23 Balaam said to Balak, “Build seven altars here, and prepare seven bulls and seven rams for me.” 2 Balak did what Balaam told him, and the two of them offered a bull and a ram on each altar.
3 Balaam said to Balak, “Stay here beside your burnt offering while I’m gone. Maybe the Lord will come and meet with me. I will tell you whatever he reveals to me.” Then Balaam went off to a higher place where there were no trees.
4 God came to him, and Balaam said, “I have set up seven altars, and I offered a bull and a ram on each altar.”
5 The Lord told Balaam, “Go back to Balak, and give him my message.”
6 So he went back to Balak and found him standing beside his burnt offering with all the princes of Moab. 7 Then Balaam delivered this message:
“Balak brought me from Aram. The king of Moab summoned me from the eastern mountains. ‘Come, curse Jacob for me,’ he said. ‘Come, condemn Israel.’ 8 How can I curse those whom God hasn’t cursed? How can I condemn those whom the Lord hasn’t condemned? 9 I see them from the top of rocky cliffs, I look at them from the hills. I see a nation that lives by itself, people who do not consider themselves to be like other nations. 10 The descendants of Jacob are like specks of dust. Who can count them or number even one-fourth of the people of Israel? Let me die the death of innocent people. Let my end be like theirs.”
11 Balak said to Balaam, “What have you done to me? I brought you here to curse my enemies, but all you’ve done is bless them!”
12 Balaam answered, “I must say what the Lord tells me to say.”
Balaam’s Second Prophecy
13 Then Balak said to him, “Please come with me to another place, where you can see the Israelites. You will see only some of them, not all of them. Curse them for me from there.”
14 So he took him to the Field of Zophim[a] on top of Mount Pisgah, where he built seven altars. He offered a bull and a ram on each altar. 15 Then Balaam said to Balak, “Stay here beside your burnt offering while I meet with God over there.”
16 The Lord came to Balaam and told him, “Go back to Balak, and give him my message.”
17 He came to Balak and found him standing beside his burnt offering with the princes of Moab. Balak asked him, “What did the Lord say?” 18 Then Balaam delivered this message:
“Stand up, Balak, and listen! Hear me, son of Zippor! 19 God is not like people. He tells no lies. He is not like humans. He doesn’t change his mind. When he says something, he does it. When he makes a promise, he keeps it. 20 I have received a command to bless. He has blessed, and I can’t change it. 21 He doesn’t want any trouble for the descendants of Jacob. He sees no misfortune for the people of Israel. The Lord their God is with them, praised as their king. 22 The God who brought them out of Egypt has the strength of a wild bull. 23 No spell can curse the descendants of Jacob. No magic can harm the people of Israel. Now it will be said of Jacob and Israel: ‘See what God has done!’ 24 Here is a nation that attacks like a lioness and is as ferocious as a lion. It doesn’t lie down until it eats its prey and drinks the blood of its victim.”
25 Balak said to Balaam, “If you won’t curse them, then at least don’t bless them!”
26 Balaam answered, “Didn’t I tell you that I must do whatever the Lord says?”
27 Balak said to Balaam, “Come, let me take you to another place. Maybe God wants you to curse them for me from there.” 28 So Balak took Balaam to the top of Mount Peor, which overlooks Jeshimon.
29 Balaam said to Balak, “Build seven altars here, and prepare seven bulls and seven rams for me.” 30 Balak did what Balaam told him, and he offered a bull and a ram on each altar.
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