Good News Translation
1He said to Balak, “Build seven altars here for me, and bring me seven bulls and seven rams.”
2Balak did as he was told, and he and Balaam offered a bull and a ram on each altar. 3Then Balaam said to Balak, “Stand here by your burnt offering, while I go to see whether or not the Lord will meet me. I will tell you whatever he reveals to me.” So he went alone to the top of a hill, 4and God met him. Balaam said to him, “I have built the seven altars and offered a bull and a ram on each.”
5The Lord told Balaam what to say and sent him back to Balak to give him his message. 6So he went back and found Balak still standing by his burnt offering with all the leaders of Moab.
7Balaam uttered this prophecy:
“Balak king of Moab has brought me
From Syria, from the eastern mountains.
‘Come speak for me,’ he said.
‘Put a curse on the people of Israel.’
8How can I curse what God has not cursed,
Or speak of doom when the Lord has not?
9From the high rocks I can see them;
I can watch them from the hills.
They are a nation that lives alone;
They know they are blessed more than other nations.
10The descendants of Israel are like the dust—
There are too many of them to be counted.
Let me end my days like one of God's people;
Let me die in peace like the righteous.”
11Then Balak said to Balaam, “What have you done to me? I brought you here to curse my enemies, but all you have done is bless them.”
12He answered, “I can say only what the Lord tells me to say.”
Balaam's Second Prophecy
13Then Balak said to Balaam, “Come with me to another place from which you can see only some of the Israelites. Curse them for me from there.” 14He took him to the field of Zophim on the top of Mount Pisgah. There also he built seven altars and offered a bull and a ram on each of them.
15Balaam said to Balak, “Stand here by your burnt offering, and I will meet God over there.”
16The Lord met Balaam, told him what to say, and sent him back to Balak to give him his message. 17So he went back and found Balak still standing by his burnt offering, with the leaders of Moab. Balak asked what the Lord had said, 18and Balaam uttered this prophecy:
“Come, Balak son of Zippor,
And listen to what I have to say.
19God is not like people, who lie;
He is not a human who changes his mind.
Whatever he promises, he does;
He speaks, and it is done.
20I have been instructed to bless,
And when God blesses, I cannot call it back.
21I foresee that Israel's future
Will bring her no misfortune or trouble.
The Lord their God is with them;
They proclaim that he is their king.
22God has brought them out of Egypt;
He fights for them like a wild ox.
23There is no magic charm, no witchcraft,
That can be used against the nation of Israel.+
Now people will say about Israel,
‘Look what God has done!’
24The nation of Israel is like a mighty lion:
It doesn't rest until it has torn and devoured,
Until it has drunk the blood of those it has killed.”
25Then Balak said to Balaam, “You refuse to curse the people of Israel, but at least don't bless them!”
26Balaam answered, “Didn't I tell you that I had to do everything that the Lord told me?”
Balaam's Third Prophecy
27Balak said, “Come with me, and I will take you to another place. Perhaps God will be willing to let you curse them for me from there.” 28So he took Balaam to the top of Mount Peor overlooking the desert. 29Balaam said to him, “Build seven altars for me here and bring me seven bulls and seven rams.” 30Balak did as he was told, and offered a bull and a ram on each altar.
Good News Translation® (Today’s English Version, Second Edition)
© 1992 American Bible Society. All rights reserved.
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