Balak Summons Balaam, Numbers 22:1-24:25

Balak the king of Moab summons Balaam to curse the people of God. While Balaam is traveling by donkey to obey Balak’s commands, Balaam’s donkey sees an angel and takes evasive action to protect Balaam.

God opens the donkey’s mouth so that he talks to Balaam, and Balaam then sees the angel.

The angel of the Lord says to Balaam “Do only what I tell you.”

Balaam had been asked by God in the beginning not to go to King Balak.

Background Reading:

Balaam’s Donkey – only part of the story of Balaam and the Balak the King of Moab

22:20 God came to visit Balaam that same night and told him, “If the men come to call on you, get up and go with them, but be sure to do only what I tell you to do.” 21 The next morning, Balaam got up, saddled his donkey, and started to leave, accompanied by the Moabite officials.

Balaam’s Donkey Rebukes its Owner

22 At this, the anger of the LORD flared up against Balaam, because he was leaving. So the angel of the LORD stood in the way to oppose him. As Balaam was riding his donkey, accompanied by two of his servants, 23 all of a sudden the donkey saw the angel of the LORD standing in the way, with an unsheathed sword in his hand! The donkey turned off the road and went into an open field. Balaam started beating the donkey in order to turn her back to the road, 24 but the angel of the LORD stood on a narrow path that crossed the vineyards. It had walls on both sides of the path. 25 When the donkey saw the angel of the LORD, she squeezed herself so close to the wall that Balaam’s foot was pressed to the wall. So he beat her again!

26 Then the angel of the LORD went along a little further and stood in a much narrower space, where it was impossible to turn either right or left. 27 When the donkey saw the angel of the LORD, she crouched down under Balaam. As a result, Balaam got so angry that he started to whip the donkey with his staff.

28 That’s when the LORD enabled the donkey to speak. She asked Balaam, “What did I do to you that you would beat me in the space of only three footsteps?”

29 “Because you’re playing a dirty trick on me,” Balaam answered the donkey. “If only I had a sword in my hand! I’d kill you right now!”

30 But in response, the donkey asked Balaam, “I’m your donkey that you’ve ridden on in the past without incident, am I not, and I’m the same donkey you’re riding on right now, am I not? Am I in the habit of treating you like this?”

“No,” he admitted.

31 Then the LORD enabled Balaam to see, so he observed the angel of the LORD standing in the way, with an unsheathed sword in his hand. So he bowed down and prostrated himself on his face.

32 Then the angel of the LORD asked him, “Why did you beat your donkey in the space of only three footsteps? I’ve come to oppose you, because I say that what you’re doing is perverted. 33 The donkey saw me and turned in front of me in the space of those three footsteps. 34 If she hadn’t turned away from me, I would have killed you by now and left her alive!”

At this, Balaam replied to the angel of the LORD, “I’ve sinned! I didn’t know that you were standing to meet me on the road. So now, since it displeases you, let me go back.”

35 But the angel of the LORD told Balaam, “Go with the men, but deliver only the message that I’m going to give you.” So Balaam went with Balak’s officials.
Numbers 22:21-35
The full Bible reading Numbers 22:1-24:25.


Other modules in this unit: