Numbers 23
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Balaam’s First Oracle

1Then Balaam said to Balak, “Build me seven altars here, and prepare for me seven bulls and seven rams.” 2So Balak did as Balaam had directed, and Balak and Balaam offered a bull and a ram on each altar.

3“Stay here by your burnt offering while I am gone,” Balaam said to Balak. “Perhaps the LORD will meet with me. And whatever He reveals to me, I will tell you.”

So Balaam went off to a barren height, 4and God met with him. “I have set up seven altars,” Balaam said, “and on each altar I have offered a bull and a ram.”

5Then the LORD put a message in Balaam’s mouth, saying, “Return to Balak and give him this message.”

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

7And Balaam lifted up an oracle, saying:

“Balak brought me from Aram,

the king of Moab from the mountains of the east.

‘Come,’ he said, ‘put a curse on Jacob for me;

come and denounce Israel!’

8How can I curse what God has not cursed?

How can I denounce what the LORD has not denounced?

9For I see them from atop the rocky cliffs,

and I watch them from the hills.

Behold, a people dwelling apart,

who will not reckon themselves among the nations.

10Who can count the dust of Jacob

or number even a fourth of Israel?

Let me die the death of the righteous;

let my end be like theirs!”

11Then Balak said to Balaam, “What have you done to me? I brought you here to curse my enemies, and behold, you have only blessed them!”

12But Balaam replied, “Should I not speak exactly what the LORD puts in my mouth?”

Balaam’s Second Oracle

13Then Balak said to him, “Please come with me to another place where you can see them. You will only see the outskirts of their camp—not all of them. And from there, curse them for me.”

14So Balak took him to the field of Zophim, to the top of Pisgah, where he built seven altars and offered a bull and a ram on each altar.

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

16And the LORD met with Balaam and put a message in his mouth, saying, “Return to Balak and speak what I tell you.”

17So he returned to Balak, who was standing there by his burnt offering with the princes of Moab.

“What did the LORD say?” Balak asked.

18Then Balaam lifted up an oracle, saying:

“Arise, O Balak, and listen;

give ear to me, O son of Zippor.

19God is not a man, that He should lie,

or a son of man, that He should change His mind.

Does He speak and not act?

Does He promise and not fulfill?

20I have indeed received a command to bless;

He has blessed, and I cannot change it.

21He considers no disaster for Jacob;

He sees no trouble for Israel.

The LORD their God is with them,

and the shout of the King is among them.

22God brought them out of Egypt

with strength like a wild ox.

23For there is no spell against Jacob

and no divination against Israel.

It will now be said of Jacob and Israel,

‘What great things God has done!’

24Behold, the people rise like a lioness;

they rouse themselves like a lion,

not resting until they devour their prey

and drink the blood of the slain.”

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

26But Balaam replied, “Did I not tell you that whatever the LORD says, I must do?”

27“Please come,” said Balak, “I will take you to another place. Perhaps it will please God that you curse them for me from there.”

28And Balak took Balaam to the top of Peor, which overlooks the wasteland.a

29“Build me seven altars here,” Balaam said, “and prepare for me seven bulls and seven rams.”

30So Balak did as Balaam had instructed, and he offered a bull and a ram on each altar.

Footnotes:

28 a Or Jeshimon

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