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Numbers 23 Authorized (King James) Version (AKJV)

23 And Balaam said unto Balak, Build me here seven altars, and prepare me here seven oxen and seven rams. And Balak did as Balaam had spoken; and Balak and Balaam offered on every altar a bullock and a ram. And Balaam said unto Balak, Stand by thy burnt offering, and I will go: peradventure the Lord will come to meet me: and whatsoever he sheweth me I will tell thee. And he went to an high place. And God met Balaam: and he said unto him, I have prepared seven altars, and I have offered upon every altar a bullock and a ram. And the Lord put a word in Balaam’s mouth, and said, Return unto Balak, and thus thou shalt speak. And he returned unto him, and, lo, he stood by his burnt sacrifice, he, and all the princes of Moab. And he took up his parable, and said,

Balak the king of Moab hath brought me from Aram,
out of the mountains of the east,
saying, Come, curse me Jacob, and come, defy Israel.
How shall I curse, whom God hath not cursed?
or how shall I defy, whom the Lord hath not defied?
For from the top of the rocks I see him,
and from the hills I behold him:
lo, the people shall dwell alone,
and shall not be reckoned among the nations.
10 Who can count the dust of Jacob,
and the number of the fourth part of Israel?
Let me die the death of the righteous,
and let my last end be like his!

11 And Balak said unto Balaam, What hast thou done unto me? I took thee to curse mine enemies, and, behold, thou hast blessed them altogether. 12 And he answered and said, Must I not take heed to speak that which the Lord hath put in my mouth? 13 And Balak said unto him, Come, I pray thee, with me unto another place, from whence thou mayest see them: thou shalt see but the utmost part of them, and shalt not see them all: and curse me them from thence.

14 And he brought him into the field of Zophim, to the top of Pisgah, and built seven altars, and offered a bullock and a ram on every altar. 15 And he said unto Balak, Stand here by thy burnt offering, while I meet the Lord yonder. 16 And the Lord met Balaam, and put a word in his mouth, and said, Go again unto Balak, and say thus. 17 And when he came to him, behold, he stood by his burnt offering, and the princes of Moab with him. And Balak said unto him, What hath the Lord spoken? 18 And he took up his parable, and said,

Rise up, Balak, and hear;
hearken unto me, thou son of Zippor:
19 God is not a man, that he should lie;
neither the son of man, that he should repent:
hath he said, and shall he not do it?
or hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good?
20 Behold, I have received commandment to bless:
and he hath blessed; and I cannot reverse it.
21 He hath not beheld iniquity in Jacob,
neither hath he seen perverseness in Israel:
the Lord his God is with him,
and the shout of a king is among them.
22 God brought them out of Egypt;
he hath as it were the strength of an unicorn.
23 Surely there is no enchantment against Jacob,
neither is there any divination against Israel:
according to this time it shall be said of Jacob and of Israel,
What hath God wrought!
24 Behold, the people shall rise up as a great lion,
and lift up himself as a young lion:
he shall not lie down until he eat of the prey,
and drink the blood of the slain.

25 And Balak said unto Balaam, Neither curse them at all, nor bless them at all. 26 But Balaam answered and said unto Balak, Told not I thee, saying, All that the Lord speaketh, that I must do?

27 And Balak said unto Balaam, Come, I pray thee, I will bring thee unto another place; peradventure it will please God that thou mayest curse me them from thence. 28 And Balak brought Balaam unto the top of Peor, that looketh toward Jeshimon. 29 And Balaam said unto Balak, Build me here seven altars, and prepare me here seven bullocks and seven rams. 30 And Balak did as Balaam had said, and offered a bullock and a ram on every altar.

Authorized (King James) Version (AKJV)

KJV reproduced by permission of Cambridge University Press, the Crown’s patentee in the UK.

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.

Numbers 23 New Living Translation (NLT)

Balaam Blesses Israel

23 Then Balaam said to King Balak, “Build me seven altars here, and prepare seven young bulls and seven rams for me to sacrifice.” Balak followed his instructions, and the two of them sacrificed a young bull and a ram on each altar.

Then Balaam said to Balak, “Stand here by your burnt offerings, and I will go to see if the Lord will respond to me. Then I will tell you whatever he reveals to me.” So Balaam went alone to the top of a bare hill, and God met him there. Balaam said to him, “I have prepared seven altars and have sacrificed a young bull and a ram on each altar.”

The Lord gave Balaam a message for King Balak. Then he said, “Go back to Balak and give him my message.”

So Balaam returned and found the king standing beside his burnt offerings with all the officials of Moab. This was the message Balaam delivered:

“Balak summoned me to come from Aram;
    the king of Moab brought me from the eastern hills.
‘Come,’ he said, ‘curse Jacob for me!
    Come and announce Israel’s doom.’
But how can I curse those
    whom God has not cursed?
How can I condemn those
    whom the Lord has not condemned?
I see them from the cliff tops;
    I watch them from the hills.
I see a people who live by themselves,
    set apart from other nations.
10 Who can count Jacob’s descendants, as numerous as dust?
    Who can count even a fourth of Israel’s people?
Let me die like the righteous;
    let my life end like theirs.”

11 Then King Balak demanded of Balaam, “What have you done to me? I brought you to curse my enemies. Instead, you have blessed them!”

12 But Balaam replied, “I will speak only the message that the Lord puts in my mouth.”

Balaam’s Second Message

13 Then King Balak told him, “Come with me to another place. There you will see another part of the nation of Israel, but not all of them. Curse at least that many!” 14 So Balak took Balaam to the plateau of Zophim on Pisgah Peak. He built seven altars there and offered a young bull and a ram on each altar.

15 Then Balaam said to the king, “Stand here by your burnt offerings while I go over there to meet the Lord.”

16 And the Lord met Balaam and gave him a message. Then he said, “Go back to Balak and give him my message.”

17 So Balaam returned and found the king standing beside his burnt offerings with all the officials of Moab. “What did the Lord say?” Balak asked eagerly.

18 This was the message Balaam delivered:

“Rise up, Balak, and listen!
    Hear me, son of Zippor.
19 God is not a man, so he does not lie.
    He is not human, so he does not change his mind.
Has he ever spoken and failed to act?
    Has he ever promised and not carried it through?
20 Listen, I received a command to bless;
    God has blessed, and I cannot reverse it!
21 No misfortune is in his plan for Jacob;
    no trouble is in store for Israel.
For the Lord their God is with them;
    he has been proclaimed their king.
22 God brought them out of Egypt;
    for them he is as strong as a wild ox.
23 No curse can touch Jacob;
    no magic has any power against Israel.
For now it will be said of Jacob,
    ‘What wonders God has done for Israel!’
24 These people rise up like a lioness,
    like a majestic lion rousing itself.
They refuse to rest
    until they have feasted on prey,
    drinking the blood of the slaughtered!”

25 Then Balak said to Balaam, “Fine, but if you won’t curse them, at least don’t bless them!”

26 But Balaam replied to Balak, “Didn’t I tell you that I can do only what the Lord tells me?”

Balaam’s Third Message

27 Then King Balak said to Balaam, “Come, I will take you to one more place. Perhaps it will please God to let you curse them from there.”

28 So Balak took Balaam to the top of Mount Peor, overlooking the wasteland.[a] 29 Balaam again told Balak, “Build me seven altars, and prepare seven young bulls and seven rams for me to sacrifice.” 30 So Balak did as Balaam ordered and offered a young bull and a ram on each altar.

Footnotes:

  1. 23:28 Or overlooking Jeshimon.
New Living Translation (NLT)

Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.


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