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Numbers 24-25 Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB)

24 Since Balaam saw that it pleased the Lord to bless Israel, he did not go to seek omens as on previous occasions, but turned[a] toward the wilderness. When Balaam looked up and saw Israel encamped tribe by tribe, the Spirit of God came on him, and he proclaimed his poem:

The oracle of Balaam son of Beor,
the oracle of the man whose eyes are opened,[b]
the oracle of one who hears the sayings of God,
who sees a vision from the Almighty,
who falls into a trance with his eyes uncovered:
How beautiful are your tents, Jacob,
your dwellings, Israel.
They stretch out like river valleys,[c]
like gardens beside a stream,
like aloes the Lord has planted,
like cedars beside the water.
Water will flow from his buckets,
and his seed will be by abundant water.
His king will be greater than Agag,[d]
and his kingdom will be exalted.
God brought him out of Egypt;
He is like[e] the horns of a wild ox for them.
He will feed on enemy nations
and gnaw their bones;
he will strike them with his arrows.
He crouches, he lies down like a lion
or a lioness—who dares to rouse him?
Those who bless you will be blessed,
and those who curse you will be cursed.

10 Then Balak became furious with Balaam, struck his hands together, and said to him, “I summoned you to put a curse on my enemies, but instead, you have blessed them these three times. 11 Now go to your home! I said I would reward you richly, but look, the Lord has denied you a reward.”

12 Balaam answered Balak, “Didn’t I previously tell the messengers you sent me: 13 If Balak were to give me his house full of silver and gold, I could not go against the Lord’s command, to do anything good or bad of my own will? I will say whatever the Lord says. 14 Now I am going back to my people, but first, let me warn you what these people will do to your people in the future.”

Balaam’s Fourth Oracle

15 Then he proclaimed his poem:

The oracle of Balaam son of Beor,
the oracle of the man whose eyes are opened;[f]
16 the oracle of one who hears the sayings of God
and has knowledge from the Most High,
who sees a vision from the Almighty,
who falls into a trance with his eyes uncovered:
17 I see him,[g] but not now;
I perceive him,[h] but not near.
A star will come from Jacob,
and a scepter will arise from Israel.
He will smash the forehead[i] of Moab
and strike down[j] all the Shethites.[k]
18 Edom will become a possession;
Seir will become a possession of its enemies,
but Israel will be triumphant.
19 One who comes from Jacob will rule;
he will destroy the city’s survivors.

20 Then Balaam saw Amalek and proclaimed his poem:

Amalek was first among the nations,
but his future is destruction.

21 Next he saw the Kenites and proclaimed his poem:

Your dwelling place is enduring;
your nest is set in the cliffs.
22 Kain will be destroyed
when Asshur takes you captive.

23 Once more he proclaimed his poem:

Ah, who can live when God does this?
24 Ships will come from the coast of Kittim;
they will afflict Asshur and Eber,
but they too will come to destruction.

25 Balaam then arose and went back to his homeland, and Balak also went his way.

Israel Worships Baal

25 While Israel was staying in the Acacia Grove,[l] the people began to have sexual relations with the women of Moab. The women invited them to the sacrifices for their gods, and the people ate and bowed in worship to their gods. So Israel aligned itself with Baal of Peor, and the Lord’s anger burned against Israel. The Lord said to Moses, “Take all the leaders of the people and execute[m] them in broad daylight before the Lord so that His burning anger may turn away from Israel.”

So Moses told Israel’s judges, “Kill each of the men who aligned themselves with Baal of Peor.”

Phinehas Intervenes

An Israelite man came bringing a Midianite woman to his relatives in the sight of Moses and the whole Israelite community while they were weeping at the entrance to the tent of meeting. When Phinehas son of Eleazar, son of Aaron the priest, saw this, he got up from the assembly, took a spear in his hand, followed the Israelite man into the tent,[n] and drove it through both the Israelite man and the woman—through her belly. Then the plague on the Israelites was stopped, but those who died in the plague numbered 24,000.

10 The Lord spoke to Moses, 11 “Phinehas son of Eleazar, son of Aaron the priest, has turned back My wrath from the Israelites because he was zealous among them with My zeal,[o] so that I did not destroy the Israelites in My zeal. 12 Therefore declare: I grant him My covenant of peace. 13 It will be a covenant of perpetual priesthood for him and his future descendants, because he was zealous for his God and made atonement for the Israelites.”

14 The name of the slain Israelite man, who was struck dead with the Midianite woman, was Zimri son of Salu, the leader of a Simeonite ancestral house. 15 The name of the slain Midianite woman was Cozbi, the daughter of Zur, a tribal head of an ancestral house in Midian.

Vengeance against the Midianites

16 The Lord told Moses: 17 “Attack the Midianites and strike them dead. 18 For they attacked you with the treachery that they used against you in the Peor incident. They did the same in the case involving their sister Cozbi, daughter of the Midianite leader who was killed the day the plague came at Peor.”


  1. Numbers 24:1 Lit set his face
  2. Numbers 24:3 LXX reads true; Vg reads closed
  3. Numbers 24:6 Or like date palms
  4. Numbers 24:7 Sam, LXX, Sym, Theod read Gog
  5. Numbers 24:8 Or He has
  6. Numbers 24:15 LXX reads true; Vg reads closed
  7. Numbers 24:17 Or Him
  8. Numbers 24:17 Or Him
  9. Numbers 24:17 Or frontiers
  10. Numbers 24:17 Sam reads and the skulls of; Jr 48:45
  11. Numbers 24:17 Or Sethites
  12. Numbers 25:1 Or in Shittim
  13. Numbers 25:4 Or impale, or hang, or expose; Hb obscure
  14. Numbers 25:8 Perhaps a tent shrine or bridal tent
  15. Numbers 25:11 Or jealousy

Luke 2:1-35 Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB)

The Birth of Jesus

In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus[a] that the whole empire[b] should be registered. This first registration took place while[c] Quirinius was governing Syria. So everyone went to be registered, each to his own town.

And Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and family line of David, to be registered along with Mary, who was engaged to him[d] and was pregnant. While they were there, the time came for her to give birth. Then she gave birth to her firstborn Son, and she wrapped Him snugly in cloth and laid Him in a feeding trough—because there was no room for them at the lodging place.

The Shepherds and the Angels

In the same region, shepherds were staying out in the fields and keeping watch at night over their flock. Then an angel of the Lord stood before[e] them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified.[f] 10 But the angel said to them, “Don’t be afraid, for look, I proclaim to you good news of great joy that will be for all the people:[g] 11 Today a Savior, who is Messiah the Lord, was born for you in the city of David. 12 This will be the sign for you: You will find a baby wrapped snugly in cloth and lying in a feeding trough.”

13 Suddenly there was a multitude of the heavenly host with the angel, praising God and saying:

14 Glory to God in the highest heaven,
and peace on earth to people He favors![h][i]

15 When the angels had left them and returned to heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go straight to Bethlehem and see what has happened, which the Lord has made known to us.”

16 They hurried off and found both Mary and Joseph, and the baby who was lying in the feeding trough. 17 After seeing them, they reported the message they were told about this child, 18 and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. 19 But Mary was treasuring up all these things[j] in her heart and meditating on them. 20 The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had seen and heard, just as they had been told.

The Circumcision and Presentation of Jesus

21 When the eight days were completed for His circumcision, He was named Jesus—the name given by the angel before He was conceived.[k] 22 And when the days of their purification according to the law of Moses were finished, they brought Him up to Jerusalem to present Him to the Lord 23 (just as it is written in the law of the Lord: Every firstborn male[l] will be dedicated[m] to the Lord[n]) 24 and to offer a sacrifice (according to what is stated in the law of the Lord: a pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons[o]).

Simeon’s Prophetic Praise

25 There was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon. This man was righteous and devout, looking forward to Israel’s consolation,[p] and the Holy Spirit was on him. 26 It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he saw the Lord’s Messiah. 27 Guided by the Spirit, he entered[q] the temple complex. When the parents brought in the child Jesus to perform for Him what was customary under the law, 28 Simeon took Him up in his arms, praised God, and said:

29 Now, Master,
You can dismiss Your slave in peace,
as You promised.
30 For my eyes have seen Your salvation.
31 You have prepared it
in the presence of all peoples—
32 a light for revelation to the Gentiles[r]
and glory to Your people Israel.

33 His father and mother[s] were amazed at what was being said about Him. 34 Then Simeon blessed them and told His mother Mary: “Indeed, this child is destined to cause the fall and rise of many in Israel and to be a sign that will be opposed[t] 35 and a sword will pierce your own soul—that the thoughts[u] of many hearts may be revealed.”


  1. Luke 2:1 Emperor who ruled the Roman Empire 27 b.c.–a.d. 14; also known as Octavian, he established the peaceful era known as the Pax Romana; Caesar was a title of Roman emperors.
  2. Luke 2:1 Or the whole inhabited world
  3. Luke 2:2 Or This registration was the first while, or This registration was before
  4. Luke 2:5 Other mss read was his engaged wife
  5. Luke 2:9 Or Lord appeared to
  6. Luke 2:9 Lit they feared a great fear
  7. Luke 2:10 Or the whole nation
  8. Luke 2:14 Other mss read earth good will to people
  9. Luke 2:14 Or earth to men of good will
  10. Luke 2:19 Lit these words
  11. Luke 2:21 Or conceived in the womb
  12. Luke 2:23 Lit “Every male that opens a womb
  13. Luke 2:23 Lit be called holy
  14. Luke 2:23 Ex 13:2,12
  15. Luke 2:24 Lv 5:11; 12:8
  16. Luke 2:25 The coming of the Messiah with His salvation for the nation; Is 40:1; 61:2; Lk 2:26,30
  17. Luke 2:27 Lit And in the Spirit, he came into
  18. Luke 2:32 Or the nations
  19. Luke 2:33 Other mss read But Joseph and His mother
  20. Luke 2:34 Or spoken against
  21. Luke 2:35 Or schemes

Psalm 59 Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB)

Psalm 59

God Our Stronghold

For the choir director: “Do Not Destroy.”[a] A Davidic Miktam. When Saul sent agents to watch the house and kill him.

Deliver me from my enemies, my God;
protect me from those who rise up against me.
Deliver me from those who practice sin,
and save me from men of bloodshed.
Lord, look! They set an ambush for me.
Powerful men attack me,
but not because of any sin or rebellion of mine.
For no fault of mine,
they run and take up a position.
Awake to help me, and take notice.
Lord God of Hosts, You are the God of Israel,
rise up to punish all the nations;
do not show grace to any wicked traitors.Selah

They return at evening, snarling like dogs
and prowling around the city.
Look, they spew from their mouths—
sharp words from[b] their lips.
“For who,” they say, “will hear?”
But You laugh at them, Lord;
You ridicule all the nations.
I will keep watch for You, my[c] strength,
because God is my stronghold.
10 My faithful God[d] will come to meet me;
God will let me look down on my adversaries.

11 Do not kill them; otherwise, my people will forget.
By Your power, make them homeless wanderers
and bring them down,
Lord, our shield.
12 For the sin of their mouths and the words of their lips,
let them be caught in their pride.
They utter curses and lies.
13 Consume them in rage;
consume them until they are gone.
Then people will know throughout[e] the earth
that God rules over Jacob.Selah

14 And they return at evening, snarling like dogs
and prowling around the city.
15 They scavenge for food;
they growl if they are not satisfied.

16 But I will sing of Your strength
and will joyfully proclaim
Your faithful love in the morning.
For You have been a stronghold for me,
a refuge in my day of trouble.
17 To You, my strength, I sing praises,
because God is my stronghold—
my faithful God.


  1. Psalm 59:1 Possibly a tune
  2. Psalm 59:7 Lit swords are on
  3. Psalm 59:9 Some Hb mss, LXX, Vg, Tg; other Hb mss read his
  4. Psalm 59:10 Alt Hb tradition reads My God in His faithful love
  5. Psalm 59:13 Lit know to the ends of

Proverbs 11:14 Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB)

14 Without guidance, people fall,
but with many counselors there is deliverance.

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