The elders of Moab and Midian left, taking with them the fee for divination.1 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.2" So the Moabite princes stayed with him.
God came to Balaam3 and asked,4 "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.5"
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."
Then Balak sent other princes, more numerous and more distinguished than the first.
They came to Balaam and said: "This is what Balak son of Zippor says: Do not let anything keep you from coming to me,
because I will reward you handsomely6 and do whatever you say. Come and put a curse7 on these people for me."