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Numbers 23Complete Jewish Bible (CJB)

23 Bil‘am said to Balak, “Build me seven altars here, and prepare me seven bulls and seven rams here.” Balak did as Bil‘am said; then Balak and Bil‘am offered a bull and a ram on each altar. Bil‘am said to Balak, “Stand by your burnt offering while I go off; maybe Adonai will come and meet me; and whatever he shows me I will tell you.” He went off to a bare hill. God met Bil‘am, who said to him, “I prepared the seven altars and offered a bull and a ram on each altar.” Then Adonai put a word in Bil‘am’s mouth and said, “Go on back to Balak, and speak as I tell you.” He went back to him, and there, standing by his burnt offering, he with all the princes of Mo’av, he made his pronouncement:

“Balak, the king of Mo’av,
brings me from Aram, from the eastern hills, saying,
‘Come, curse Ya‘akov for me;
come and denounce Isra’el.’

“How am I to curse
those whom God has not cursed?
How am I to denounce
those whom Adonai has not denounced?

“From the top of the rocks I see them,
from the hills I behold them —
yes, a people that will dwell alone
and not think itself one of the nations.

10 “Who has counted the dust of Ya‘akov
or numbered the ashes of Isra’el?
May I die as the righteous die!
May my end be like theirs!”

11 Balak said to Bil‘am, “What have you done to me?! To curse my enemies is why I brought you; and, here, you have totally blessed them!” 12 He answered, “Mustn’t I take care to say just what Adonai puts in my mouth?”

(LY: v) 13 Balak said to him, “All right, come with me to another place where you can see them. You will see only some of them, not all; but you can curse them for me from there.” 14 He took him through the field of Tzofim to the top of the Pisgah Range, built seven altars and offered a bull and a ram on each altar. 15 Bil‘am said to Balak, “Stand here by your burnt offering, while I go over there for a meeting.” 16 Adonai met Bil‘am, put a word in his mouth and said, “Go on back to Balak, and speak as I tell you.” 17 He came to him and stood by his burnt offering, with all the princes of Mo’av. Balak asked him, “What did Adonai say?” 18 Then Bil‘am made his pronouncement:

“Get up, Balak, and listen!
Turn your ears to me, son of Tzippor!

19 “God is not a human who lies
or a mortal who changes his mind.
When he says something, he will do it;
when he makes a promise, he will fulfill it.
20 Look, I am ordered to bless;
when he blesses, I can’t reverse it.

21 “No one has seen guilt in Ya‘akov,
or perceived perversity in Isra’el;
Adonai their God is with them
and acclaimed as king among them.

22 “God, who brought them out of Egypt,
gives them the strength of a wild ox;
23 thus one can’t put a spell on Ya‘akov,
no magic will work against Isra’el.
It can now be said of Ya‘akov and Isra’el,
‘What is this that God has done?!’

24 “Here is a people rising up like a lioness;
like a lion he rears himself up —
he will not lie down till he eats up the prey
and drinks the blood of the slain.”

25 Balak said to Bil‘am, “Obviously, you won’t curse them. But at least don’t bless them!” 26 However, Bil‘am answered Balak, “Didn’t I warn you that I must do everything Adonai says?”

(RY: vii, LY: vi) 27 Balak said to Bil‘am, “Come, I will take you now to another place; maybe it will please God for you to curse them for me from there.” 28 Balak took Bil‘am to the top of P‘or, overlooking the desert. 29 Bil‘am said to Balak, “Build me seven altars here, and prepare me seven bulls and seven rams.” 30 Balak did as Bil‘am said and offered a bull and a ram on each altar.

Complete Jewish Bible (CJB)

Copyright © 1998 by David H. Stern. All rights reserved.

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