Numbers 23
Holman Christian Standard Bible

Balaam’s Oracles

1Then Balaam said to Balak, “Build me seven altars here and prepare seven bulls and seven rams for me.”a 2So Balak did as Balaam directed, and they offered a bull and a ram on each altar. 3Balaam said to Balak, “Stay here by your burnt offering while I am gone. Maybe the LORDb will meet with me. I will tell you whatever He reveals to me.” So he went to a barren hill.

4Godc met with him and Balaam said to Him, “I have arranged seven altars and offered a bull and a ram on each altar.” 5Then the LORD put a message in Balaam’s mouth and said, “Return to Balak and say what I tell you.”

6So he returned to Balak, who was standing there by his burnt offering with all the officials of Moab.

Balaam’s First Oracle

7Balaam proclaimed his poem:

Balak brought me from Aram;d

the king of Moab, from the eastern mountains:

Come, put a curse on Jacob for me;

come, denounce Israel! ”e

8How can I curse someone God has not cursed?

How can I denounce someone the LORD has not denounced?

9I see them from the top of rocky cliffs,

and I watch them from the hills.

There is a people living alone;f

it does not consider itself among the nations.

10Who has counted the dust of Jacobg

or numbered the dust cloudsh of Israel?

Let me die the death of the upright;

let the end of my life be like theirs.

11What have you done to me? ” Balak asked Balaam. “I brought you to curse my enemies, but look, you have only blessed them! ”

12He answered, “Shouldn’t I say exactly what the LORD puts in my mouth? ”i

Balaam’s Second Oracle

13Then Balak said to him, “Please come with me to another placej where you can see them. You will only see the outskirts of their camp; you won’t see all of them. From there, put a curse on them for me.” 14So Balak took him to Lookout Fieldk on top of Pisgah,l built seven altars, and offered a bull and a ram on each altar.

15Balaam said to Balak, “Stay here by your burnt offering while I seek the LORD over there.”

16The LORD met with Balaam and put a message in his mouth. Then He said, “Return to Balak and say what I tell you.”

17So he returned to Balak, who was standing there by his burnt offering with the officials of Moab. Balak asked him, “What did the LORD say? ”

18Balaam proclaimed his poem:

Balak, get up and listen;

son of Zippor, pay attention to what I say!

19God is not a man who lies,

or a son of man who changes His mind.m

Does He speak and not act,

or promise and not fulfill?n

20I have indeed received a command to bless;

since He has blessed,o I cannot change it.

21He considers no disaster for Jacob;

He sees no trouble for Israel.p

The LORD their God is with them,q

and there is rejoicing over the King among them.

22God brought them out of Egypt;

He is like the horns of a wild ox for them.r, s

23There is no magic curse against Jacob

and no divination against Israel.

It will now be said about Jacob and Israel,

What great things God has done! ”

24A people rise up like a lioness;

They rouse themselves like a lion.t

They will not lie down until they devour the prey

and drink the blood of the slain.

25Then Balak told Balaam, “Don’t curse them and don’t bless them! ”

26But Balaam answered him, “Didn’t I tell you: Whatever the LORD says, I must do? ”u

Balaam’s Third Oracle

27Again Balak said to Balaam, “Please come. I will take you to another place. Maybe it will be agreeable to God that you can put a curse on them for me there.” 28So Balak took Balaam to the top of Peor, which overlooks the wasteland.v, w

29Balaam told Balak, “Build me seven altars here and prepare seven bulls and seven rams for me.”x 30So Balak did as Balaam said and offered a bull and a ram on each altar.


Footnotes:
a. 23:1 1Ch 15:26; 2Ch 29:21; Jb 42:8; Ezk 45:23
b. 23:3 DSS, LXX, Sam read Maybe God
c. 23:4 DSS, Sam read The Angel of God
d. 23:7 Dt 23:4
e. 23:7 Nm 22:6,17
f. 23:9 Dt 33:28
g. 23:10 Gn 13:16
h. 23:10 Or numbered a fourth
i. 23:12 Nm 22:38
j. 23:13 Nm 23:27
k. 23:14 Or to the field of Zophim
l. 23:14 Nm 21:20; Dt 3:17,27; 4:49; 34:1; Jos 12:3; 13:20
m. 23:19 1Sm 15:29; Mal 3:6; Titus 1:2; Heb. 6:17-18
n. 23:19 Ps 33:10-11; Pr 19:21; Is 14:24; 31:2; 45:23; 46:9-11; 48:3; 55:11; Rm 11:29; Eph 1:11; 2Tm 2:13
o. 23:20 Sam, LXX read since I will bless
p. 23:21 Or not observe sin in Jacob; not see wrongdoing
q. 23:21 Gn 28:15; Nm 14:9; Dt 2:7; 20:1; Jos 1:17; Jdg 6:13; 2Ch 20:17; Ps 46:11; Is 8:10; 41:10; Jr 1:19; 15:20; Zph 3:17; Hg 2:4; Rv 21:3
r. 23:22 Or Egypt; they have the horns of a wild ox
s. 23:22 Nm 24:8
t. 23:24 Nm 24:9
u. 23:26 Nm 22:38
v. 23:28 Or overlooks Jeshimon
w. 23:28 Nm 21:20
x. 23:29 Nm 23:1-2
Numbers 22
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