The Prophecies of Balaam

23 Then Balaam said to Balak, “Build seven altars for me here, and prepare seven bulls and seven rams for me here.” Balak did just as Balaam had spoken, and Balak and Balaam offered up a bull and a ram on each altar. Then Balaam said to Balak, “Stand beside 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 bare hill.

Now God met with Balaam, and he said to Him, “I have set up the seven altars, and I have offered up a bull and a ram on each altar.” Then the Lord (A)put a word in Balaam’s mouth and said, “Return to Balak, and this is what you shall speak.” So he returned to him, and behold, he was standing beside his burnt offering, he and all the leaders of Moab. And he took up his discourse and said,

“From (B)Aram Balak has brought me,
Moab’s king from the mountains of the East, saying,
(C)Come, declare Jacob cursed for me,
And come, curse Israel!’
(D)How am I to put a curse on him upon whom God has not put a curse?
And how am I to curse him whom the Lord has not cursed?
For I see him from the top of the rocks,
And I look at him from the hills;
(E)Behold, a people that lives in isolation,
And does not consider itself to be among the nations.
10 (F)Who has counted the dust of Jacob,
Or the number of the fourth part of Israel?
(G)May [a]I die the death of the upright,
(H)And may my end be like his!”

11 Then Balak said to Balaam, “What have you done to me? (I)I took you to put a curse on my enemies, but behold, you have actually blessed them!” 12 He replied, “Must I not be careful to speak (J)what the Lord puts in my mouth?”

13 Then Balak said to him, “Please come with me to another place from where you may see them, although you will only see the extreme end of them and will not see all of them; and put a curse on them for me from there.” 14 So he took him to the field of Zophim, to the top of Pisgah, and he built seven altars and offered a bull and a ram on each altar. 15 Then he said to Balak, “Stand here beside your burnt offering while I myself meet the Lord over there.” 16 Then the Lord met Balaam and (K)put a word in his mouth, and said, “Return to Balak, and this is what you shall speak.” 17 So he came to him, and behold, he was standing beside his burnt offering, and the leaders of Moab with him. And Balak said to him, “What has the Lord spoken?” 18 Then he took up his discourse and said,

“Arise, Balak, and hear;
Listen to me, son of Zippor!
19 (L)God is not a man, that He would lie,
Nor a son of man, that He would change His mind;
(M)Has He said, and will He not do it?
Or has He spoken, and will He not make it good?
20 Behold, I have received a command to bless;
(N)When He has blessed, (O)I cannot revoke it.
21 (P)He has not looked at misfortune in Jacob;
(Q)Nor has He seen trouble in Israel;
(R)The Lord his God is with him,
(S)And the joyful shout of a king is among them.
22 (T)God brings them out of Egypt,
He is for them like the (U)horns of the wild ox.
23 (V)For there is no magic curse against Jacob,
Nor is there any divination against Israel;
At the proper time it shall be said to Jacob
And to Israel, what God has done!
24 (W)Behold, a people rises like a lioness,
And like a lion it raises itself;
It will not lie down until it devours the prey,
And drinks the blood of those slain.”

25 Then Balak said to Balaam, “Do not curse them at all nor bless them at all!” 26 But Balaam replied to Balak, “Did I not tell you, ‘[b](X)Whatever the Lord speaks, I must do’?”

27 Then Balak said to Balaam, “Please come, I will take you to another place; perhaps it will be [c]agreeable with God that you curse them for me from there.” 28 So Balak took Balaam to the top of Peor, which overlooks the [d]desert. 29 And Balaam said to Balak, “Build seven altars for me here and prepare seven bulls and seven rams for me here.” 30 Balak did just as Balaam had said, and offered up a bull and a ram on each altar.

The Prophecy from Peor

24 When Balaam saw that it [e]pleased the Lord to bless Israel, he did not go as at other times to [f]seek (Y)omens, rather he turned his [g]attention toward the (Z)wilderness. And Balaam raised his eyes and saw Israel [h]camping tribe by tribe; and (AA)the Spirit of God came upon him. Then he took up his discourse and said,

(AB)The declaration of Balaam the son of Beor,
And the declaration of the man whose eye is opened;
The declaration of him who (AC)hears the [i]words of God,
Who sees the (AD)vision of [j]the Almighty,
Falling down, yet having his eyes uncovered,
How pleasant are your tents, Jacob,
Your dwelling places, Israel!
Like [k]valleys that stretch out,
Like gardens beside a river,
Like (AE)aloes planted by the Lord,
Like (AF)cedars beside the waters.
Water will flow from his buckets,
And his seed will be by many waters,
And his king shall be higher than (AG)Agag,
(AH)And his kingdom shall be exalted.
(AI)God brings him out of Egypt,
He is for him like the horns of the wild ox.
(AJ)He will devour the nations who are his adversaries,
And will crush their bones,
And smash them with his (AK)arrows.
(AL)He [l]crouches, he lies down like a lion,
And like a lioness, who [m]dares to rouse him?
(AM)Blessed is everyone who blesses you,
And cursed is everyone who curses you.”

10 Then Balak’s anger burned against Balaam, and he struck his [n]hands together; and Balak said to Balaam, “I called you to curse my enemies, but behold, you have persisted in blessing them these three times! 11 So [o]flee to your place now. I said I would honor you greatly, but behold, the Lord has held you back from honor.” 12 And Balaam said to Balak, “(AN)Did I not in fact tell your messengers whom you had sent to me, saying, 13 ‘If Balak were to give me his house full of silver and gold, I could not do anything contrary to the [p]command of the Lord, either good or bad, (AO)of my own [q]accord. (AP)What the Lord speaks, I will [r]speak’? 14 So now, behold, (AQ)I am going to my people; come, and I will advise you of what this people will do to your people in the [s]days to come.”

15 Then he took up his discourse and said,

(AR)The declaration of Balaam the son of Beor,
And the declaration of the man whose eye is opened,
16 The declaration of him who hears the [t]words of God,
And knows the knowledge of the [u]Most High,
Who sees the vision of [v]the Almighty,
Falling down, yet having his eyes uncovered:
17 I see him, but not now;
I look at him, but not near;
A star shall appear from Jacob,
(AS)A scepter shall rise from Israel,
(AT)And shall smash the [w]forehead of Moab,
And overcome all the sons of Sheth.
18 (AU)And Edom shall be a possession,
(AV)Seir, its enemies, also will be a possession,
While Israel performs valiantly.
19 One from Jacob shall rule,
And will eliminate the survivors from the city.”

20 And he looked at Amalek and took up his discourse and said,

“Amalek was the first of the nations,
(AW)But his end shall be [x]destruction.”

21 And he looked at the (AX)Kenite, and took up his discourse and said,

“Your dwelling place is enduring,
And your nest is set in the cliff.
22 Nevertheless Kain will suffer devastation;
How long will (AY)Asshur [y]keep you captive?”

23 Then he took up his discourse and said,

“Oh, who can live unless God has ordained it?
24 But ships shall come from the coast of (AZ)Kittim,
And they shall oppress Asshur and oppress (BA)Eber;
(BB)So they also will come to destruction.”

25 Then Balaam arose, and he departed and returned to (BC)his place, and Balak also went on his way.

The Sin of Peor

25 While Israel remained at (BD)Shittim, the people began (BE)to commit infidelity with the daughters of Moab. For (BF)they invited the people to the sacrifices of their gods, and the people ate and bowed down to their gods. So (BG)Israel [z]became followers of [aa]Baal of Peor, and the Lord was angry with Israel. And the Lord said to Moses, “Take all the leaders of the people and [ab]execute them [ac]in broad daylight before the Lord, (BH)so that the fierce anger of the Lord may turn away from Israel.” So Moses said to the judges of Israel, “Each of you (BI)kill his men who have [ad]become followers of [ae]Baal of Peor.”

Then behold, one of the sons of Israel came and brought to his relatives a (BJ)Midianite woman, in the sight of Moses and in the sight of the whole congregation of the sons of Israel, (BK)while they were weeping at the entrance of the tent of meeting. (BL)When Phinehas the son of Eleazar, the son of Aaron the priest, saw it, he rose up from the midst of the congregation and took a spear in his hand, and he went after the man of Israel into the inner room of the tent and pierced both of them, the man of Israel and the woman, through the abdomen. (BM)So the plague on the sons of Israel was brought to a halt. (BN)But those who died from the plague were twenty-four thousand in number.

The Zeal of Phinehas

10 Then the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, 11 (BO)Phinehas the son of Eleazar, the son of Aaron the priest, has averted My wrath from the sons of Israel in that he was [af]jealous with My [ag]jealousy among them, so that I did not destroy the sons of Israel (BP)in My [ah]jealousy. 12 Therefore say, ‘(BQ)Behold, I am giving him My (BR)covenant of peace; 13 and it shall be for him and for his [ai]descendants after him, a covenant of a (BS)permanent priesthood, because he was [aj]jealous for his God and (BT)made atonement for the sons of Israel.’”

14 Now the name of the [ak]dead man of Israel who was killed with the Midianite woman, was Zimri the son of Salu, a leader of a father’s household among the Simeonites. 15 And the name of the Midianite woman who was killed was (BU)Cozbi the daughter of (BV)Zur, [al]who was head of the people of a father’s household in Midian.

16 Then the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, 17 (BW)Be hostile to the Midianites and attack them; 18 for they have been hostile to you with their tricks, with which they have deceived you in the matter of Peor and in the matter of Cozbi, the daughter of the leader of Midian, their sister who was killed on the day of the plague because of Peor.”

Footnotes

  1. Numbers 23:10 Lit my soul
  2. Numbers 23:26 Lit saying, Whatever
  3. Numbers 23:27 Lit right in the sight of God
  4. Numbers 23:28 Or Jeshimon
  5. Numbers 24:1 Lit was good in the eyes of
  6. Numbers 24:1 Lit encounter
  7. Numbers 24:1 Lit face
  8. Numbers 24:2 Lit dwelling
  9. Numbers 24:4 Lit sayings
  10. Numbers 24:4 Heb Shaddai
  11. Numbers 24:6 Or possibly palm trees
  12. Numbers 24:9 Lit bows down
  13. Numbers 24:9 Lit will
  14. Numbers 24:10 Lit palms
  15. Numbers 24:11 Lit flee for yourself
  16. Numbers 24:13 Lit mouth
  17. Numbers 24:13 Lit heart
  18. Numbers 24:13 Lit speak it
  19. Numbers 24:14 Lit end of the days
  20. Numbers 24:16 Lit sayings
  21. Numbers 24:16 Heb Elyon
  22. Numbers 24:16 Heb Shaddai
  23. Numbers 24:17 Lit corners
  24. Numbers 24:20 Lit to destruction
  25. Numbers 24:22 Lit take
  26. Numbers 25:3 Lit bound themselves to
  27. Numbers 25:3 Or Baal-peor
  28. Numbers 25:4 Lit display them (dead) with broken limbs
  29. Numbers 25:4 Lit in front of the sun
  30. Numbers 25:5 Lit bound themselves to
  31. Numbers 25:5 Or Baal-peor
  32. Numbers 25:11 Or possibly zealous; i.e., impassioned
  33. Numbers 25:11 Or possibly anger
  34. Numbers 25:11 Or possibly anger
  35. Numbers 25:13 Lit seed
  36. Numbers 25:13 Or possibly zealous; i.e., impassioned
  37. Numbers 25:14 Lit killed
  38. Numbers 25:15 Lit he