of division between Moab and the Amorites: 14  As it says in the book of the Wars of the Lord, Vaheb in Suphah, and the valley of the Amon; 15  The slope of the valleys going down to the tents of Ar and touching the edge of Moab. 16  From there they went on to Beer, the water-spring of which the Lord said to Moses, Make the people come together and I will give them water. 17  Then Israel gave voice to this song: Come up, O water-spring, let us make a song to it: 18  The fountain made by the chiefs, made deep by the great ones of the people, with the law-givers' rod, and with their sticks. Then from the waste land they went on to Mattanah: 19  And from Mattanah to Nahaliel: and from Nahaliel to Bamoth: 20  And from Bamoth to the valley in the open country of Moab, and to the top of Pisgah looking over Jeshimon.

Israel Conquers Sihon

21  And Israel sent men to Sihon, king of the Amorites, saying, 22  Let me go through your land: we will not go into field or vine-garden, or take the water of the springs; we will go by the highway till we have gone past the limits of your land. 23  And Sihon would not let Israel go through his land; but got all his people together and went out against Israel into the waste land, as far as Jahaz, to make war on Israel. 24  But Israel overcame him, and took all his land from the Arnon to the Jabbok, as far as the country of the children of Ammon, for the country of the children of Ammon was strongly armed. 25  And Israel took all their towns, living in Heshbon and all the towns and small places of the Amorites. 26  For Heshbon was the town of Sihon, king of the Amorites, who had made war against an earlier king of Moab and taken from him all his land as far as the Arnon. 27  So the makers of wise sayings say, Come to Heshbon, building up the town of Sihon and making it strong: 28  For a fire has gone out of Heshbon, a flame from the town of Sihon: for the destruction of Ar in Moab, and the lords of the high places of the Arnon. 29  Sorrow is yours, O Moab! Destruction is your fate, O people of Chemosh: his sons have gone in flight, and his daughters are prisoners, in the hands of Sihon, king of the Amorites. 30  They are wounded with our arrows; destruction has come on Heshbon, even to Dibon; and we have made the land waste as far as Nophah, stretching out to Medeba.

Israel Conquers Og of Bashan

31  So Israel put up their tents in the land of the Amorites. 32  And Moses sent men secretly to Jazer, and they took its towns, driving out the Amorites who were living there. 33  Then turning they went up by the way of Bashan; and Og, king of Bashan, went out against them with all his people, to the fight at Edrei. 34  And the Lord said to Moses, Have no fear of him: for I have given him up into your hands, with all his people and his land; do to him as you did to Sihon, king of the Amorites, at Heshbon. 35  So they overcame him and his sons and his people, driving them all out: and they took his land for their heritage.

Balak Sends for Balaam

22 1  Then the children of Israel, journeying on, put up their tents in the lowlands of Moab, on the other side of Jordan at Jericho. 2  Now Balak, the son of Zippor, saw what Israel had done to the Amorites. 3  And in Moab there was great fear of the people, because their numbers were so great: and the feeling of Moab was bitter against the children of Israel. 4  Then Moab said to the responsible men of Midian, It is clear that this great people will be the destruction of everything round us, making a meal of us as the ox does of the grass of the field. At that time Balak, the son of Zippor, was king of Moab. 5  So he sent men to Balaam, son of Beor, at Pethor by the River in the land of the children of his people, saying to him, See, a people has come out of Egypt, covering all the face of the earth, and they have put up their tents opposite to me: 6  Come now, in answer to my prayer, and put a curse on this people, for they are greater than I: and then I may be strong enough to overcome them and send them out of the land: for it is clear that good comes to him who has your blessing, but he on whom you put your curse is cursed. 7  So the responsible men of Moab and Midian went away, taking in their hands rewards for the prophet; and they came to Balaam and said to him what Balak had given them orders to say. 8  And he said to them, Take your rest here tonight, and I will give you an answer after hearing what the Lord says; so the chiefs of Moab kept there with Balaam that night. 9  And God came to Balaam and said, Who are these men with you? 10  And Balaam said to God, Balak, the son of Zippor, king of Moab, has sent them to me, saying, 11  See, the people who have come out of Egypt are covering all the earth: now, put a curse on this people for me, so that I may be able to make war on them, driving them out of the land. 12  And God said to Balaam, You are not to go with them, or put a curse on this people, for they have my blessing. 13  In the morning Balaam got up and said to the chiefs of Balak, Go back to your land, for the Lord will not let me go with you. 14  So the chiefs of Moab went back to Balak and said, Balaam will not come with us.

15  So Balak sent more chiefs, greater in number and of higher position than the others. 16  And they came to Balaam and said, Balak, son of Zippor, says, Let nothing keep you from coming to me: 17  For I will give you a place of very great honour, and whatever you say to me I will do; so come, in answer to my prayer, and put a curse on this people. 18  But Balaam, in answer; said to the servants of Balak, Even if Balak gave me his house full of silver and gold, it would not be possible for me to do anything more or less than the orders of the Lord my God. 19  So take your rest here this night, till I have knowledge what more the Lord has to say to me. 20  And that night God came to Balaam and said to him, If these men have come for you, go with them: but do only what I say to you.

The Angel and Balaam's Ass

21  So in the morning Balaam got up and, making his ass ready, went with the chiefs of Moab.

22  But God was moved to wrath because he went: and the angel of the Lord took up a position in the road to keep him from his purpose. Now he was seated on his ass, and his two servants were with him. 23  And the ass saw the angel of the Lord waiting in the road with his sword in his hand; and turning from the road, the ass went into the field; and Balaam gave the ass blows, to get her back on to the road. 24  Then the angel of the Lord took up his position in a narrow road through the vine-gardens, with a wall on this side and on that. 25  And the ass saw the angel of the Lord, and went near the wall, crushing Balaam's foot against the wall; and he gave her more blows. 26  Then the angel of the Lord went further, stopping in a narrow place where there was no room for turning to the right or to the left. 27  And the ass saw the angel of the Lord and went down on the earth under Balaam; and full of wrath, Balaam gave her hard blows with his stick. 28  Then the Lord gave the ass the power of talking, and opening her mouth she said to Balaam, What have I done to you that you have given me blows these three times? 29  And Balaam said to the ass, You have made me seem foolish: if only I had a sword in my hand I would put you to death. 30  And the ass said to Balaam, Am I not your ass upon which you have gone all your life till this day? and have I ever done this to you before? And he said, No. 31  Then the Lord made Balaam's eyes open, and he saw the angel of the Lord in the way with his sword in his hand: and he went down on his face to the earth. 32  And the angel of the Lord said to him, Why have you given your ass blows these three times? See, I have come out against you to keep you back, because your purpose is not pleasing to me. 33  And the ass saw me, turning to one side from me three times: if she had not gone to one side, I would certainly have put you to death and kept her safe. 34  And Balaam said to the angel of the Lord, I have done wrong, for I did not see that you were in the way against me: but now, if it is evil in your eyes, I will go back again. 35  And the angel of the Lord said to Balaam, Go with the men; but say only what I give you to say. Then Balaam went on with the chiefs of Balak.

36  Now Balak, hearing that Balaam had come, went to the chief town of Moab, on the edge of the Arnon, in the farthest part of the land, for the purpose of meeting him. 37  And Balak said to Balaam, Did I not send to you, requesting you with all my heart to come to me? why did you not come? am I not able to give you a place of honour? 38  Then Balaam said to Balak, Now I have come to you; but have I power to say anything? Only what God puts into my mouth may I say. 39  And Balaam went with Balak to Kiriath-huzoth. 40  And Balak made offerings of oxen and sheep, and sent to Balaam and the chiefs who were with him.

Balaam Blesses Israel

41  And in the morning Balak took Balaam up to the high places of Baal, and from there he was able to see the outer limits of the people.

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