Passage through Edom Refused
14Moses sent messengers from Kadesh to the king of Edom, “Thus says your brother Israel: You know all the adversity that has befallen us:15how our ancestors went down to Egypt, and we lived in Egypt a long time; and the Egyptians oppressed us and our ancestors;16and when we cried to the Lord, he heard our voice, and sent an angel and brought us out of Egypt; and here we are in Kadesh, a town on the edge of your territory.17Now let us pass through your land. We will not pass through field or vineyard, or drink water from any well; we will go along the King's Highway, not turning aside to the right hand or to the left until we have passed through your territory.”18But Edom said to him, “You shall not pass through, or we will come out with the sword against you.”19The Israelites said to him, “We will stay on the highway; and if we drink of your water, we and our livestock, then we will pay for it. It is only a small matter; just let us pass through on foot.”20But he said, “You shall not pass through.” And Edom came out against them with a large force, heavily armed.21Thus Edom refused to give Israel passage through their territory; so Israel turned away from them.The Death of Aaron
22They set out from Kadesh, and the Israelites, the whole congregation, came to Mount Hor.23Then the Lord said to Moses and Aaron at Mount Hor, on the border of the land of Edom,24“Let Aaron be gathered to his people. For he shall not enter the land that I have given to the Israelites, because you rebelled against my command at the waters of Meribah.25Take Aaron and his son Eleazar, and bring them up Mount Hor;26strip Aaron of his vestments, and put them on his son Eleazar. But Aaron shall be gathered to his people, and shall die there.”27Moses did as the Lord had commanded; they went up Mount Hor in the sight of the whole congregation.28Moses stripped Aaron of his vestments, and put them on his son Eleazar; and Aaron died there on the top of the mountain. Moses and Eleazar came down from the mountain.29When all the congregation saw that Aaron had died, all the house of Israel mourned for Aaron thirty days.Chapter 21The Bronze Serpent
1When the Canaanite, the king of Arad, who lived in the Negeb, heard that Israel was coming by the way of Atharim, he fought against Israel and took some of them captive.2Then Israel made a vow to the Lord and said, “If you will indeed give this people into our hands, then we will utterly destroy their towns.”3The Lord listened to the voice of Israel, and handed over the Canaanites; and they utterly destroyed them and their towns; so the place was called Hormah.4From Mount Hor they set out by the way to the Red Sea, to go around the land of Edom; but the people became impatient on the way.5The people spoke against God and against Moses, “Why have you brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? For there is no food and no water, and we detest this miserable food.”6Then the Lord sent poisonous serpents among the people, and they bit the people, so that many Israelites died.7The people came to Moses and said, “We have sinned by speaking against the Lord and against you; pray to the Lord to take away the serpents from us.” So Moses prayed for the people.8And the Lord said to Moses, “Make a poisonous serpent, and set it on a pole; and everyone who is bitten shall look at it and live.”9So Moses made a serpent of bronze, and put it upon a pole; and whenever a serpent bit someone, that person would look at the serpent of bronze and live.The Journey to Moab
10The Israelites set out, and camped in Oboth.11They set out from Oboth, and camped at Iye-abarim, in the wilderness bordering Moab toward the sunrise.12From there they set out, and camped in the Wadi Zered.13From there they set out, and camped on the other side of the Arnon, in the wilderness that extends from the boundary of the Amorites; for the Arnon is the boundary of Moab, between Moab and the Amorites.14Wherefore it is said in the Book of the Wars of the Lord,
“Waheb in Suphah and the wadis.
The Arnon15and the slopes of the wadis
that extend to the seat of Ar,
and lie along the border of Moab.”16From there they continued to Beer; that is the well of which the Lord said to Moses, “Gather the people together, and I will give them water.”17Then Israel sang this song:
“Spring up, O well!—Sing to it!—18the well that the leaders sank,
that the nobles of the people dug,
with the scepter, with the staff.”
From the wilderness to Mattanah,19from Mattanah to Nahaliel, from Nahaliel to Bamoth,20and from Bamoth to the valley lying in the region of Moab by the top of Pisgah that overlooks the wasteland.King Sihon Defeated
21Then Israel sent messengers to King Sihon of the Amorites, saying,22“Let me pass through your land; we will not turn aside into field or vineyard; we will not drink the water of any well; we will go by the King's Highway until we have passed through your territory.”23But Sihon would not allow Israel to pass through his territory. Sihon gathered all his people together, and went out against Israel to the wilderness; he came to Jahaz, and fought against Israel.24Israel put him to the sword, and took possession of his land from the Arnon to the Jabbok, as far as to the Ammonites; for the boundary of the Ammonites was strong.25Israel took all these towns, and Israel settled in all the towns of the Amorites, in Heshbon, and in all its villages.26For Heshbon was the city of King Sihon of the Amorites, who had fought against the former king of Moab and captured all his land as far as the Arnon.27Therefore the ballad singers say,
“Come to Heshbon, let it be built;
let the city of Sihon be established.28For fire came out from Heshbon,
flame from the city of Sihon.
It devoured Ar of Moab,
and swallowed up the heights of the Arnon.29Woe to you, O Moab!
You are undone, O people of Chemosh!
He has made his sons fugitives,
and his daughters captives,
to an Amorite king, Sihon.30So their posterity perished
from Heshbon to Dibon,
and we laid waste until fire spread to Medeba.”31Thus Israel settled in the land of the Amorites.32Moses sent to spy out Jazer; and they captured its villages, and dispossessed the Amorites who were there.King Og Defeated
33Then they turned and went up the road to Bashan; and King Og of Bashan came out against them, he and all his people, to battle at Edrei.34But the Lord said to Moses, “Do not be afraid of him; for I have given him into your hand, with all his people, and all his land. You shall do to him as you did to King Sihon of the Amorites, who ruled in Heshbon.”35So they killed him, his sons, and all his people, until there was no survivor left; and they took possession of his land.Chapter 22Balak Summons Balaam to Curse Israel
1The Israelites set out, and camped in the plains of Moab across the Jordan from Jericho.2Now Balak son of Zippor saw all that Israel had done to the Amorites.3Moab was in great dread of the people, because they were so numerous; Moab was overcome with fear of the people of Israel.4And Moab said to the elders of Midian, “This horde will now lick up all that is around us, as an ox licks up the grass of the field.” Now Balak son of Zippor was king of Moab at that time.5He sent messengers to Balaam son of Beor at Pethor, which is on the Euphrates, in the land of Amaw, to summon him, saying, “A people has come out of Egypt; they have spread over the face of the earth, and they have settled next to me.6Come now, curse this people for me, since they are stronger than I; perhaps I shall be able to defeat them and drive them from the land; for I know that whomever you bless is blessed, and whomever you curse is cursed.”7So the elders of Moab and the elders of Midian departed with the fees for divination in their hand; and they came to Balaam, and gave him Balak's message.8He said to them, “Stay here tonight, and I will bring back word to you, just as the Lord speaks to me”; so the officials of Moab stayed with Balaam.9God came to Balaam and said, “Who are these men with you?”10Balaam said to God, “King Balak son of Zippor of Moab, has sent me this message:11‘A people has come out of Egypt and has spread over the face of the earth; now come, curse them for me; perhaps I shall be able to fight against them and drive them out.’ ”12God said to Balaam, “You shall not go with them; you shall not curse the people, for they are blessed.”13So Balaam rose in the morning, and said to the officials of Balak, “Go to your own land, for the Lord has refused to let me go with you.”14So the officials of Moab rose and went to Balak, and said, “Balaam refuses to come with us.”15Once again Balak sent officials, more numerous and more distinguished than these.16They came to Balaam and said to him, “Thus says Balak son of Zippor: ‘Do not let anything hinder you from coming to me;17for I will surely do you great honor, and whatever you say to me I will do; come, curse this people for me.’ ”18But Balaam replied to the servants of Balak, “Although Balak were to give me his house full of silver and gold, I could not go beyond the command of the Lord my God, to do less or more.19You remain here, as the others did, so that I may learn what more the Lord may say to me.”20That night God came to Balaam and said to him, “If the men have come to summon you, get up and go with them; but do only what I tell you to do.”21So Balaam got up in the morning, saddled his donkey, and went with the officials of Moab.Balaam, the Donkey, and the Angel
22God's anger was kindled because he was going, and the angel of the Lord took his stand in the road as his adversary. Now he was riding on the donkey, and his two servants were with him.23The donkey saw the angel of the Lord standing in the road, with a drawn sword in his hand; so the donkey turned off the road, and went into the field; and Balaam struck the donkey, to turn it back onto the road.24Then the angel of the Lord stood in a narrow path between the vineyards, with a wall on either side.25When the donkey saw the angel of the Lord, it scraped against the wall, and scraped Balaam's foot against the wall; so he struck it again.26Then the angel of the Lord went ahead, and stood in a narrow place, where there was no way to turn either to the right or to the left.27When the donkey saw the angel of the Lord, it lay down under Balaam; and Balaam's anger was kindled, and he struck the donkey with his staff.28Then the Lord opened the mouth of the donkey, and it said to Balaam, “What have I done to you, that you have struck me these three times?”29Balaam said to the donkey, “Because you have made a fool of me! I wish I had a sword in my hand! I would kill you right now!”30But the donkey said to Balaam, “Am I not your donkey, which you have ridden all your life to this day? Have I been in the habit of treating you this way?” And he said, “No.”31Then the Lord opened the eyes of Balaam, and he saw the angel of the Lord standing in the road, with his drawn sword in his hand; and he bowed down, falling on his face.32The angel of the Lord said to him, “Why have you struck your donkey these three times? I have come out as an adversary, because your way is perverse before me.33The donkey saw me, and turned away from me these three times. If it had not turned away from me, surely just now I would have killed you and let it live.”34Then Balaam said to the angel of the Lord, “I have sinned, for I did not know that you were standing in the road to oppose me. Now therefore, if it is displeasing to you, I will return home.”35The angel of the Lord said to Balaam, “Go with the men; but speak only what I tell you to speak.” So Balaam went on with the officials of Balak.36When Balak heard that Balaam had come, he went out to meet him at Ir-moab, on the boundary formed by the Arnon, at the farthest point of the boundary.37Balak said to Balaam, “Did I not send to summon you? Why did you not come to me? Am I not able to honor you?”38Balaam said to Balak, “I have come to you now, but do I have power to say just anything? The word God puts in my mouth, that is what I must say.”39Then Balaam went with Balak, and they came to Kiriath-huzoth.40Balak sacrificed oxen and sheep, and sent them to Balaam and to the officials who were with him.Balaam's First Oracle
41On the next day Balak took Balaam and brought him up to Bamoth-baal; and from there he could see part of the people of Israel.Chapter 231Then Balaam said to Balak, “Build me seven altars here, and prepare seven bulls and seven rams for me.”2Balak did as Balaam had said; and Balak and Balaam offered a bull and a ram on each altar.3Then Balaam said to Balak, “Stay here beside your burnt offerings while I go aside. Perhaps the Lord will come to meet me. Whatever he shows me I will tell you.” And he went to a bare height.4Then God met Balaam; and Balaam said to him, “I have arranged the seven altars, and have offered a bull and a ram on each altar.”5The Lord put a word in Balaam's mouth, and said, “Return to Balak, and this is what you must say.”6So he returned to Balak, who was standing beside his burnt offerings with all the officials of Moab.7Then Balaam uttered his oracle, saying:
“Balak has brought me from Aram,
the king of Moab from the eastern mountains:
‘Come, curse Jacob for me;
Come, denounce Israel!’8How can I curse whom God has not cursed?
How can I denounce those whom the Lord has not denounced?9For from the top of the crags I see him,
from the hills I behold him;
Here is a people living alone,
and not reckoning itself among the nations!10Who can count the dust of Jacob,
or number the dust-cloud of Israel?
Let me die the death of the upright,
and let my end be like his!”11Then Balak said to Balaam, “What have you done to me? I brought you to curse my enemies, but now you have done nothing but bless them.”12He answered, “Must I not take care to say what the Lord puts into my mouth?”Balaam's Second Oracle
13So Balak said to him, “Come with me to another place from which you may see them; you shall see only part of them, and shall not see them all; then curse them for me from there.”14So he took him to the field of Zophim, to the top of Pisgah. He built seven altars, and offered a bull and a ram on each altar.15Balaam said to Balak, “Stand here beside your burnt offerings, while I meet the Lord over there.”16The Lord met Balaam, put a word into his mouth, and said, “Return to Balak, and this is what you shall say.”17When he came to him, he was standing beside his burnt offerings with the officials of Moab. Balak said to him, “What has the Lord said?”18Then Balaam uttered his oracle, saying:
“Rise, Balak, and hear;
listen to me, O son of Zippor:19God is not a human being, that he should lie,
or a mortal, that he should change his mind.
Has he promised, and will he not do it?
Has he spoken, and will he not fulfill it?20See, I received a command to bless;
he has blessed, and I cannot revoke it.21He has not beheld misfortune in Jacob;
nor has he seen trouble in Israel.
The Lord their God is with them,
acclaimed as a king among them.22God, who brings them out of Egypt,
is like the horns of a wild ox for them.23Surely there is no enchantment against Jacob,
no divination against Israel;
now it shall be said of Jacob and Israel,
‘See what God has done!’24Look, a people rising up like a lioness,
and rousing itself like a lion!
It does not lie down until it has eaten the prey
and drunk the blood of the slain.”25Then Balak said to Balaam, “Do not curse them at all, and do not bless them at all.”26But Balaam answered Balak, “Did I not tell you, ‘Whatever the Lord says, that is what I must do’?”27So Balak said to Balaam, “Come now, I will take you to another place; perhaps it will please God that you may curse them for me from there.”28So Balak took Balaam to the top of Peor, which overlooks the wasteland.29Balaam said to Balak, “Build me seven altars here, and prepare seven bulls and seven rams for me.”30So Balak did as Balaam had said, and offered a bull and a ram on each altar.Chapter 24Balaam's Third Oracle
1Now Balaam saw that it pleased the Lord to bless Israel, so he did not go, as at other times, to look for omens, but set his face toward the wilderness.2Balaam looked up and saw Israel camping tribe by tribe. Then the spirit of God came upon him,3and he uttered his oracle, saying:
“The oracle of Balaam son of Beor,
the oracle of the man whose eye is clear,4the oracle of one who hears the words of God,
who sees the vision of the Almighty,
who falls down, but with eyes uncovered:5how fair are your tents, O Jacob,
your encampments, O Israel!6Like palm groves that stretch far away,
like gardens beside a river,
like aloes that the Lord has planted,
like cedar trees beside the waters.7Water shall flow from his buckets,
and his seed shall have abundant water,
his king shall be higher than Agag,
and his kingdom shall be exalted.8God who brings him out of Egypt,
is like the horns of a wild ox for him;
he shall devour the nations that are his foes
and break their bones.
He shall strike with his arrows.9He crouched, he lay down like a lion,
and like a lioness; who will rouse him up?
Blessed is everyone who blesses you,
and cursed is everyone who curses you.”10Then Balak's anger was kindled against Balaam, and he struck his hands together. Balak said to Balaam, “I summoned you to curse my enemies, but instead you have blessed them these three times.11Now be off with you! Go home! I said, ‘I will reward you richly,’ but the Lord has denied you any reward.”12And Balaam said to Balak, “Did I not tell your messengers whom you sent to me,13‘If Balak should give me his house full of silver and gold, I would not be able to go beyond the word of the Lord, to do either good or bad of my own will; what the Lord says, that is what I will say’?14So now, I am going to my people; let me advise you what this people will do to your people in days to come.”Balaam's Fourth Oracle
15So he uttered his oracle, saying:
“The oracle of Balaam son of Beor,
the oracle of the man whose eye is clear,16the oracle of one who hears the words of God,
and knows the knowledge of the Most High,
who sees the vision of the Almighty,
who falls down, but with his eyes uncovered:17I see him, but not now;
I behold him, but not near—
a star shall come out of Jacob,
and a scepter shall rise out of Israel;
it shall crush the borderlands of Moab,
and the territory of all the Shethites.18Edom will become a possession,
Seir a possession of its enemies,
while Israel does valiantly.19One out of Jacob shall rule,
and destroy the survivors of Ir.”20Then he looked on Amalek, and uttered his oracle, saying:
“First among the nations was Amalek,
but its end is to perish forever.”21Then he looked on the Kenite, and uttered his oracle, saying:
“Enduring is your dwelling place,
and your nest is set in the rock;22yet Kain is destined for burning.
How long shall Asshur take you away captive?”23Again he uttered his oracle, saying:
“Alas, who shall live when God does this?24But ships shall come from Kittim
and shall afflict Asshur and Eber;
and he also shall perish forever.”25Then Balaam got up and went back to his place, and Balak also went his way.Chapter 25Worship of Baal of Peor
1While Israel was staying at Shittim, the people began to have sexual relations with the women of Moab.2These invited the people to the sacrifices of their gods, and the people ate and bowed down to their gods.3Thus Israel yoked itself to the Baal of Peor, and the Lord's anger was kindled against Israel.4The Lord said to Moses, “Take all the chiefs of the people, and impale them in the sun before the Lord, in order that the fierce anger of the Lord may turn away from Israel.”5And Moses said to the judges of Israel, “Each of you shall kill any of your people who have yoked themselves to the Baal of Peor.”6Just then one of the Israelites came and brought a Midianite woman into his family, in the sight of Moses and in the sight of the whole congregation of the Israelites, while they were weeping at the entrance of the tent of meeting.7When Phinehas son of Eleazar, son of Aaron the priest, saw it, he got up and left the congregation. Taking a spear in his hand,8he went after the Israelite man into the tent, and pierced the two of them, the Israelite and the woman, through the belly. So the plague was stopped among the people of Israel.9Nevertheless those that died by the plague were twenty-four thousand.10The Lord spoke to Moses, saying:11“Phinehas son of Eleazar, son of Aaron the priest, has turned back my wrath from the Israelites by manifesting such zeal among them on my behalf that in my jealousy I did not consume the Israelites.12Therefore say, ‘I hereby grant him my covenant of peace.13It shall be for him and for his descendants after him a covenant of perpetual priesthood, because he was zealous for his God, and made atonement for the Israelites.’ ”14The name of the slain Israelite man, who was killed with the Midianite woman, was Zimri son of Salu, head of an ancestral house belonging to the Simeonites.15The name of the Midianite woman who was killed was Cozbi daughter of Zur, who was the head of a clan, an ancestral house in Midian.16The Lord said to Moses,17“Harass the Midianites, and defeat them;18for they have harassed you by the trickery with which they deceived you in the affair of Peor, and in the affair of Cozbi, the daughter of a leader of Midian, their sister; she was killed on the day of the plague that resulted from Peor.”