Old Testament Story List

Balaam's Ass

As the Israelites passed through the lands of different tribes, they found that some were peaceful but others were fearful and warlike and would not let them pass.

To pass through the land of the Amorites, the children of Israel had to wage war against them. They conquered the Amorites and dwelt for a time in their cities and villages. As they

continued on their journey to the Promised Land of Canaan, they came to the plains of Moab, across the Jordan from Jericho. The king of the Moabites, Balak, having heard of the successes of the Israelites against the Amorites, was afraid. Therefore he sent messengers to the false prophet Balaam, saying, "Behold, there is a people come from Egypt. They are covering the face of the earth and are now at my very boundaries. Come now and curse them for me, so that we may battle with them and drive them from the land."

But God said to Balaam, "You shall not go, for these children of Israel are blessed."

Then Balak sent princes from his court as messengers, promising Balaam great honors if he would go. Again Balaam refused - for he would not go against the word of the Lord. But this time God appeared to Balaam saying "Go with these men, but be sure to do as I tell you."

In the morning Balaam saddled his ass and went with the princes of Moab. And God sent an angel who stood before the ass, sword in hand. The ass saw the angel and turned into the field by the road. Balaam struck the ass in order to turn her back into the road.

A little farther on, where the road passed a vineyard with a wall on either side, the angel stood in the way again. The ass thrust herself against the wall, crushing Balaam's foot, so that he beat her again. Then the angel stood in a narrow place where there was no way to turn either to right or left, and the ass fell down under Balaam.

Balaam was so incensed that he beat the ass with his staff. Then the Lord opened the mouth of the ass, and she said, "What have I done that you should beat me so?"

Balaam answered, "Because you have mocked me. If I had a sword I would kill you."

Again the ass spoke, "I have been a faithful ass for many years. Have I ever acted so before?"

Even as Balaam answered "No," the Lord opened his eyes and he saw the angel, and bowed to the ground, realizing that the faithful ass had saved his life. The angel then told Balaam that he might go on, but that he should speak only the words which the Lord put in his mouth.

So when Balaam arrived before the King of Moab, he could only bless the children of Israel, saying, "Blessed is he who blesses you - and cursed is he who curses you!" Then Balak, in great anger, refused to honor Balaam, and sent him back to his own country.

2006 ASLBible.com
About Us FAQ Contact Us Privacy Policy Links Terms and Conditions