ImmerseBeginnings NLT - Page 256


narrowed between two vineyard walls. When the donkey saw the angel
of the Lord, it tried to squeeze by and crushed Balaam’s foot against the
wall. So Balaam beat the donkey again. Then the angel of the Lord moved
farther down the road and stood in a place too narrow for the donkey to
get by at all. This time when the donkey saw the angel, it lay down under
Balaam. In a fit of rage Balaam beat the animal again with his staff.
Then the Lord gave the donkey the ability to speak. “What have I done
to you that deserves your beating me three times?” it asked Balaam.
“You have made me look like a fool!” Balaam shouted. “If I had a sword
with me, I would kill you!”
“But I am the same donkey you have ridden all your life,” the donkey
answered. “Have I ever done anything like this before?”
“No,” Balaam admitted.
Then the Lord opened Balaam’s eyes, and he saw the angel of the Lord
standing in the roadway with a drawn sword in his hand. Balaam bowed
his head and fell face down on the ground before him.
“Why did you beat your donkey those three times?” the angel of the
Lord demanded. “Look, I have come to block your way because you
are stubbornly resisting me. Three times the donkey saw me and shied
away; otherwise, I would certainly have killed you by now and spared the
Then Balaam confessed to the angel of the Lord, “I have sinned. I didn’t
realize you were standing in the road to block my way. I will return home
if you are against my going.”
But the angel of the Lord told Balaam, “Go with these men, but say only
what I tell you to say.” So Balaam went on with Balak’s officials.
When King Balak heard that Balaam was on the way, he went out to meet
him at a Moabite town on the Arnon River at the farthest border of his
“Didn’t I send you an urgent invitation? Why didn’t you come right
away?” Balak asked Balaam. “Didn’t you believe me when I said I would
reward you richly?”
Balaam replied, “Look, now I have come, but I have no power to say
whatever I want. I will speak only the message that God puts in my mouth.”
Then Balaam accompanied Balak to ­Kiriath-­huzoth, where the king sacrificed cattle and sheep. He sent portions of the meat to Balaam and the
officials who were with him. The next morning Balak took Balaam up to
­Bamoth-­baal. From there he could see some of the people of Israel spread
out below him.
Then Balaam said to King Balak, “Build me seven altars here, and prepare seven young bulls and seven rams for me to sacrifice.” Balak followed

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