Numbers 23
New International Version

Balaam’s First Message

1Balaam said, “Build me seven altars here, and prepare seven bulls and seven rams for me.” 2Balak did as Balaam said, and the two of them offered a bull and a ram on each altar.

3Then Balaam said to Balak, “Stay here beside your offering while I go aside. Perhaps the Lord will come to meet with me. Whatever he reveals to me I will tell you.” Then he went off to a barren height.

4God met with him, and Balaam said, “I have prepared seven altars, and on each altar I have offered a bull and a ram.”

5The Lord put a word in Balaam’s mouth and said, “Go back to Balak and give him this word.”

6So he went back to him and found him standing beside his offering, with all the Moabite officials. 7Then Balaam spoke his message:

“Balak brought me from Aram,

the king of Moab from the eastern mountains.

‘Come,’ he said, ‘curse Jacob for me;

come, denounce Israel.’

8How can I curse

those whom God has not cursed?

How can I denounce

those whom the Lord has not denounced?

9From the rocky peaks I see them,

from the heights I view them.

I see a people who live apart

and do not consider themselves one of the nations.

10Who can count the dust of Jacob

or number even a fourth of Israel?

Let me die the death of the righteous,

and may my final end be like theirs!”

11Balak said to Balaam, “What have you done to me? I brought you to curse my enemies, but you have done nothing but bless them!”

12He answered, “Must I not speak what the Lord puts in my mouth?”

Balaam’s Second Message

13Then Balak said to him, “Come with me to another place where you can see them; you will not see them all but only the outskirts of their camp. And from there, curse them for me.” 14So he took him to the field of Zophim on the top of Pisgah, and there he built seven altars and offered a bull and a ram on each altar.

15Balaam said to Balak, “Stay here beside your offering while I meet with him over there.”

16The Lord met with Balaam and put a word in his mouth and said, “Go back to Balak and give him this word.”

17So he went to him and found him standing beside his offering, with the Moabite officials. Balak asked him, “What did the Lord say?”

18Then he spoke his message:

“Arise, Balak, and listen;

hear me, son of Zippor.

19God is not human, that he should lie,

not a human being, that he should change his mind.

Does he speak and then not act?

Does he promise and not fulfill?

20I have received a command to bless;

he has blessed, and I cannot change it.

21“No misfortune is seen in Jacob,

no misery observeda in Israel.

The Lord their God is with them;

the shout of the King is among them.

22God brought them out of Egypt;

they have the strength of a wild ox.

23There is no divination againstb Jacob,

no evil omens againstc Israel.

It will now be said of Jacob

and of Israel, ‘See what God has done!’

24The people rise like a lioness;

they rouse themselves like a lion

that does not rest till it devours its prey

and drinks the blood of its victims.”

25Then Balak said to Balaam, “Neither curse them at all nor bless them at all!”

26Balaam answered, “Did I not tell you I must do whatever the Lord says?”

Balaam’s Third Message

27Then Balak said to Balaam, “Come, let me take you to another place. Perhaps it will please God to let you curse them for me from there.” 28And Balak took Balaam to the top of Peor, overlooking the wasteland.

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


Footnotes:
a 21 Or He has not looked on Jacob’s offenses
     or on the wrongs found

b 23 Or in
c 23 Or in

New International Version (NIV)

Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.



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