Numbers 23:8
Parallel Verses
New International Version
How can I curse those whom God has not cursed? How can I denounce those whom the LORD has not denounced?

New Living Translation
But how can I curse those whom God has not cursed? How can I condemn those whom the LORD has not condemned?

English Standard Version
How can I curse whom God has not cursed? How can I denounce whom the LORD has not denounced?

New American Standard Bible
"How shall I curse whom God has not cursed? And how can I denounce whom the LORD has not denounced?

King James Bible
How shall I curse, whom God hath not cursed? or how shall I defy, whom the LORD hath not defied?

Holman Christian Standard Bible
How can I curse someone God has not cursed? How can I denounce someone the LORD has not denounced?

International Standard Version
But how can I curse those whom God hasn't cursed? How can I denounce those whom the LORD hasn't denounced?

NET Bible
How can I curse one whom God has not cursed, or how can I denounce one whom the LORD has not denounced?

GOD'S WORD® Translation
How can I curse those whom God hasn't cursed? How can I condemn those whom the LORD hasn't condemned?

Jubilee Bible 2000
Why should I curse one whom God has not cursed? And why should I denounce one whom the LORD has not denounced?

King James 2000 Bible
How shall I curse, whom God has not cursed? or how shall I denounce, whom the LORD has not denounced?

American King James Version
How shall I curse, whom God has not cursed? or how shall I defy, whom the LORD has not defied?

American Standard Version
How shall I curse, whom God hath not cursed? And how shall I defy, whom Jehovah hath not defied?

Douay-Rheims Bible
How shall I curse him, whom God hath not cursed? By what means should I detest him, whom the Lord detesteth not?

Darby Bible Translation
How shall I curse whom God hath not cursed? or how shall I denounce whom Jehovah doth not denounce?

English Revised Version
How shall I curse, whom God hath not cursed? And how shall I defy, whom the LORD hath not defied?

Webster's Bible Translation
How shall I curse, whom God hath not cursed? or how shall I defy, whom the LORD hath not defied?

World English Bible
How shall I curse whom God has not cursed? How shall I defy whom Yahweh has not defied?

Young's Literal Translation
What -- do I pierce? -- God hath not pierced! And what -- am I indignant? -- Jehovah hath not been indignant!
Parallel Commentaries
Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary

23:1-10 With the camps of Israel full in view, Balaam ordered seven altars to be built, and a bullock and a ram to be offered on each. Oh the sottishness of superstition, to imagine that God will be at man's beck! The curse is turned into a blessing, by the overruling power of God, in love to Israel. God designed to serve his own glory by Balaam, and therefore met him. If God put a word into the mouth of Balaam, who would have defied God and Israel, surely he will not be wanting to those who desire to glorify God, and to edify his people; it shall be given what they should speak. He who opened the mouth of the ass, caused the mouth of this wicked man to speak words as contrary to the desire of his heart, as those of the ass were to the powers of the brute. The miracle was as great in the one case as in the other. Balaam pronounces Israel safe. He owns he could do no more than God suffered him to do. He pronounces them happy in their distinction from the rest of the nations. Happy in their numbers, which made them both honourable and formidable. Happy in their last end. Death is the end of all men; even the righteous must die, and it is good for us to think of this with regard to ourselves, as Balaam does here, speaking of his own death. He pronounces the righteous truly blessed, not only while they live, but when they die; which makes their death even more desirable than life itself. But there are many who desire to die the death of the righteous, but do not endeavour to live the life of the righteous; gladly would they have an end like theirs, but not a way like theirs. They would be saints in heaven, but not saints on earth. This saying of Balaam's is only a wish, not a prayer; it is a vain wish, being only a wish for the end, without any care for the means. Many seek to quiet their consciences with the promise of future amendment, or take up with some false hope, while they neglect the only way of salvation, by which a sinner can be righteous before God.

Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible

How shall I curse whom God hath not cursed?.... The sense is, that it was impossible for him to curse those that God did not curse himself, or would not have cursed by others; not but that he had a good will to it, to get Balak's money and honour, but he knew not how to accomplish it; yea, he saw it was in vain to attempt it, it was a thing that could not possibly be done: God does not, nor will he curse his spiritual Israel; they are blessed by him in Christ, and they shall be blessed; nor is it in the power of their enemies to curse them, or do them any harm: the Targums of Jonathan and Jerusalem, instead of God and the Lord in this and the following clause, use the phase,"the Word of the Lord;''the essential Word, the Son of God, who is so far from cursing his people, that he has delivered them from the curses of the law, being made a curse for them, that the blessings of the everlasting covenant of grace might come upon them; and they are blessed of God in him, and for his sake, with all spiritual blessings:

or how shall I defy whom the Lord hath not defied? which is the same thing in other words, only this last word is expressive of more contempt and indignation.

Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary

8. How shall I curse, whom God hath not cursed?—A divine blessing has been pronounced over the posterity of Jacob; and therefore, whatever prodigies can be achieved by my charms, all magical skill, all human power, is utterly impotent to counteract the decree of God.

Numbers 23:8 Additional Commentaries
Context
Balaam's First Oracle
7He took up his discourse and said, "From Aram Balak has brought me, Moab's king from the mountains of the East, 'Come curse Jacob for me, And come, denounce Israel!' 8"How shall I curse whom God has not cursed? And how can I denounce whom the LORD has not denounced? 9"As I see him from the top of the rocks, And I look at him from the hills; Behold, a people who dwells apart, And will not be reckoned among the nations.…
Cross References
Numbers 22:6
Now come and put a curse on these people, because they are too powerful for me. Perhaps then I will be able to defeat them and drive them out of the land. For I know that whoever you bless is blessed, and whoever you curse is cursed."

Numbers 22:12
But God said to Balaam, "Do not go with them. You must not put a curse on those people, because they are blessed."

Numbers 23:7
Then 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.'

Proverbs 26:2
Like a fluttering sparrow or a darting swallow, an undeserved curse does not come to rest.
Treasury of Scripture

How shall I curse, whom God has not cursed? or how shall I defy, whom the LORD has not defied?

Numbers 23:20,23 Behold, I have received commandment to bless: and he has blessed; …

Isaiah 44:25 That frustrates the tokens of the liars, and makes diviners mad; …

Isaiah 47:12,13 Stand now with your enchantments, and with the multitude of your …

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