Then the Israelites traveled to the plains of Moab1 and camped along the Jordan2 across from Jericho.a32
Now Balak son of Zippor4 saw all that Israel had done to the Amorites,
and Moab was terrified because there were so many people. Indeed, Moab was filled with dread5 because of the Israelites.
The Moabites6 said to the elders of Midian,7 "This horde is going to lick up everything8 around us, as an ox licks up the grass of the field.9" So Balak son of Zippor, who was king of Moab at that time,
sent messengers to summon Balaam son of Beor,10 who was at Pethor, near the River,b11 in his native land. Balak said: "A people has come out of Egypt;12 they cover the face of the land and have settled next to me.
Now come and put a curse13 on these people, because they are too powerful for me. Perhaps then I will be able to defeat them and drive them out of the country.14 For I know that those you bless are blessed, and those you curse are cursed."
The elders of Moab and Midian left, taking with them the fee for divination.15 When they came to Balaam, they told him what Balak had said.
"Spend the night here," Balaam said to them, "and I will bring you back the answer the LORD gives me.16" So the Moabite princes stayed with him.
God came to Balaam17 and asked,18 "Who are these men with you?"
Balaam said to God, "Balak son of Zippor, king of Moab, sent me this message:
'A people that has come out of Egypt covers the face of the land. Now come and put a curse on them for me. Perhaps then I will be able to fight them and drive them away.' "
But God said to Balaam, "Do not go with them. You must not put a curse on those people, because they are blessed.19"
The next morning Balaam got up and said to Balak's princes, "Go back to your own country, for the LORD has refused to let me go with you."
So the Moabite princes returned to Balak and said, "Balaam refused to come with us."