Numbers 22:1-17

Balak Summons Balaam

1 Then the Israelites traveled to the plains of Moab and camped along the Jordan across from Jericho.
2 Now Balak son of Zippor saw all that Israel had done to the Amorites,
3 and Moab was terrified because there were so many people. Indeed, Moab was filled with dread because of the Israelites.
4 The Moabites said to the elders of Midian, “This horde is going to lick up everything around us, as an ox licks up the grass of the field.” So Balak son of Zippor, who was king of Moab at that time,
5 sent messengers to summon Balaam son of Beor, who was at Pethor, near the Euphrates River, in his native land. Balak said: “A people has come out of Egypt; they cover the face of the land and have settled next to me.
6 Now come and put a curse 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 land. For I know that whoever you bless is blessed, and whoever you curse is cursed.”
7 The elders of Moab and Midian left, taking with them the fee for divination. When they came to Balaam, they told him what Balak had said.
8 “Spend the night here,” Balaam said to them, “and I will report back to you with the answer the LORD gives me.” So the Moabite officials stayed with him.
9 God came to Balaam and asked, “Who are these men with you?”
10 Balaam said to God, “Balak son of Zippor, king of Moab, sent me this message:
11 ‘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.’ ”
12 But God said to Balaam, “Do not go with them. You must not put a curse on those people, because they are blessed.”
13 The next morning Balaam got up and said to Balak’s officials, “Go back to your own country, for the LORD has refused to let me go with you.”
14 So the Moabite officials returned to Balak and said, “Balaam refused to come with us.”
15 Then Balak sent other officials, more numerous and more distinguished than the first.
16 They came to Balaam and said: “This is what Balak son of Zippor says: Do not let anything keep you from coming to me,
17 because I will reward you handsomely and do whatever you say. Come and put a curse on these people for me.”

Numbers 22:1-17 Meaning and Commentary


The children of Israel being come into the plains of Moab, put the king of Moab into a panic, who expressed his fears to the elders of Midian, Nu 22:1-4 and sent for Balaam the soothsayer to curse the people of Israel, but he, upon consulting the Lord refused to come, Nu 22:5-14, on which the king of Moab sent to him a second time, making large promises of preferment to him, and who at this time got leave from the Lord to go with the messengers, Nu 22:15-21, but was met with in the way by an angel of the Lord, who would have slain him had it not been for his ass, of which a very wonderful revelation is given, Nu 22:22-35, and the chapter is closed with the interview between Balak king of Moab and Balaam, and an account of what passed between them, and what was done by them, Nu 22:36-41.

Cross References 21

  • 1. S Numbers 21:11
  • 2. S Numbers 13:29; S Joshua 2:7
  • 3. Numbers 31:12; Numbers 33:48; Deuteronomy 32:49; Joshua 2:1
  • 4. Numbers 23:1-3; Joshua 24:9; Judges 11:25; Micah 6:5; Revelation 2:14
  • 5. S Exodus 15:15
  • 6. S Genesis 19:37
  • 7. S Genesis 25:2
  • 8. Nu 32:17,18,29
  • 9. Job 5:25; Psalms 72:16
  • 10. ver 7; Numbers 24:25; Numbers 31:8,16; Deuteronomy 23:4; Joshua 13:22; Joshua 24:9; Nehemiah 13:2; Micah 6:5; S 2 Peter 2:15
  • 11. S Genesis 2:14
  • 12. S Exodus 13:3
  • 13. ver 12,17; Nu 23:7,11,13; Numbers 24:9,10
  • 14. ver 11
  • 15. S Genesis 30:27; Numbers 23:23; Numbers 24:1
  • 16. ver 19
  • 17. S Genesis 20:3
  • 18. ver 20; Numbers 23:5; Numbers 24:4,16
  • 19. S Genesis 12:2; Genesis 22:17; Numbers 23:20
  • 20. ver 37; Numbers 24:11
  • 21. S ver 6
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