After that the Israelites moved on and camped in the Jordan valley of the Moabites across from Jericho. And Balak, the son of Zippor saw all that Israel did. The Moabites were afraid of the Israelites. They spoke to the elders of the Midians: now this horde will eat up everything around like an ox eats the grass of the field. Balak, king of the Moabites sent messengers to Boten of Balaam, the son of Beor to Pethor on the Euphrates in the land of his people's ancestors to summon him and told them to say: a people has come from Egypt and covers all the land, camps across from me. So come now and curse this people for me for it is too powerful. Perhaps I then can defeat it and drive it from this land. For I know, he who you curse, is cursed and he who you bless, is blessed. The elders of the Moabites and the Midians had the payment for the prophecy in hand and came to Balaam and told him what Balak had said. He said: stay the night, then I will answer you, as the Lord has told me.
And God came to Balaam and asked after the ancestry of the people that waited there. A people from Egypt cover their country. Come curse it, perhaps I can help to drive them out. However, God spoke to Balaam: do not go with them and do not curse the people for they are blessed. In the morning he spoke to the elders of prince Balak: go home to your country for the Lord will not permit it, that I accompany you.
The princes of Moabites set out, came to Balak and said: Balaam refuses to accompany us.
Then Balak sent more princes to Balaam and told them to say: that he would be greatly honored if he came – even if Balak gave me silver and gold I could not do anything great or small against the word of the Lord my god. So stay here this night so that I may find out what else the Lord wishes to talk to me about: set out for Balaam, accompany them but do only as I command you (21). Then Balaam saddled his donkey and rode with the princes of the Moabites.