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Heshbon, and in all the villages thereof. For Heshbon was the city of Sihon the king of the Amorites, who had fought against the former king of Moab, and taken all his land out of his hand, even unto Arnon. Wherefore they speak in proverbs, saying:
"Come ye to Heshbon,
Let the city of Sihon be built and established:
For a fire is gone out of Heshbon,
A flame from the city of Sihon :
It hath devoured Ar of Moab,
The lords of the high places of the Arnon.
Woe to thee, Moab!
Thou art undone, O people of Chemosh,2
We have shot at them; Heshbon is perished
And we have laid waste even unto Nophah
Thus Israel dwelt in the land of the Amorites. And they turned and went up by the way of Bashan: and Og the king of Bashan 3 went out against them, he and all his people, to the battle at Edrei. And the Lord said unto Moses: "Fear him not: for I have delivered him into thy hand, and
1 They speak... saying. Lit., "the reciters of meshalim (odes or ballads; here, taunt songs') say." Two explanations have been given for the somewhat obscure ode here quoted :—
i. The Israelites first address the newly defeated Amorites, mockingly bidding them rebuild their demolished stronghold. They then address the Moabites, who had previously been subjected by the Amorites. Finally, they again address the Amorites, whom Israel has now defeated in their turn.
ii. The Israelites throughout the ode are exulting over Moab. In this view the line "Unto Sihon, king of the Amorites," is rejected as a gloss.
2 Chemosh. The national deity of Moab.
8" For only Og king of Bashan remained of the remnant of giants; behold, his bedstead was a bedstead of iron; is it not in Rabbath of the children of Ammon? nine cubits was the length thereof, and four cubits the breadth of it, after the cubit of a man." Deut. iii. 11.
all his people, and his land; and thou shalt do to him as thou didst unto Sihon king of the Amorites, which dwelt at Heshbon." So they smote him, and his sons, and all his people, until there was none left him alive: and they possessed his land. And the children of Israel set forward, and pitched in the plains of Moab on this side Jordan by Jericho.
Balak and Balaam (Num. xxii. 2–xxiv. 25). And Balak the son of Zippor saw all that Israel had done to the Amorites. And Moab was sore afraid of the people, because they were many: and Moab was distressed because of the children of Israel. And Moab said unto the elders of Midian: "Now shall this company lick up all that are round about us, as the ox licketh up the grass of the field." And Balak the son of Zippor was king of the Moabites at that time. He sent messengers therefore unto Balaam the son of Beor to Pethor, which is by the river,' the land of the children of his people, to call him, saying: "Behold, there is a people come out from Egypt: behold, they cover the face of the earth, and they abide over against me: come now therefore, I pray thee, curse me this people; for they are too mighty for me: peradventure I shall prevail, that we may smite them, and that I may drive them out of the land: for I wot that he whom thou blessest is blessed, and he whom thou cursest is cursed."
And the elders of Moab and the elders of Midian departed with the rewards of divination in their hand; and they came unto Balaam, and spake unto him the words of Balak. And he said unto them: "Lodge here this night, and I will bring you word again, as the Lord shall speak unto me." And the princes of Moab abode with Balaam.
And God came unto Balaam, and said, "What men are these with thee?" And Balaam said unto God: "Balak the son of Zippor, king of Moab, hath sent unto me, saying, Behold, there is a people come out of Egypt, which covereth the face of the earth: come now, curse me them; peradventure I shall be able to overcome them, and drive them out." And God said unto Balaam: "Thou shalt not go with them; thou shalt not curse the people for they are blessed." And Balaam rose up in the morning, and said unto the princes of Balak: "Get you into your land: for the Lord refuseth to give me leave to go with 1 the river. Euphrates.
you." And the princes of Moab rose up, and they went unto Balak, and said: "Balaam refuseth to come with us."
And Balak sent yet again princes, more, and more honorable than they. And they came to Balaam, and said to him: "Thus saith Balak the son of Zippor, Let nothing, I pray thee, hinder thee from coming unto me: for I will promote thee unto very great honor, and I will do whatsoever thou sayest unto me: come therefore, I pray thee, curse me this people."
And Balaam answered and said unto the servants of Balak: "If Balak would give me his house full of silver and gold, I cannot go beyond the word of the Lord my God, to do less or more. Now therefore, I pray you, tarry ye also here this night, that I may know what the Lord will say unto me more."
And God came unto Balaam at night, and said unto him: "If the men come to call thee, rise up, and go with them; but yet the word which I shall say unto thee, that shalt thou do." And Balaam rose up in the morning, and saddled his ass, and went with the princes of Moab.
And God's anger was kindled because he went: and the angel of the Lord stood in the way for an adversary against him. Now he was riding upon his ass, and his two servants were with him. And the ass saw the angel of the Lord standing in the way, and his sword drawn in his hand: and the ass turned aside out of the way, and went into the field: and Balaam smote the ass, to turn her into the way. But the angel of the Lord stood in a path of the vineyards, a wall being on this side, and a wall on that side. And when the ass saw the angel of the Lord, she thrust herself unto the wall, and crushed Balaam's foot against the wall and he smote her again. And the angel of the Lord went further, and stood in a narrow place, where was no way to turn either to the right hand or to the left. And when the ass saw the angel of the Lord, she fell down under Balaam : and Balaam's anger was kindled, and he smote the ass with a staff. And the Lord opened the mouth of the ass, and she said unto Balaam : "What have I done unto thee, that thou hast smitten me these three times?" And Balaam said unto the ass: "Because thou hast mocked me: I would there were a sword in mine hand, for now would I kill thee." And the ass said unto Balaam : "Am not I thine ass, upon which thou hast ridden ever since I was thine unto this day? was I ever wont to do so unto thee?" And he said, "Nay." Then the Lord opened the eyes of Balaam,
and he saw the angel of the Lord standing in the way, and his sword drawn in his hand: and he bowed down his head, and fell flat on his face. And the angel of the Lord said unto him: "Wherefore hast thou smitten thine ass these three times? behold, I went out to withstand thee, because thy way is perverse before me and the ass saw me, and turned from me these three times unless she had turned from me, surely now also I had slain thee, and saved her alive."
And Balaam said unto the angel of the Lord: "I have sinned; for I knew not that thou stoodest in the way against me: now therefore, if it displease thee, I will get me back again." And the angel of the Lord said unto Balaam : "Go with the men: but only the word that I shall speak unto thee, that thou shalt speak." So Balaam went with the princes of Balak.
And when Balak heard that Balaam was come, he went out to meet him unto a city of Moab, which is in the border of Arnon, which is in the utmost coast. And Balak said unto Balaam: "Did I not earnestly send unto thee to call thee? wherefore camest thou not unto me? am I not able indeed to promote thee to honor?" And Balaam said unto Balak: "Lo, I am come unto thee: have I now any power at all to say any thing? the word that God putteth in my mouth, that shall I speak."
And Balaam went with Balak, and they came unto Kirjathhuzoth. And Balak offered oxen and sheep, and sent to Balaam, and to the princes that were with him. And it came to pass on the morrow, that Balak took Balaam, and brought him up into the high places of Baal,' that thence he might see the utmost part of the people. And Balaam said unto Balak: "Build me here seven altars, and prepare me here seven oxen and seven rams." And Balak did as Balaam had spoken; and Balak and Balaam offered on every altar a bullock and a ram. And Balaam said unto Balak: "Stand by thy burnt offering, and I will go: peradventure the Lord will come to meet me: and whatsoever he sheweth me I will tell thee."
And he went to an high place. And God met Balaam : and he said unto him: "I have prepared seven altars and I have offered upon every altar a bullock and a ram." And the Lord put a word in Balaam's mouth, and said: "Return unto Balak, and thus thou shalt speak." And he returned unto him, and lo, he stood by his burnt sacrifice, he and all the princes of Moab.
1 Baal. See note, p. 167.
And he took up his parable and said:
"From Aram hath Balak brought me,
The king of Moab from the mountains of the East:
And come, defy Israel.
How shall I curse, whom God hath not cursed?
And from the hills I behold him:
Lo, it is a people that dwelleth alone,
And shall not be reckoned among the nations.
Or number the fourth part of Israel?
Let me die the death of the righteous,
And Balak said unto Balaam: "What hast thou done unto me? I took thee to curse mine enemies, and behold, thou hast blessed them altogether." And he answered and said: "Must I not take heed to speak that which the Lord hath put in my mouth?"
And Balak said unto him: "Come, I pray thee, with me unto another place, from whence thou mayest see them (thou shalt see but the utmost part of them, and shalt not see them all), and curse me them from thence." And he brought him into the field of Zophim, to the top of Pisgah, and built seven altars, and offered a bullock and a ram on every altar. And he said, unto Balak: "Stand here by thy burnt offering, while I meet the Lord yonder." And the Lord met Balaam, and put a word in his mouth and said: "Go again unto Balak, and say thus." And when he came to him, behold, he stood by his burnt offering, and the princes of Moab with him. And Balak said unto him: "What hath the Lord spoken?" And he took up his parable, and said:
"Rise up, Balak, and hear;
Hearken unto me, thou son of Zippor:
God is not a man, that he should lie;
Neither the son of man, that he should repent:
Or hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good?