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Numbers 23 New King James Version (NKJV)

The Prophecies of Balaam

23 Then Balaam said to Balak, “Build seven altars for me here, and prepare for me here seven bulls and seven rams.”

And Balak did just as Balaam had spoken, and Balak and Balaam offered a bull and a ram on each altar. Then Balaam said to Balak, “Stand by your burnt offering, and I will go; perhaps the Lord will come to meet me, and whatever He shows me I will tell you.” So he went to a desolate height. And God met Balaam, and he said to Him, “I have prepared the seven altars, and I have offered on each altar a bull and a ram.”

Then the Lord put a word in Balaam’s mouth, and said, “Return to Balak, and thus you shall speak.” So he returned to him, and there he was, standing by his burnt offering, he and all the princes of Moab.

And he took up his [a]oracle and said:

“Balak the king of Moab has brought me from Aram,
From the mountains of the east.
‘Come, curse Jacob for me,
And come, denounce Israel!’

“How shall I curse whom God has not cursed?
And how shall I denounce whom the Lord has not denounced?
For from the top of the rocks I see him,
And from the hills I behold him;
There! A people dwelling alone,
Not reckoning itself among the nations.

10 “Who can count the [b]dust of Jacob,
Or number one-fourth of Israel?
Let me die the death of the righteous,
And let my end be like his!”

11 Then Balak said to Balaam, “What have you done to me? I took you to curse my enemies, and look, you have blessed them bountifully!”

12 So he answered and said, “Must I not take heed to speak what the Lord has put in my mouth?”

Balaam’s Second Prophecy

13 Then Balak said to him, “Please come with me to another place from which you may see them; you shall see only the outer part of them, and shall not see them all; curse them for me from there.” 14 So he brought him to the field of Zophim, to the top of Pisgah, and built seven altars, and offered a bull and a ram on each altar.

15 And he said to Balak, “Stand here by your burnt offering while I [c]meet the Lord over there.”

16 Then the Lord met Balaam, and put a word in his mouth, and said, “Go back to Balak, and thus you shall speak.” 17 So he came to him, and there he was, standing by his burnt offering, and the princes of Moab were with him. And Balak said to him, “What has the Lord spoken?”

18 Then he took up his oracle and said:

“Rise up, Balak, and hear!
Listen to me, son of Zippor!

19 “God is not a man, that He should lie,
Nor a son of man, that He should repent.
Has He said, and will He not do?
Or has He spoken, and will He not make it good?
20 Behold, I have received a command to bless;
He has blessed, and I cannot reverse it.

21 “He has not observed iniquity in Jacob,
Nor has He seen [d]wickedness in Israel.
The Lord his God is with him,
And the shout of a King is among them.
22 God brings them out of Egypt;
He has strength like a wild ox.

23 “For there is no [e]sorcery against Jacob,
Nor any [f]divination against Israel.
It now must be said of Jacob
And of Israel, ‘Oh, what God has done!’
24 Look, a people rises like a lioness,
And lifts itself up like a lion;
It shall not lie down until it devours the prey,
And drinks the blood of the slain.”

25 Then Balak said to Balaam, “Neither curse them at all, nor bless them at all!”

26 So Balaam answered and said to Balak, “Did I not tell you, saying, ‘All that the Lord speaks, that I must do’?”

Balaam’s Third Prophecy

27 Then Balak said to Balaam, “Please come, I will take you to another place; perhaps it will please God that you may curse them for me from there.” 28 So Balak took Balaam to the top of Peor, that overlooks the [g]wasteland. 29 Then Balaam said to Balak, “Build for me here seven altars, and prepare for me here seven bulls and seven rams.” 30 And Balak did as Balaam had said, and offered a bull and a ram on every altar.

Footnotes:

  1. Numbers 23:7 prophetic discourse
  2. Numbers 23:10 Or dust cloud
  3. Numbers 23:15 So with MT, Tg., Vg.; Syr. call; LXX go and ask God
  4. Numbers 23:21 trouble
  5. Numbers 23:23 enchantment
  6. Numbers 23:23 fortune-telling
  7. Numbers 23:28 Heb. Jeshimon
New King James Version (NKJV)

Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Numbers 23 New International Version (NIV)

Balaam’s First Message

23 Balaam said, “Build me seven altars here, and prepare seven bulls and seven rams for me.” Balak did as Balaam said, and the two of them offered a bull and a ram on each altar.

Then Balaam said to Balak, “Stay here beside your offering while I go aside. Perhaps the Lord will come to meet with me. Whatever he reveals to me I will tell you.” Then he went off to a barren height.

God met with him, and Balaam said, “I have prepared seven altars, and on each altar I have offered a bull and a ram.”

The Lord put a word in Balaam’s mouth and said, “Go back to Balak and give him this word.”

So he went back to him and found him standing beside his offering, with all the Moabite officials. Then Balaam spoke his message:

“Balak brought me from Aram,
    the king of Moab from the eastern mountains.
‘Come,’ he said, ‘curse Jacob for me;
    come, denounce Israel.’
How can I curse
    those whom God has not cursed?
How can I denounce
    those whom the Lord has not denounced?
From the rocky peaks I see them,
    from the heights I view them.
I see a people who live apart
    and do not consider themselves one of the nations.
10 Who can count the dust of Jacob
    or number even a fourth of Israel?
Let me die the death of the righteous,
    and may my final end be like theirs!

11 Balak said to Balaam, “What have you done to me? I brought you to curse my enemies, but you have done nothing but bless them!”

12 He answered, “Must I not speak what the Lord puts in my mouth?”

Balaam’s Second Message

13 Then Balak said to him, “Come with me to another place where you can see them; you will not see them all but only the outskirts of their camp. And from there, curse them for me. 14 So he took him to the field of Zophim on the top of Pisgah, and there he built seven altars and offered a bull and a ram on each altar.

15 Balaam said to Balak, “Stay here beside your offering while I meet with him over there.”

16 The Lord met with Balaam and put a word in his mouth and said, “Go back to Balak and give him this word.”

17 So he went to him and found him standing beside his offering, with the Moabite officials. Balak asked him, “What did the Lord say?”

18 Then he spoke his message:

“Arise, Balak, and listen;
    hear me, son of Zippor.
19 God is not human, that he should lie,
    not a human being, that he should change his mind.
Does he speak and then not act?
    Does he promise and not fulfill?
20 I have received a command to bless;
    he has blessed, and I cannot change it.

21 “No misfortune is seen in Jacob,
    no misery observed[a] in Israel.
The Lord their God is with them;
    the shout of the King is among them.
22 God brought them out of Egypt;
    they have the strength of a wild ox.
23 There is no divination against[b] Jacob,
    no evil omens against[c] Israel.
It will now be said of Jacob
    and of Israel, ‘See what God has done!’
24 The people rise like a lioness;
    they rouse themselves like a lion
that does not rest till it devours its prey
    and drinks the blood of its victims.”

25 Then Balak said to Balaam, “Neither curse them at all nor bless them at all!”

26 Balaam answered, “Did I not tell you I must do whatever the Lord says?”

Balaam’s Third Message

27 Then Balak said to Balaam, “Come, let me take you to another place. Perhaps it will please God to let you curse them for me from there.” 28 And Balak took Balaam to the top of Peor, overlooking the wasteland.

29 Balaam said, “Build me seven altars here, and prepare seven bulls and seven rams for me.” 30 Balak did as Balaam had said, and offered a bull and a ram on each altar.

Footnotes:

  1. Numbers 23:21 Or He has not looked on Jacob’s offenses / or on the wrongs found
  2. Numbers 23:23 Or in
  3. Numbers 23:23 Or in
New International Version (NIV)

Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

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