Numbers 22:21-23:30 Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB)
21 When he got up in the morning, Balaam saddled his donkey and went with the officials of Moab.
Balaam’s Donkey and the Angel
22 But God was incensed that Balaam was going, and the Angel of the Lord took His stand on the path to oppose him. Balaam was riding his donkey, and his two servants were with him. 23 When the donkey saw the Angel of the Lord standing on the path with a drawn sword in His hand, she turned off the path and went into the field. So Balaam hit her to return her to the path. 24 Then the Angel of the Lord stood in a narrow passage between the vineyards, with a stone wall on either side. 25 The donkey saw the Angel of the Lord and pressed herself against the wall, squeezing Balaam’s foot against it. So he hit her once again. 26 The Angel of the Lord went ahead and stood in a narrow place where there was no room to turn to the right or the left. 27 When the donkey saw the Angel of the Lord, she crouched down under Balaam. So he became furious and beat the donkey with his stick.
28 Then the Lord opened the donkey’s mouth, and she asked Balaam, “What have I done to you that you have beaten me these three times?”
29 Balaam answered the donkey, “You made me look like a fool. If I had a sword in my hand, I’d kill you now!”
30 But the donkey said, “Am I not the donkey you’ve ridden all your life until today? Have I ever treated you this way before?”
“No,” he replied.
31 Then the Lord opened Balaam’s eyes, and he saw the Angel of the Lord standing in the path with a drawn sword in His hand. Balaam knelt and bowed with his face to the ground. 32 The Angel of the Lord asked him, “Why have you beaten your donkey these three times? Look, I came out to oppose you, because what you are doing is evil in My sight. 33 The donkey saw Me and turned away from Me these three times. If she had not turned away from Me, I would have killed you by now and let her live.”
34 Balaam said to the Angel of the Lord, “I have sinned, for I did not know that You were standing in the path to confront me. And now, if it is evil in Your sight, I will go back.”
35 Then the Angel of the Lord said to Balaam, “Go with the men, but you are to say only what I tell you.” So Balaam went with Balak’s officials.
36 When Balak heard that Balaam was coming, he went out to meet him at the Moabite city[a] on the Arnon border at the edge of his territory. 37 Balak asked Balaam, “Did I not send you an urgent summons? Why didn’t you come to me? Am I really not able to reward you?”
38 Balaam said to him, “Look, I have come to you, but can I say anything I want? I must speak only the message God puts in my mouth.” 39 So Balaam went with Balak, and they came to Kiriath-huzoth.[b] 40 Balak sacrificed cattle and sheep, and sent for Balaam and the officials who were with him.
41 In the morning, Balak took Balaam and brought him to Bamoth-baal.[c] From there he saw the outskirts of the people’s camp.
23 Then Balaam said to Balak, “Build me seven altars here and prepare seven bulls and seven rams for me.” 2 So Balak did as Balaam directed, and they offered a bull and a ram on each altar. 3 Balaam said to Balak, “Stay here by your burnt offering while I am gone. Maybe the Lord[d] will meet with me. I will tell you whatever He reveals to me.” So he went to a barren hill.
4 God[e] met with him and Balaam said to Him, “I have arranged seven altars and offered a bull and a ram on each altar.” 5 Then the Lord put a message in Balaam’s mouth and said, “Return to Balak and say what I tell you.”
6 So he returned to Balak, who was standing there by his burnt offering with all the officials of Moab.
Balaam’s First Oracle
7 Balaam proclaimed his poem:
Balak brought me from Aram;
11 “What have you done to me?” Balak asked Balaam. “I brought you to curse my enemies, but look, you have only blessed them!”
12 He answered, “Shouldn’t I say exactly what the Lord puts in my mouth?”
Balaam’s Second Oracle
13 Then 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; you won’t see all of them. From there, put a curse on them for me.” 14 So Balak took him to Lookout Field[g] on top of Pisgah, built seven altars, and offered a bull and a ram on each altar.
15 Balaam said to Balak, “Stay here by your burnt offering while I seek the Lord over there.”
16 The Lord met with Balaam and put a message in his mouth. Then He said, “Return to Balak and say what I tell you.”
17 So 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?”
18 Balaam proclaimed his poem:
Balak, get up and listen;
25 Then Balak told Balaam, “Don’t curse them and don’t bless them!”
26 But Balaam answered him, “Didn’t I tell you: Whatever the Lord says, I must do?”
Balaam’s Third Oracle
27 Again 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.” 28 So Balak took Balaam to the top of Peor, which overlooks the wasteland.[k]
29 Balaam told Balak, “Build me seven altars here and prepare seven bulls and seven rams for me.” 30 So Balak did as Balaam said and offered a bull and a ram on each altar.
Luke 1:57-80 Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB)
The Birth and Naming of John
57 Now the time had come for Elizabeth to give birth, and she had a son. 58 Then her neighbors and relatives heard that the Lord had shown her His great mercy,[a] and they rejoiced with her.
59 When they came to circumcise the child on the eighth day, they were going to name him Zechariah, after his father. 60 But his mother responded, “No! He will be called John.”
61 Then they said to her, “None of your relatives has that name.” 62 So they motioned to his father to find out what he wanted him to be called. 63 He asked for a writing tablet and wrote:
HIS NAME IS JOHN.
And they were all amazed. 64 Immediately his mouth was opened and his tongue set free, and he began to speak, praising God. 65 Fear came on all those who lived around them, and all these things were being talked about throughout the hill country of Judea. 66 All who heard about him took it to heart, saying, “What then will this child become?” For, indeed, the Lord’s hand was with him.
67 Then his father Zechariah was filled with the Holy Spirit and prophesied:
68 Praise the Lord, the God of Israel,
80 The child grew up and became spiritually strong, and he was in the wilderness until the day of his public appearance to Israel.
Psalm 58 Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB)
A Cry against Injustice
For the choir director: “Do Not Destroy.”[a] A Davidic Miktam.
1 Do you really speak righteously, you mighty ones?[b]
3 The wicked go astray from the womb;
6 God, knock the teeth out of their mouths;
9 Before your pots can feel the heat of the thorns—
Proverbs 11:12-13 Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB)
12 Whoever shows contempt for his neighbor lacks sense,
13 A gossip goes around revealing a secret,