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24 Balaam was sure that the Lord would tell him to bless Israel again. So he did not use any magic to find out what the Lord wanted him to do, as he had the first two times. Instead, he looked out toward the desert and saw the tribes of Israel camped below. Just then, God’s Spirit took control of him, and Balaam said:

“I am the son of Beor,
and my words are true,[a]
    so listen to my message!
It comes from the Lord,
    the God All-Powerful.
I bowed down to him
    and saw a vision of Israel.

“People of Israel,
    your camp is lovely.
It’s like a grove of palm trees[b]
    or a garden beside a river.
You are like tall aloe trees
    that the Lord has planted,
or like cedars
    growing near water.
You and your descendants
will prosper
like an orchard
    beside a stream.
Your king will rule with power
and be a greater king
    than Agag the Amalekite.[c]
With the strength of a wild ox,
    God led you out of Egypt.
You will defeat your enemies,
shooting them with arrows[d]
    and crushing their bones.
Like a lion you lie down,
    resting after an attack.
Who would dare disturb you?

“Anyone who blesses you
    will be blessed;
anyone who curses you
    will be cursed.”

10 When Balak heard this, he was so furious that he pounded his fist against his hand and said, “I called you here to place a curse on my enemies, and you’ve blessed them three times. 11 Leave now and go home! I told you I would pay you well, but since the Lord didn’t let you do what I asked, you won’t be paid.”

12 Balaam answered, “I told your messengers 13 that even if you offered me a palace full of silver or gold, I would still obey the Lord. And I explained that I would say only what he told me. 14 So I’m going back home, but I’m leaving you with a warning about what the Israelites will someday do to your nation.”

Balaam’s Fourth Message

15 Balaam said:

“I am the son of Beor,
and my words are true,[e]
    so listen to my message!
16 My knowledge comes
from God Most High,
    the Lord All-Powerful.
I bowed down to him
    and saw a vision of Israel.

17 “What I saw in my vision
    hasn’t happened yet.
But someday, a king of Israel
    will appear like a star.
He will wipe out you Moabites[f]
and destroy[g] those tribes
    who live in the desert.[h]
18 Israel will conquer Edom
and capture the land
    of that enemy nation.
19 The king of Israel will rule
and destroy the survivors
    of every town there.[i]

20 “And I saw this vision
    about the Amalekites:[j]
Their nation is now great,
but it will someday
    disappear forever.[k]

21 “And this is what I saw
    about the Kenites:[l]
They think they’re safe,
    living among the rocks,
22 but they will be wiped out
    when Assyria conquers them.[m]

23 “No one can survive
    if God plans destruction.[n]
24 Ships will come from Cyprus,
bringing people
who will invade
    the lands of Assyria and Eber.
But finally, Cyprus itself
    will be ruined.”

25 After Balaam finished, he started home, and Balak also left.

Footnotes

  1. 24.3 my words are true: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
  2. 24.6 grove of palm trees: Or “green valley.”
  3. 24.7 Agag the Amalekite: The Amalekites were long-time enemies of the Israelites (see Exodus 17.8-16), and Agag was one of their most powerful kings.
  4. 24.8 shooting them with arrows: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
  5. 24.15 my words are true: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
  6. 24.17 you Moabites: Or “the territories of Moab.”
  7. 24.17 destroy: The Standard Hebrew Text; the Samaritan Hebrew Text “the skulls of.”
  8. 24.17 those tribes. . . desert: The Hebrew text has “the descendants of Sheth,” which probably refers to the people who lived in the desert areas of Canaan before the Israelites.
  9. 24.19 every town there: Or “Ir in Moab.”
  10. 24.20 the Amalekites: See the note at 24.7.
  11. 24.20 but. . . forever: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
  12. 24.21 the Kenites: A group of people who lived in the desert south of Israel.
  13. 24.22 them: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text of verse 22.
  14. 24.23 destruction: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text of verse 23.

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