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Numbers 22-23New Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition (NRSVCE)

Balak Summons Balaam to Curse Israel

22 The Israelites set out, and camped in the plains of Moab across the Jordan from Jericho. Now Balak son of Zippor saw all that Israel had done to the Amorites. Moab was in great dread of the people, because they were so numerous; Moab was overcome with fear of the people of Israel. And Moab said to the elders of Midian, “This horde will now lick up all that is around us, as an ox licks up the grass of the field.” Now Balak son of Zippor was king of Moab at that time. He sent messengers to Balaam son of Beor at Pethor, which is on the Euphrates, in the land of Amaw,[a] to summon him, saying, “A people has come out of Egypt; they have spread over the face of the earth, and they have settled next to me. Come now, curse this people for me, since they are stronger than I; perhaps I shall be able to defeat them and drive them from the land; for I know that whomever you bless is blessed, and whomever you curse is cursed.”

So the elders of Moab and the elders of Midian departed with the fees for divination in their hand; and they came to Balaam, and gave him Balak’s message. He said to them, “Stay here tonight, and I will bring back word to you, just as the Lord speaks to me”; so the officials of Moab stayed with Balaam. God came to Balaam and said, “Who are these men with you?” 10 Balaam said to God, “King Balak son of Zippor of Moab, has sent me this message: 11 ‘A people has come out of Egypt and has spread over the face of the earth; now come, curse them for me; perhaps I shall be able to fight against them and drive them out.’” 12 God said to Balaam, “You shall not go with them; you shall not curse the people, for they are blessed.” 13 So Balaam rose in the morning, and said to the officials of Balak, “Go to your own land, for the Lord has refused to let me go with you.” 14 So the officials of Moab rose and went to Balak, and said, “Balaam refuses to come with us.”

15 Once again Balak sent officials, more numerous and more distinguished than these. 16 They came to Balaam and said to him, “Thus says Balak son of Zippor: ‘Do not let anything hinder you from coming to me; 17 for I will surely do you great honor, and whatever you say to me I will do; come, curse this people for me.’” 18 But Balaam replied to the servants of Balak, “Although Balak were to give me his house full of silver and gold, I could not go beyond the command of the Lord my God, to do less or more. 19 You remain here, as the others did, so that I may learn what more the Lord may say to me.” 20 That night God came to Balaam and said to him, “If the men have come to summon you, get up and go with them; but do only what I tell you to do.” 21 So Balaam got up in the morning, saddled his donkey, and went with the officials of Moab.

Balaam, the Donkey, and the Angel

22 God’s anger was kindled because he was going, and the angel of the Lord took his stand in the road as his adversary. Now he was riding on the donkey, and his two servants were with him. 23 The donkey saw the angel of the Lord standing in the road, with a drawn sword in his hand; so the donkey turned off the road, and went into the field; and Balaam struck the donkey, to turn it back onto the road. 24 Then the angel of the Lord stood in a narrow path between the vineyards, with a wall on either side. 25 When the donkey saw the angel of the Lord, it scraped against the wall, and scraped Balaam’s foot against the wall; so he struck it again. 26 Then the angel of the Lord went ahead, and stood in a narrow place, where there was no way to turn either to the right or to the left. 27 When the donkey saw the angel of the Lord, it lay down under Balaam; and Balaam’s anger was kindled, and he struck the donkey with his staff. 28 Then the Lord opened the mouth of the donkey, and it said to Balaam, “What have I done to you, that you have struck me these three times?” 29 Balaam said to the donkey, “Because you have made a fool of me! I wish I had a sword in my hand! I would kill you right now!” 30 But the donkey said to Balaam, “Am I not your donkey, which you have ridden all your life to this day? Have I been in the habit of treating you this way?” And he said, “No.”

31 Then the Lord opened the eyes of Balaam, and he saw the angel of the Lord standing in the road, with his drawn sword in his hand; and he bowed down, falling on his face. 32 The angel of the Lord said to him, “Why have you struck your donkey these three times? I have come out as an adversary, because your way is perverse[b] before me. 33 The donkey saw me, and turned away from me these three times. If it had not turned away from me, surely just now I would have killed you and let it live.” 34 Then Balaam said to the angel of the Lord, “I have sinned, for I did not know that you were standing in the road to oppose me. Now therefore, if it is displeasing to you, I will return home.” 35 The angel of the Lord said to Balaam, “Go with the men; but speak only what I tell you to speak.” So Balaam went on with the officials of Balak.

36 When Balak heard that Balaam had come, he went out to meet him at Ir-moab, on the boundary formed by the Arnon, at the farthest point of the boundary. 37 Balak said to Balaam, “Did I not send to summon you? Why did you not come to me? Am I not able to honor you?” 38 Balaam said to Balak, “I have come to you now, but do I have power to say just anything? The word God puts in my mouth, that is what I must say.” 39 Then Balaam went with Balak, and they came to Kiriath-huzoth. 40 Balak sacrificed oxen and sheep, and sent them to Balaam and to the officials who were with him.

Balaam’s First Oracle

41 On the next day Balak took Balaam and brought him up to Bamoth-baal; and from there he could see part of the people of Israel.[c] 23 Then Balaam said to Balak, “Build me seven altars here, and prepare seven bulls and seven rams for me.” Balak did as Balaam had said; and Balak and Balaam offered a bull and a ram on each altar. Then Balaam said to Balak, “Stay here beside your burnt offerings while I go aside. Perhaps the Lord will come to meet me. Whatever he shows me I will tell you.” And he went to a bare height.

Then God met Balaam; and Balaam said to him, “I have arranged the seven altars, and have offered a bull and a ram on each altar.” The Lord put a word in Balaam’s mouth, and said, “Return to Balak, and this is what you must say.” So he returned to Balak,[d] who was standing beside his burnt offerings with all the officials of Moab. Then Balaam[e] uttered his oracle, saying:

“Balak has brought me from Aram,
    the king of Moab from the eastern mountains:
‘Come, curse Jacob for me;
    Come, denounce Israel!’
How can I curse whom God has not cursed?
    How can I denounce those whom the Lord has not denounced?
For from the top of the crags I see him,
    from the hills I behold him.
Here is a people living alone,
    and not reckoning itself among the nations!
10 Who can count the dust of Jacob,
    or number the dust-cloud[f] of Israel?
Let me die the death of the upright,
    and let my end be like his!”

11 Then Balak said to Balaam, “What have you done to me? I brought you to curse my enemies, but now you have done nothing but bless them.” 12 He answered, “Must I not take care to say what the Lord puts into my mouth?”

Balaam’s Second Oracle

13 So Balak said to him, “Come with me to another place from which you may see them; you shall see only part of them, and shall not see them all; then curse them for me from there.” 14 So he took him to the field of Zophim, to the top of Pisgah. He built seven altars, and offered a bull and a ram on each altar. 15 Balaam said to Balak, “Stand here beside your burnt offerings, while I meet the Lord over there.” 16 The Lord met Balaam, put a word into his mouth, and said, “Return to Balak, and this is what you shall say.” 17 When he came to him, he was standing beside his burnt offerings with the officials of Moab. Balak said to him, “What has the Lord said?” 18 Then Balaam uttered his oracle, saying:

“Rise, Balak, and hear;
    listen to me, O son of Zippor:
19 God is not a human being, that he should lie,
    or a mortal, that he should change his mind.
Has he promised, and will he not do it?
    Has he spoken, and will he not fulfill it?
20 See, I received a command to bless;
    he has blessed, and I cannot revoke it.
21 He has not beheld misfortune in Jacob;
    nor has he seen trouble in Israel.
The Lord their God is with them,
    acclaimed as a king among them.
22 God, who brings them out of Egypt,
    is like the horns of a wild ox for them.
23 Surely there is no enchantment against Jacob,
    no divination against Israel;
now it shall be said of Jacob and Israel,
    ‘See what God has done!’
24 Look, a people rising up like a lioness,
    and rousing itself like a lion!
It does not lie down until it has eaten the prey
    and drunk the blood of the slain.”

25 Then Balak said to Balaam, “Do not curse them at all, and do not bless them at all.” 26 But Balaam answered Balak, “Did I not tell you, ‘Whatever the Lord says, that is what I must do’?”

27 So Balak said to Balaam, “Come now, I will take you to another place; perhaps it will please God that you may curse them for me from there.” 28 So Balak took Balaam to the top of Peor, which overlooks the wasteland.[g] 29 Balaam said to Balak, “Build me seven altars here, and prepare seven bulls and seven rams for me.” 30 So Balak did as Balaam had said, and offered a bull and a ram on each altar.

Footnotes:

  1. Numbers 22:5 Or land of his kinsfolk
  2. Numbers 22:32 Meaning of Heb uncertain
  3. Numbers 22:41 Heb lacks of Israel
  4. Numbers 23:6 Heb him
  5. Numbers 23:7 Heb he
  6. Numbers 23:10 Or fourth part
  7. Numbers 23:28 Or overlooks Jeshimon
New Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition (NRSVCE)

New Revised Standard Version Bible: Catholic Edition, copyright © 1989, 1993 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Psalm 80New Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition (NRSVCE)

Psalm 80

Prayer for Israel’s Restoration

To the leader: on Lilies, a Covenant. Of Asaph. A Psalm.

Give ear, O Shepherd of Israel,
    you who lead Joseph like a flock!
You who are enthroned upon the cherubim, shine forth
    before Ephraim and Benjamin and Manasseh.
Stir up your might,
    and come to save us!

Restore us, O God;
    let your face shine, that we may be saved.

O Lord God of hosts,
    how long will you be angry with your people’s prayers?
You have fed them with the bread of tears,
    and given them tears to drink in full measure.
You make us the scorn[a] of our neighbors;
    our enemies laugh among themselves.

Restore us, O God of hosts;
    let your face shine, that we may be saved.

You brought a vine out of Egypt;
    you drove out the nations and planted it.
You cleared the ground for it;
    it took deep root and filled the land.
10 The mountains were covered with its shade,
    the mighty cedars with its branches;
11 it sent out its branches to the sea,
    and its shoots to the River.
12 Why then have you broken down its walls,
    so that all who pass along the way pluck its fruit?
13 The boar from the forest ravages it,
    and all that move in the field feed on it.

14 Turn again, O God of hosts;
    look down from heaven, and see;
have regard for this vine,
15     the stock that your right hand planted.[b]
16 They have burned it with fire, they have cut it down;[c]
    may they perish at the rebuke of your countenance.
17 But let your hand be upon the one at your right hand,
    the one whom you made strong for yourself.
18 Then we will never turn back from you;
    give us life, and we will call on your name.

19 Restore us, O Lord God of hosts;
    let your face shine, that we may be saved.

Footnotes:

  1. Psalm 80:6 Syr: Heb strife
  2. Psalm 80:15 Heb adds from verse 17 and upon the one whom you made strong for yourself
  3. Psalm 80:16 Cn: Heb it is cut down
New Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition (NRSVCE)

New Revised Standard Version Bible: Catholic Edition, copyright © 1989, 1993 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Acts 15:22-41New Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition (NRSVCE)

The Council’s Letter to Gentile Believers

22 Then the apostles and the elders, with the consent of the whole church, decided to choose men from among their members[a] and to send them to Antioch with Paul and Barnabas. They sent Judas called Barsabbas, and Silas, leaders among the brothers, 23 with the following letter: “The brothers, both the apostles and the elders, to the believers[b] of Gentile origin in Antioch and Syria and Cilicia, greetings. 24 Since we have heard that certain persons who have gone out from us, though with no instructions from us, have said things to disturb you and have unsettled your minds,[c] 25 we have decided unanimously to choose representatives[d] and send them to you, along with our beloved Barnabas and Paul, 26 who have risked their lives for the sake of our Lord Jesus Christ. 27 We have therefore sent Judas and Silas, who themselves will tell you the same things by word of mouth. 28 For it has seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us to impose on you no further burden than these essentials: 29 that you abstain from what has been sacrificed to idols and from blood and from what is strangled[e] and from fornication. If you keep yourselves from these, you will do well. Farewell.”

30 So they were sent off and went down to Antioch. When they gathered the congregation together, they delivered the letter. 31 When its members[f] read it, they rejoiced at the exhortation. 32 Judas and Silas, who were themselves prophets, said much to encourage and strengthen the believers.[g] 33 After they had been there for some time, they were sent off in peace by the believers[h] to those who had sent them.[i] 35 But Paul and Barnabas remained in Antioch, and there, with many others, they taught and proclaimed the word of the Lord.

Paul and Barnabas Separate

36 After some days Paul said to Barnabas, “Come, let us return and visit the believers[j] in every city where we proclaimed the word of the Lord and see how they are doing.” 37 Barnabas wanted to take with them John called Mark. 38 But Paul decided not to take with them one who had deserted them in Pamphylia and had not accompanied them in the work. 39 The disagreement became so sharp that they parted company; Barnabas took Mark with him and sailed away to Cyprus. 40 But Paul chose Silas and set out, the believers[k] commending him to the grace of the Lord. 41 He went through Syria and Cilicia, strengthening the churches.

Footnotes:

  1. Acts 15:22 Gk from among them
  2. Acts 15:23 Gk brothers
  3. Acts 15:24 Other ancient authorities add saying, ‘You must be circumcised and keep the law,’
  4. Acts 15:25 Gk men
  5. Acts 15:29 Other ancient authorities lack and from what is strangled
  6. Acts 15:31 Gk When they
  7. Acts 15:32 Gk brothers
  8. Acts 15:33 Gk brothers
  9. Acts 15:33 Other ancient authorities add verse 34, But it seemed good to Silas to remain there
  10. Acts 15:36 Gk brothers
  11. Acts 15:40 Gk brothers
New Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition (NRSVCE)

New Revised Standard Version Bible: Catholic Edition, copyright © 1989, 1993 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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