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Numbers 24:19-21 New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

19     and Jacob will rule his foes.

20 Upon seeing Amalek, Balaam recited his poem:

First[a] of the nations is Amalek,
    but their end is to perish forever.

21 Upon seeing the Kenites,[b] he recited his poem:

Though your dwelling is safe,
    and your nest is set on a cliff;


  1. 24:20 First: lit., “the beginning.” In the Bible, Amalek is a people indigenous to Palestine and therefore considered as of great antiquity. There is a deliberate contrast here between the words “first” and “end.”
  2. 24:21 The Kenites lived in high strongholds in the mountains of southern Palestine and the Sinai Peninsula, and were skilled in working the various metals found in their territory. Their name is connected, at least by popular etymology, with the Hebrew word for “smith”; of similar sound to qayin, i.e., “Kain” or “smith,” is the Hebrew word for “nest,” qen—hence the play on words in the present passage.
New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

Scripture texts, prefaces, introductions, footnotes and cross references used in this work are taken from the New American Bible, revised edition © 2010, 1991, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Inc., Washington, DC All Rights Reserved. No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the copyright owner.


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