Numbers 23

Balaam’s First Oracle

1And Balaam said to Balak, aBuild for me here seven altars, and prepare for me here seven bulls and seven rams.” 2Balak did as Balaam had said. And Balak and Balaam boffered on each altar a bull and a ram. 3And Balaam said to Balak, cStand beside your burnt offering, and I will go. Perhaps the Lord will come dto meet me, and whatever he shows me I will tell you.” And he went to a bare height, 4 eand God met Balaam. And Balaam said to him, “I have arranged the seven altars and I have offered on each altar a bull and a ram.” 5And the Lord fput a word in Balaam’s mouth and said, “Return to Balak, and thus you shall speak.” 6And he returned to him, and behold, he and all the princes of Moab were standing beside his burnt offering. 7And Balaam gtook up his discourse and said,

“From hAram Balak has brought me,
the king of Moab ifrom the eastern mountains:
Come, jcurse Jacob for me,
and come, denounce Israel!’
8How can I curse whom God has not cursed?
How can I denounce whom the Lord has not denounced?
9For from the top of the crags kI see him,
from the hills I behold him;
behold, la people dwelling alone,
and mnot counting itself among the nations!
10 nWho can count the dust of Jacob
or number the fourth part
Or dust clouds
of Israel?
Let me die pthe death of the upright,
and let my end be like his!”
11And Balak said to Balaam, “What have you done to me? qI took you to curse my enemies, and behold, you have done nothing but bless them.” 12And he answered and said, r“Must I not take care to speak what the Lord puts in my mouth?”

Balaam’s Second Oracle

13And Balak said to him, “Please come with me to another place, from which you may see them. You shall see only a fraction of them and shall not see them all. Then curse them for me from there.” 14And he took him to the field of Zophim, to the top of Pisgah, sand built seven altars and offered a bull and a ram on each altar. 15Balaam said to Balak, tStand here beside your burnt offering, while I meet the Lord over there.” 16And the Lord met Balaam and uput a word in his mouth and said, “Return to Balak, and thus shall you speak.” 17And he came to him, and behold, he was standing beside his burnt offering, and the princes of Moab with him. And Balak said to him, “What has the Lord spoken?” 18And Balaam took up his discourse and said,

Rise, Balak, and hear;
give ear to me, O son of Zippor:
19 vGod is not man, that he should lie,
or a son of man, that he should change his mind.
Has he said, and will he not do it?
Or has he spoken, and will he not fulfill it?
20Behold, I received a command to bless:
whe has blessed, and xI cannot revoke it.
21 yHe has not beheld misfortune in Jacob,
nor has he seen trouble in Israel.
The Lord their God is with them,
and the shout of a king is among them.
22 zGod brings them out of Egypt
and is for them like aathe horns of the wild ox.
23For there is no enchantment against Jacob,
no abdivination against Israel;
now it shall be said of Jacob and Israel,
acWhat has God wrought!’
24Behold, a people! adAs a lioness it rises up
and as a lion it lifts itself;
aeit does not lie down until it has devoured the prey
and drunk the blood of the slain.”
25And Balak said to Balaam, “Do not curse them at all, and do not bless them at all.” 26But Balaam answered Balak, “Did I not tell you, afAll that the Lord says, that I must do’?” 27And Balak said to Balaam, agCome now, I will take you to another place. Perhaps it will please God that you may curse them for me from there.” 28So Balak took Balaam to the top of ahPeor, which overlooks aithe desert.
Or Jeshimon
29And Balaam said to Balak, akBuild for me here seven altars and prepare for me here seven bulls and seven rams.” 30 alAnd Balak did as Balaam had said, and offered a bull and a ram on each altar.

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