Numbers 20:1-23:8View Full Chapter
Water From the Rock 1In the first month the whole Israelite community arrived at the Desert of Zin, and they stayed at Kadesh. There Miriam died and was buried. 2Now there was no water for the community, and the people gathered in opposition to Moses and Aaron. 3They quarreled with Moses and said, “If only we had died when our brothers fell dead before the LORD ! 4Why did you bring the LORD ’s community into this wilderness, that we and our livestock should die here?
5Why did you bring us up out of Egypt to this terrible place? It has no grain or figs, grapevines or pomegranates. And there is no water to drink!” 6Moses and Aaron went from the assembly to the entrance to the tent of meeting and fell facedown, and the glory of the LORD appeared to them. 7The LORD said to Moses,
8“Take the staff, and you and your brother Aaron gather the assembly together. Speak to that rock before their eyes and it will pour out its water. You will bring water out of the rock for the community so they and their livestock can drink.” 9So Moses took the staff from the LORD ’s presence, just as he commanded him. 10He and Aaron gathered the assembly together in front of the rock and Moses said to them, “Listen, you rebels, must we bring you water out of this rock?”
11Then Moses raised his arm and struck the rock twice with his staff. Water gushed out, and the community and their livestock drank.
12But the LORD said to Moses and Aaron, “Because you did not trust in me enough to honor me as holy in the sight of the Israelites, you will not bring this community into the land I give them.”
13These were the waters of Meribah,
Edom Denies Israel Passage 14Moses sent messengers from Kadesh to the king of Edom, saying: “This is what your brother Israel says: You know about all the hardships that have come on us. 15Our ancestors went down into Egypt, and we lived there many years. The Egyptians mistreated us and our ancestors,
16but when we cried out to the LORD, he heard our cry and sent an angel and brought us out of Egypt. “Now we are here at Kadesh, a town on the edge of your territory.
17Please let us pass through your country. We will not go through any field or vineyard, or drink water from any well. We will travel along the King’s Highway and not turn to the right or to the left until we have passed through your territory.”
18But Edom answered: “You may not pass through here; if you try, we will march out and attack you with the sword.”
19The Israelites replied: “We will go along the main road, and if we or our livestock drink any of your water, we will pay for it. We only want to pass through on foot—nothing else.”
20Again they answered: “You may not pass through.” Then Edom came out against them with a large and powerful army.
21Since Edom refused to let them go through their territory, Israel turned away from them.
The Death of Aaron 22The whole Israelite community set out from Kadesh and came to Mount Hor. 23At Mount Hor, near the border of Edom, the LORD said to Moses and Aaron, 24“Aaron will be gathered to his people. He will not enter the land I give the Israelites, because both of you rebelled against my command at the waters of Meribah. 25Get Aaron and his son Eleazar and take them up Mount Hor.
26Remove Aaron’s garments and put them on his son Eleazar, for Aaron will be gathered to his people; he will die there.” 27Moses did as the LORD commanded: They went up Mount Hor in the sight of the whole community. 28Moses removed Aaron’s garments and put them on his son Eleazar. And Aaron died there on top of the mountain. Then Moses and Eleazar came down from the mountain, 29and when the whole community learned that Aaron had died, all the Israelites mourned for him thirty days.
1When the Canaanite king of Arad, who lived in the Negev, heard that Israel was coming along the road to Atharim, he attacked the Israelites and captured some of them.
2Then Israel made this vow to the LORD : “If you will deliver these people into our hands, we will totally destroy
3The LORD listened to Israel’s plea and gave the Canaanites over to them. They completely destroyed them and their towns; so the place was named Hormah.
The Bronze Snake
4They traveled from Mount Hor along the route to the Red Sea,
5they spoke against God and against Moses, and said, “Why have you brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? There is no bread! There is no water! And we detest this miserable food!” 6Then the LORD sent venomous snakes among them; they bit the people and many Israelites died.
7The people came to Moses and said, “We sinned when we spoke against the LORD and against you. Pray that the LORD will take the snakes away from us.” So Moses prayed for the people. 8The LORD said to Moses, “Make a snake and put it up on a pole; anyone who is bitten can look at it and live.”
9So Moses made a bronze snake and put it up on a pole. Then when anyone was bitten by a snake and looked at the bronze snake, they lived.
The Journey to Moab 10The Israelites moved on and camped at Oboth. 11Then they set out from Oboth and camped in Iye Abarim, in the wilderness that faces Moab toward the sunrise. 12From there they moved on and camped in the Zered Valley. 13They set out from there and camped alongside the Arnon, which is in the wilderness extending into Amorite territory. The Arnon is the border of Moab, between Moab and the Amorites.
14That is why the Book of the Wars of the LORD says: “…Zahab
16From there they continued on to Beer, the well where 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 about it,
18about the well that the princes dug, that the nobles of the people sank— the nobles with scepters and staffs.” Then they went from the wilderness to Mattanah, 19from Mattanah to Nahaliel, from Nahaliel to Bamoth,
20and from Bamoth to the valley in Moab where the top of Pisgah overlooks the wasteland.
Defeat of Sihon and Og 21Israel sent messengers to say to Sihon king of the Amorites:
22“Let us pass through your country. We will not turn aside into any field or vineyard, or drink water from any well. We will travel along the King’s Highway until we have passed through your territory.” 23But Sihon would not let Israel pass through his territory. He mustered his entire army and marched out into the wilderness against Israel. When he reached Jahaz, he fought with Israel. 24Israel, however, put him to the sword and took over his land from the Arnon to the Jabbok, but only as far as the Ammonites, because their border was fortified. 25Israel captured all the cities of the Amorites and occupied them, including Heshbon and all its surrounding settlements.
26Heshbon was the city of Sihon king of the Amorites, who had fought against the former king of Moab and had taken from him all his land as far as the Arnon.
27That is why the poets say: “Come to Heshbon and let it be rebuilt; let Sihon’s city be restored.
28“Fire went out from Heshbon, a blaze from the city of Sihon. It consumed Ar of Moab, the citizens of Arnon’s heights.
29Woe to you, Moab! You are destroyed, people of Chemosh! He has given up his sons as fugitives and his daughters as captives to Sihon king of the Amorites.
30“But we have overthrown them; Heshbon’s dominion has been destroyed all the way to Dibon. We have demolished them as far as Nophah, which extends to Medeba.”
33Then they turned and went up along the road toward Bashan, and Og king of Bashan and his whole army marched out to meet them in battle at Edrei.
34The LORD said to Moses, “Do not be afraid of him, for I have delivered him into your hands, along with his whole army and his land. Do to him what you did to Sihon king of the Amorites, who reigned in Heshbon.” 35So they struck him down, together with his sons and his whole army, leaving them no survivors. And they took possession of his land.
3and Moab was terrified because there were so many people. Indeed, Moab was filled with dread because of the Israelites.
4The 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,
5sent 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.
6Now 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.”
7The 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.
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.’ ”
12But God said to Balaam, “Do not go with them. You must not put a curse on those people, because they are blessed.”
13The 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.”
16They came to Balaam and said: “This is what Balak son of Zippor says: Do not let anything keep you from coming to me,
17because I will reward you handsomely and do whatever you say. Come and put a curse on these people for me.” 18But Balaam answered them, “Even if Balak gave me all the silver and gold in his palace, I could not do anything great or small to go beyond the command of the LORD my God.
19Now spend the night here so that I can find out what else the LORD will tell me.”
20That night God came to Balaam and said, “Since these men have come to summon you, go with them, but do only what I tell you.”
Balaam’s Donkey 21Balaam got up in the morning, saddled his donkey and went with the Moabite officials. 22But God was very angry when he went, and the angel of the LORD stood in the road to oppose him. Balaam was riding on his donkey, and his two servants were with him.
23When the donkey saw the angel of the LORD standing in the road with a drawn sword in his hand, it turned off the road into a field. Balaam beat it to get it back on the road. 24Then the angel of the LORD stood in a narrow path through the vineyards, with walls on both sides.
25When the donkey saw the angel of the LORD, it pressed close to the wall, crushing Balaam’s foot against it. So he beat the donkey again. 26Then the angel of the LORD moved on ahead and stood in a narrow place where there was no room 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 he was angry and beat it with his staff.
28Then the LORD opened the donkey’s mouth, and it said to Balaam, “What have I done to you to make you beat me these three times?”
29Balaam answered the donkey, “You have made a fool of me! If only I had a sword in my hand, I would kill you right now.”
30The donkey said to Balaam, “Am I not your own donkey, which you have always ridden, to this day? Have I been in the habit of doing this to you?” “No,” he said.
31Then the LORD opened Balaam’s eyes, and he saw the angel of the LORD standing in the road with his sword drawn. So he bowed low and fell facedown.
32The angel of the LORD asked him, “Why have you beaten your donkey these three times? I have come here to oppose you because your path is a reckless one before me.
33The donkey saw me and turned away from me these three times. If it had not turned away, I would certainly have killed you by now, but I would have spared it.”
34Balaam said to the angel of the LORD, “I have sinned. I did not realize you were standing in the road to oppose me. Now if you are displeased, I will go back.”
35The angel of the LORD said to Balaam, “Go with the men, but speak only what I tell you.” So Balaam went with Balak’s officials. 36When Balak heard that Balaam was coming, he went out to meet him at the Moabite town on the Arnon border, at the edge of his territory.
37Balak said to Balaam, “Did I not send you an urgent summons? Why didn’t you come to me? Am I really not able to reward you?”
38“Well, I have come to you now,” Balaam replied. “But I can’t say whatever I please. I must speak only what God puts in my mouth.” 39Then Balaam went with Balak to Kiriath Huzoth. 40Balak sacrificed cattle and sheep, and gave some to Balaam and the officials who were with him. 41The next morning Balak took Balaam up to Bamoth Baal, and from there he could see the outskirts of the Israelite camp.
Balaam’s First Message 1Balaam said, “Build me seven altars here, and prepare seven bulls and seven rams for me.”
2Balak did as Balaam said, and the two of them offered a bull and a ram on each altar.
3Then Balaam said to Balak, “Stay here beside your offering while I go aside. Perhaps the LORD will come to meet with me. Whatever he reveals to me I will tell you.” Then he went off to a barren height.
4God met with him, and Balaam said, “I have prepared seven altars, and on each altar I have offered a bull and a ram.”
7Then Balaam spoke his message: “Balak brought me from Aram, the king of Moab from the eastern mountains. ‘Come,’ he said, ‘curse Jacob for me; come, denounce Israel.’
8How can I curse those whom God has not cursed? How can I denounce those whom the LORD has not denounced?