New Revised Standard Version
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 1 Then Balaam said to Balak, “Build me seven altars here, and prepare seven bulls and seven rams for me.” 2 Balak did as Balaam had said; and Balak and Balaam offered a bull and a ram on each altar. 3 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.
4 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.” 5 The Lord put a word in Balaam’s mouth, and said, “Return to Balak, and this is what you must say.” 6 So he returned to Balak,[b] who was standing beside his burnt offerings with all the officials of Moab. 7 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!’
8 How can I curse whom God has not cursed?
How can I denounce those whom the Lord has not denounced?
9 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?”