Israel now sent messengers to Sihon king of the Amorites, saying, "Let me pass through your country. We will not turn off into fields or vineyards, and we will not drink water from wells. We will follow the king's highway until we have crossed your territory." But Sihon would not let Israel pass through his territory. Sihon gathered all his people and went out against Israel in the wilderness. He came to Jahaz and engaged Israel in battle. But Israel put them to the sword, and took possession of their land, from the Arnon to the Jabbok, as far as [Az] of the Ammonites, for Az marked the boundary of the Ammonites. Israel took all those towns. And Israel settled in all the towns of the Amorites, in Heshbon and all its dependencies.
Now Heshbon was the city of Sihon king of the Amorites, who had fought against a former king of Moab and taken all his land from him as far as the Arnon. Therefore the bards would recite:
"Come to Heshbon; firmly built
And well founded is Sihon's city.
For fire went forth from Heshbon,
Flame from Sihon's city,
Consuming Ar of Moab,
The lords of Bamoth by the Arnon.
Woe to you, O Moab!
You are undone, O people of Chemosh!
His sons are rendered fugitive
And his daughters captive
By an Amorite king, Sihon."
Yet we have cast them down utterly,
Heshbon along with Dibon;
We have wrought desolation at Nophah,
Which is hard by Medeba.
So Israel occupied the land of the Amorites. Then Moses sent to spy out Jazer, and they captured its dependencies and dispossessed the Amorites who were there.
They marched on and went up the road to Bashan, and King Og of Bashan, with all his people, came out to Edrei to engage them in battle. But the Lord said to Moses, "Do not fear him, for I give him and all his people and his land into your hand. You shall do to him as you did to Sihon king of the Amorites who dwelt in Heshbon." They defeated him and his sons and all his people, until no remnant was left him; and they took possession of his country.
The Israelites then marched on and encamped in the steppes of Moab, across the Jordan from Jericho. 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."