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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.[a] 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,[b] who was standing beside his burnt offerings with all the officials of Moab. Then Balaam[c] 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[d] 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?”

Footnotes

  1. Numbers 22:41 Heb lacks of Israel
  2. Numbers 23:6 Heb him
  3. Numbers 23:7 Heb he
  4. Numbers 23:10 Or fourth part

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