Numbers 21-22 World English Bible

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The Canaanites Attack Israel

21 1  The Canaanite, the king of Arad, who lived in the South, heard tell that Israel came by the way of Atharim; and he fought against Israel, and took some of them captive. 2  Israel vowed a vow to Yahweh, and said, “If you will indeed deliver this people into my hand, then I will utterly destroy their cities.” 3  Yahweh listened to the voice of Israel, and delivered up the Canaanites; and they utterly destroyed them and their cities: and the name of the place was called Hormah.

The Fiery Serpents

4  They traveled from Mount Hor by the way to the Red Sea [1], to compass the land of Edom: and the soul of the people was much discouraged because of the way. 5  The people spoke against God, and against Moses, “Why have you brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? For there is no bread, and there is no water; and our soul loathes this light bread.” 6  Yahweh sent fiery serpents among the people, and they bit the people; and many people of Israel died. 7  The people came to Moses, and said, “We have sinned, because we have spoken against Yahweh, and against you. Pray to Yahweh, that he take away the serpents from us.” Moses prayed for the people. 8  Yahweh said to Moses, “Make a fiery serpent, and set it on a standard: and it shall happen, that everyone who is bitten, when he sees it, shall live.” 9  Moses made a serpent of brass, and set it on the standard: and it happened, that if a serpent had bitten any man, when he looked to the serpent of brass, he lived.

The Israelites Journey around Moab

10  The children of Israel traveled, and encamped in Oboth. 11  They traveled from Oboth, and encamped at Iyeabarim, in the wilderness which is before Moab, toward the sunrise. 12  From there they traveled, and encamped in the valley of Zered. 13  From there they traveled, and encamped on the other side of the Arnon, which is in the wilderness, that comes out of the border of the Amorites: for the Arnon is the border of Moab, between Moab and the Amorites. 14  Therefore it is said in the book of the Wars of Yahweh, “Vaheb in Suphah, the valleys of the Arnon, 15  the slope of the valleys that incline toward the dwelling of Ar, leans on the border of Moab.” 16  From there they traveled to Beer: that is the well of which Yahweh said to Moses, “Gather the people together, and I will give them water.” 17  Then sang Israel this song:

“Spring up, well; sing to it: 18  the well, which the princes dug,
which the nobles of the people dug,
with the scepter, and with their poles.”

From the wilderness they traveled to Mattanah; 19  and from Mattanah to Nahaliel; and from Nahaliel to Bamoth; 20  and from Bamoth to the valley that is in the field of Moab, to the top of Pisgah, which looks down on the desert.

Israel Conquers Sihon

21  Israel sent messengers to Sihon king of the Amorites, saying, 22  “Let me pass through your land: we will not turn aside into field, or into vineyard; we will not drink of the water of the wells: we will go by the king’s highway, until we have passed your border.” 23  Sihon would not allow Israel to pass through his border: but Sihon gathered all his people together, and went out against Israel into the wilderness, and came to Jahaz; and he fought against Israel. 24  Israel struck him with the edge of the sword, and possessed his land from the Arnon to the Jabbok, even to the children of Ammon; for the border of the children of Ammon was strong. 25  Israel took all these cities: and Israel lived in all the cities of the Amorites, in Heshbon, and in all its towns. 26  For Heshbon was the city of Sihon the king of the Amorites, who had fought against the former king of Moab, and taken all his land out of his hand, even to the Arnon. 27  Therefore those who speak in proverbs say,

“Come to Heshbon.
Let the city of Sihon be built and established; 28  for a fire has gone out of Heshbon,
a flame from the city of Sihon.
It has devoured Ar of Moab,
The lords of the high places of the Arnon. 29  Woe to you, Moab!
You are undone, people of Chemosh!
He has given his sons as fugitives,
and his daughters into captivity,
to Sihon king of the Amorites. 30  We have shot at them.
Heshbon has perished even to Dibon.
We have laid waste even to Nophah,
Which reaches to Medeba.”

Israel Conquers Og of Bashan

31  Thus Israel lived in the land of the Amorites. 32  Moses sent to spy out Jazer; and they took its towns, and drove out the Amorites who were there. 33  They turned and went up by the way of Bashan: and Og the king of Bashan went out against them, he and all his people, to battle at Edrei. 34  Yahweh said to Moses, “Don’t fear him: for I have delivered him into your hand, and all his people, and his land; and you shall do to him as you did to Sihon king of the Amorites, who lived at Heshbon.” 35  So they struck him, and his sons and all his people, until there was none left him remaining: and they possessed his land.

Balak Sends for Balaam

22 1  The children of Israel traveled, and encamped in the plains of Moab beyond the Jordan at Jericho. 2  Balak the son of Zippor saw all that Israel had done to the Amorites. 3  Moab was sore afraid of the people, because they were many: and Moab was distressed because of the children of Israel. 4  Moab said to the elders of Midian, “Now this multitude will lick up all that is around us, as the ox licks up the grass of the field.”

Balak the son of Zippor was king of Moab at that time. 5  He sent messengers to 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 who came out from Egypt. Behold, they cover the surface of the earth, and they are staying opposite me. 6  Please come now therefore curse me this people; for they are too mighty for me: perhaps I shall 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.” 7  The 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. 8  He said to them, “Lodge here this night, and I will bring you word again, as Yahweh shall speak to me.” The princes of Moab stayed with Balaam. 9  God came to Balaam, and said, “Who are these men with you?” 10  Balaam said to God, “Balak the son of Zippor, king of Moab, has sent to me, saying, 11  ‘Behold, the people that is come out of Egypt, it covers the surface of the earth: now, come curse me them; perhaps I shall be able to fight against them, and shall drive them out.’” 12  God said to Balaam, “You shall not go with them. You shall not curse the people; for they are blessed.” 13  Balaam rose up in the morning, and said to the princes of Balak, “Go to your land; for Yahweh refuses to permit me to go with you.” 14  The princes of Moab rose up, and they went to Balak, and said, “Balaam refuses to come with us.”

15  Balak sent yet again princes, more, and more honorable than they. 16  They came to Balaam, and said to him, “Thus says Balak the son of Zippor, ‘Please let nothing hinder you from coming to me: 17  for I will promote you to very great honor, and whatever you say to me I will do. Please come therefore, and curse this people for me.’” 18  Balaam answered the servants of Balak, “If Balak would give me his house full of silver and gold, I can’t go beyond the word of Yahweh my God, to do less or more. 19  Now therefore, please wait also here this night, that I may know what Yahweh will speak to me more.” 20  God 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 which I speak to you, that you shall do.”

The Angel and Balaam's Ass

21  Balaam rose up in the morning, and saddled his donkey, and went with the princes of Moab.

22  God’s anger was kindled because he went; and the angel of Yahweh placed himself in the way for an adversary against him. Now he was riding on his donkey, and his two servants were with him. 23  The donkey saw the angel of Yahweh standing in the way, with his sword drawn in his hand; and the donkey turned aside out of the way, and went into the field: and Balaam struck the donkey, to turn her into the way. 24  Then the angel of Yahweh stood in a narrow path between the vineyards, a wall being on this side, and a wall on that side. 25  The 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. 26  The 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. 27  The 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. 28  Yahweh 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?” 29  Balaam 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.” 30  The 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.” 31  Then Yahweh opened the eyes of Balaam, and he saw the angel of Yahweh standing in the way, with his sword drawn in his hand; and he bowed his head, and fell on his face. 32  The angel of Yahweh said to him, “Why have you struck your donkey these three times? Behold, I have come forth as an adversary, because your way is perverse before me: 33  and 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.” 34  Balaam said to the angel of Yahweh, “I have sinned; for I didn’t know that you stood in the way against me. Now therefore, if it displeases you, I will go back again.” 35  The angel of Yahweh said to Balaam, “Go with the men; but only the word that I shall speak to you, that you shall speak.”

So Balaam went with the princes of Balak.

36  When Balak heard that Balaam had come, he went out to meet him to the City of Moab, which is on the border of the Arnon, which is in the utmost part of the border. 37  Balak 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?” 38  Balaam 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 shall I speak.” 39  Balaam went with Balak, and they came to Kiriath Huzoth. 40  Balak sacrificed cattle and sheep, and sent to Balaam, and to the princes who were with him.

Balaam Blesses Israel

41  It happened in the morning, that Balak took Balaam, and brought him up into the high places of Baal; and he saw from there the utmost part of the people.

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Footnotes

[1] 21:4 or, Sea of Reeds

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