The Bible in Its Traditions

Numbers 22:1–21

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

And they set out and made camp in the plains of Moab, across the Jordan, where Jericho is situated.

And Balak the son of Zippor saw all that Israel had done to the Amorites.

Then Balak, the son of Zippor, seeing all that Israel had done to the Amorite,

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And Moab was sore afraid of the people, because they were many; and Moab was overcome with dread because of the children of Israel.

then Moab feared the people exceedingly because they were many; and Moab was grieved before the face of the children of Israel.

and that the Moabites had great fear of him, and that they were not able to bear his assault,

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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.--

said to those greater by birth of Midian: “So will this people wipe away all those who are dwelling within our borders, in the same way that the ox is accustomed to tear out grass, all the way to the roots.” At that time, he was king of Moab.

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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.

Therefore, he sent messengers to Balaam, the son of Beor, a seer who lived above the river of the land of the sons of Ammon, to call him, and to say: “Behold, a people has gone forth from Egypt, which has covered the face of the earth. They are encamped opposite me.

So he sent messengers to Balaam the son of Beor, an interpreter of dreams, who dwelt by the river of the land of the children of Ammon, to call him, saying, Behold, there is a people come out from Egypt; they cover the face of the land, and they are settled over against me.

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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.'

Therefore, come and curse this people, for they are stronger than I am. If only, in some way, I might be able to strike them and to drive them from my land. For I know that he whom you bless shall be blessed, and he whom you curse shall be cursed.”

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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.

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And he said unto them: 'Lodge here this night, and I will bring you back word, as YHWH may speak unto me'; and the princes of Moab abode with Balaam.

And he said to them, Tarry here the night, and I will answer you the things which the Lord shall say to me; and the princes of Moab stayed with Balaam.

he responded, “Remain for this night, and I will answer with whatever the Lord will say to me.” And while they stayed with Balaam, God came and said to him,

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And God came unto Balaam, and said: 'What men are these with thee?'

“What do these men want with you?”

10  And Balaam said unto God: 'Balak the son of Zippor, king of Moab, hath sent unto me saying

10  He responded, “Balak, the son of Zippor, the king of the Moabites has sent to me,

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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.'

11  Behold, a people has come forth out of Egypt, and has covered the face of the land, and it has encamped near to me; and now come, curse it for me, if indeed I shall be able to smite it, and cast it out of the land.

11  saying: ‘Behold, a people, which has gone forth from Egypt, has covered the face of the earth. Come and curse them, so that, in some way, I may be able to fight them and drive them away.’ ”

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12  And God said unto Balaam: 'Thou shalt not go with them; thou shalt not curse the people; for they are blessed.'

12  And God said to Balaam, “Do not go with them, and do 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 YHWH refuseth to give me leave to go with you.'

13  And he, rising up in the morning, said to the leaders, “Go into your own land, for the Lord has prohibited me from going with you.”

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14  And the princes of Moab rose up, and they went unto Balak, and said: 'Balaam refuseth to come with us.'

14  Returning, the leaders said to Balak, “Balaam was not willing to come with us.”

14  So the princes of Moab rose up and went to Balak, and said to him, Balaam refused to come with us.

15  And Balak sent yet again princes, more, and more honourable than they.

15  Again, he sent many more persons, and these were more noble than those he had sent before.

15  And again Balak sent messengers who were greater and more honorable than they.

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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;

16  And when these had come to Balaam, they said: “So says Balak, the son of Zippor. Do not hesitate to come to me.

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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 this people.'

17  For I am ready to honor you, and whatever you would want, I shall give to you. Come and curse this people.”

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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 YHWH my God, to do any thing, small or great.

18  Balaam responded: “Even if Balak were to give to me his own house, filled with silver and gold, I still would not be able to change the word of the Lord my God, neither to say more, nor to say less.

18  And Balaam answered and said to the servants of Balak, If Balak would give me his house full of silver and gold, I could not transgress against the word of the LORD my God, neither concerning a small matter nor concerning a great matter.

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19  Now therefore, I pray you, tarry ye also here this night, that I may know what YHWH will speak unto me more.'

19  And now do ye also tarry here this night, and I shall know what the Lord will yet say to me.

19  I beg you to remain for this night also, so that I may know what the Lord will answer me again.”

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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.'

20  Therefore, God came to Balaam in the night, and said to him: “If these men have arrived to call you, then rise up and go with them; yet only in so far as you shall do what I will command you.”

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

21  Balaam rose up in the morning, and saddling his donkey, he set out with them.

21  So Balaam rose up in the morning and saddled his ass and went with the princes of Balak.