But God was incensed that Balaam was going, and the Angel of the Lord took His stand on the path to oppose him. Balaam was riding his donkey, and his two servants were with him.
When the donkey saw the Angel of the Lord standing on the path with a drawn sword in His hand, she turned off the path and went into the field. So Balaam hit her to return her to the path.
Then the Angel of the Lord stood in a narrow passage between the vineyards, with a stone wall on either side.
The donkey saw the Angel of the Lord and pressed herself against the wall, squeezing Balaam's foot against it. So he hit her once again.
The Angel of the Lord went ahead and stood in a narrow place where there was no room to turn to the right or the left.
When the donkey saw the Angel of the Lord, she crouched down under Balaam. So he became furious and beat the donkey with his stick.
Then the Lord opened the donkey's mouth, and she asked Balaam, "What have I done to you that you have beaten me these three times?"a29
Balaam answered the donkey, "You made me look like a fool. If I had a sword in my hand, I'd kill you now!"
But the donkey said, "Am I not the donkey you've ridden all your life until today? Have I ever treated you this way before?" "No," he replied.
Then the Lord opened Balaam's eyes, and he saw the Angel of the Lord standing in the path with a drawn sword in His hand. Balaam knelt and bowed with his face [to the ground].
The Angel of the Lord asked him, "Why have you beaten your donkey these three times? Look, I came out to oppose you, because what you are doing is evil in My sight.
The donkey saw Me and turned away from Me these three times. If she had not turned away from Me, I would have killed you by now and let her live."
Balaam said to the Angel of the Lord, "I have sinned, for I did not know that You were standing in the path to confront me. And now, if it is evil in Your sight, I will go back."
Then the Angel of the Lord said to Balaam, "Go with the men, but you are to say only what I tell you." So Balaam went with Balak's officials.
When Balak heard that Balaam was coming, he went out to meet him at the Moabite cityb on the Arnon border at the edge of his territory.
Balak asked Balaam, "Did I not send you an urgent summons? Why didn't you come to me? Am I really not able to reward you?"
Balaam said to him, "Look, I have come to you, but can I say anything I want? I must speak only the message God puts in my mouth."
So Balaam went with Balak, and they came to Kiriath-huzoth.c40
Balak sacrificed cattle and sheep, and sent for Balaam and the officials who were with him.
In the morning, Balak took Balaam and brought him to Bamoth-baal.d From there he saw the outskirts of the people's camp.