Balak son of Zippor saw all that Israel had done to the Amorites.
Moab was alarmed because that people was so numerous. Moab dreaded the Israelites, and Moab said to the elders of Midian, “Now this horde will lick clean all that is about us as an ox licks up the grass of the field.”
Balak son of Zippor, who was king of Moab at that time, sent messengers to Balaam son of Beor in Pethor, which is by the Euphrates, in the land of his kinsfolk, to invite him, saying, “There is a people that came out of Egypt; it hides the earth from view, and it is settled next to me. Come then, put a curse upon this people for me, since they are too numerous for me; perhaps I can thus defeat them and drive them out of the land. For I know that he whom you bless is blessed indeed, and he whom you curse is cursed.”
The elders of Moab and the elders of Midian, versed in divina- tion, set out. They came to Balaam and gave him Balak’s message. He said to them, “Spend the night here, and I shall reply to you as the Lord may instruct me.” So the Moabite dignitaries stayed with Balaam.
God came to Balaam and said, “What do these people want of you?” Balaam said to God, “Balak son of Zippor, king of Moab, sent me this message: Here is a people that came out from Egypt and hides the earth from view. Come now and curse them for me; perhaps I can engage them in battle and drive them off.” But God said to Balaam, “Do not go with them. You must not curse that people, for they are blessed.”
From Parshat Balak. From THE TANAKH: The New JPS Translation According to the Traditional Hebrew Text. Copyright 1985 by the Jewish Publication Society. Used by permission.