Numbers 22:2-35 Reading the Passage

What Do You Do When God Says “No”? – Numbers 22:2-35

22 (2) Now Bakak the son of Zippor saw all that Israel had done to the Amorites. (3) Moab was terrified of the people, because they were so numerous. Indeed, Moab was filled with dread because of the children of Israel. (4) The Moabites said to the elders of Midian, This horde will lick up everything around us, like an ox licks up the grass of the field. Now Balak the son of Zippor was king of Moab at that time. (5) So he sent messengers to summon Balaam the son of Beor, who was at Pethor, which is near the Euphrates River, in his native land. He said, A people have come out of Egypt; they cover the face of the land and are encamped next to me. (6) Now, therefore, please come and curse these people for me, because they are too powerful for me. If you curse them, I might then succeed in defeating them and driving them out of the land; for I know that whomever you bless is blessed, and whomever you curse is cursed. (7) So the elders of Moab and the elders of Midian departed, taking with them the fee for divination. They came to Balaam and gave him Balak’s message. (8) Balaam said to them, Spend the night here, and I will bring back to you the answer Jehovah gives me. So the Moabite princes stayed with Balaam. (9) God came to Balaam and asked, Who are these men with you? (10) Balaam said to God, Balak the son of Zippor, king of Moab, has sent messengers to me, saying, (11) The people who have come out of Egypt cover the face of the land. Now come and curse them for me; perhaps I will then be able to fight against them and drive them out. (12) God said to Balaam, You shall not go with them; you shall not curse these people, for they are blessed. (13) Balaam got up the next morning and said to Balak’s princes, Go back to your country, because Jehovah refuses to give me permission to go with you. (14) So the Moabite princes got up and returned to Balak, and reported to him, Balaam refuses to come with us.

(15) Then Balak again sent princes, more numerous and more distinguished than the former ones. (16) They came to Balaam and said to him, This is what Balak the son of Zippor says: Please let nothing prevent you from coming to me; (17) for I will greatly honor you and I will do whatever you say. Therefore, please come and curse these people for me. (18) Balaam answered Balak’s servants, Even if Balak were to give me his palace filled with silver and gold, I cannot go beyond the word of Jehovah my God, either adding to it or subtracting from it. (19) Now, therefore, please stay here tonight, so that I may find out what else Jehovah will say to me. (20) God came to Balaam at night and said to him, If the men have come to summon you, get up and go with them. But you shall only do what I tell you. (21) So Balaam got up in the morning and saddled his donkey and went with the Moabite princes.

(22) But God’s anger was aroused because he went, and the angel of Jehovah took his stand in the road as an adversary against him. Now Balaam was riding on his donkey, and his two servants were with him. (23) When the donkey saw the angel of Jehovah standing in the road with a drawn sword in his hand, she turned off the road into a field. Balaam struck the donkey in order to turn her back onto the road. (24) Then the angel of Jehovah stood in a narrow path between two vineyards, with a wall on either side. (25) When the donkey saw the angel of Jehovah, she thrust herself against the wall, crushing Balaam’s foot against it. So he struck her again. (26) Then the angel of Jehovah went on ahead and stood in a narrow place where there was no room to turn, either to the right or to the left. (27) When the donkey saw the angel of Jehovah, she lay down under Balaam. Balaam’s anger was aroused and he struck the donkey with his staff. (28) Then Jehovah opened the donkey’s mouth and she said to Balaam, What have I done to you to cause you to strike me these three times? (29) Balaam answered the donkey, Because you have defied me. If I had a sword in my hand, I would kill you right now! (30) The donkey said to Balaam, Am I not your donkey, that you have always ridden, to this day? Was I ever in the habit of doing this to you? He said, No. (31) Then Jehovah opened Balaam’s eyes, and he saw the angel of Jehovah standing in the road with a drawn sword in his hand. He bowed his head and fell face down. (32) The angel of Jehovah said to him, Why have you struck your donkey these three times? Listen; I have come as an adversary, because what you are doing is contrary to my will. (33) The donkey saw me and turned away from me these three times. If she had not turned away, I certainly would have killed you by now, but I would have spared her. (34) Balaam said to the angel of Jehovah, I have sinned. I did not realize that you were standing in the road to oppose me. Now, therefore, if it is displeasing to you, I will go back. (35) The angel of Jehovah said to Balaam, Go with the men, but you shall only speak the word that I speak to you. So Balaam went with the princes of Balak.

Now proceed to the next section of this study, entitled, Exploring the Passage.