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Numbers 23-24 New English Translation (NET Bible)

Balaam Blesses Israel

23 Balaam said to Balak, “Build me seven altars here, and prepare for me here seven bulls and seven rams.” So Balak did just as Balaam had said. Balak and Balaam then offered on each altar a bull and a ram. Balaam said to Balak, “Station yourself by your burnt offering, and I will go off; perhaps the Lord will come to meet me, and whatever he reveals to me I will tell you.” Then he went to a deserted height.

Then God met Balaam, who said to him, “I have prepared seven altars, and I have offered on each altar a bull and a ram.” Then the Lord put a message in Balaam’s mouth and said, “Return to Balak, and speak what I tell you.”

So he returned to him, and he was still standing by his burnt offering, he and all the princes of Moab. Then Balaam uttered his oracle, saying,

“Balak, the king of Moab, brought me from Aram,
out of the mountains of the east, saying,
‘Come, pronounce a curse on Jacob for me;
come, denounce Israel.’
How can I curse one whom God has not cursed,
or how can I denounce one whom the Lord has not denounced?
For from the top of the rocks I see them;
from the hills I watch them.
Indeed, a nation that lives alone,
and it will not be reckoned among the nations.
10 Who can count the dust of Jacob,
Or number the fourth part of Israel?
Let me die the death of the upright,
and let the end of my life be like theirs.”

Balaam Relocates

11 Then Balak said to Balaam, “What have you done to me? I brought you to curse my enemies, but on the contrary you have only blessed them!” 12 Balaam replied, “Must I not be careful to speak what the Lord has put in my mouth?” 13 Balak said to him, “Please come with me to another place from which you can observe them. You will see only a part of them, but you will not see all of them. Curse them for me from there.”

14 So Balak brought Balaam to the field of Zophim, to the top of Pisgah, where he built seven altars and offered a bull and a ram on each altar. 15 And Balaam said to Balak, “Station yourself here by your burnt offering, while I meet the Lord there.” 16 Then the Lord met Balaam and put a message in his mouth and said, “Return to Balak, and speak what I tell you.” 17 When Balaam came to him, he was still standing by his burnt offering, along with the princes of Moab. And Balak said to him, “What has the Lord spoken?”

Balaam Prophesies Again

18 Balaam uttered 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 human being, that he should change his mind.
Has he said, and will he not do it?
Or has he spoken, and will he not make it happen?
20 Indeed, I have received a command to bless;
he has blessed, and I cannot reverse it.
21 He has not looked on iniquity in Jacob,
nor has he seen trouble in Israel.
The Lord their God is with them;
his acclamation as king is among them.
22 God brought them out of Egypt.
They have, as it were, the strength of a wild bull.
23 For there is no spell against Jacob,
nor is there any divination against Israel.
At this time it must be said of Jacob
and of Israel, ‘Look at what God has done!’
24 Indeed, the people will rise up like a lioness,
and like a lion raises himself up;
they will not lie down until they eat their prey,
and drink the blood of the slain.”

Balaam Relocates Yet Again

25 Balak said to Balaam, “Neither curse them at all nor bless them at all!” 26 But Balaam replied to Balak, “Did I not tell you, ‘All that the Lord speaks, I must do’?”

27 Balak said to Balaam, “Come, please; I will take you to another place. Perhaps it will please God to let you curse them for me from there.” 28 So Balak took Balaam to the top of Peor, that looks toward the wilderness. 29 Then Balaam said to Balak, “Build seven altars here for me, and prepare seven bulls and seven rams.” 30 So Balak did as Balaam had said, and offered a bull and a ram on each altar.

Balaam Prophesies Yet Again

24 When Balaam saw that it pleased the Lord to bless Israel, he did not go as at the other times to seek for omens, but he set his face toward the wilderness. When Balaam lifted up his eyes, he saw Israel camped tribe by tribe; and the Spirit of God came upon him. Then he uttered this oracle:

“The oracle of Balaam son of Beor;
the oracle of the man whose eyes are open;
the oracle of the one who hears the words of God,
who sees a vision from the Almighty,
although falling flat on the ground with eyes open:
‘How beautiful are your tents, O Jacob,
and your dwelling places, O Israel!
They are like valleys stretched forth,
like gardens by the river’s side,
like aloes that the Lord has planted,
and like cedar trees beside the waters.
He will pour the water out of his buckets,
and their descendants will be like abundant water;
their king will be greater than Agag,
and their kingdom will be exalted.
God brought them out of Egypt.
They have, as it were, the strength of a young bull;
they will devour hostile people
and will break their bones
and will pierce them through with arrows.
They crouch and lie down like a lion,
and as a lioness, who can stir him?
Blessed is the one who blesses you,
and cursed is the one who curses you!’”

10 Then Balak became very angry at Balaam, and he struck his hands together. Balak said to Balaam, “I called you to curse my enemies, and look, you have done nothing but bless them these three times! 11 So now, go back where you came from! I said that I would greatly honor you, but now the Lord has stood in the way of your honor.”

12 Balaam said to Balak, “Did I not also tell your messengers whom you sent to me, 13 ‘If Balak would give me his palace full of silver and gold, I cannot go beyond the commandment of the Lord to do either good or evil of my own will, but whatever the Lord tells me I must speak’? 14 And now, I am about to go back to my own people. Come now, and I will advise you as to what this people will do to your people in the future.”

Balaam Prophesies a Fourth Time

15 Then he uttered this oracle:

“The oracle of Balaam son of Beor;
the oracle of the man whose eyes are open;
16 the oracle of the one who hears the words of God,
and who knows the knowledge of the Most High,
who sees a vision from the Almighty,
although falling flat on the ground with eyes open:
17 ‘I see him, but not now;
I behold him, but not close at hand.
A star will march forth out of Jacob,
and a scepter will rise out of Israel.
He will crush the skulls of Moab,
and the heads of all the sons of Sheth.
18 Edom will be a possession,
Seir, his enemies, will also be a possession;
but Israel will act valiantly.
19 A ruler will be established from Jacob;
he will destroy the remains of the city.’”

Balaam’s Final Prophecies

20 Then Balaam looked on Amalek and delivered this oracle:

“Amalek was the first of the nations,
but his end will be that he will perish.”

21 Then he looked on the Kenites and uttered this oracle:

“Your dwelling place seems strong,
and your nest is set on a rocky cliff.
22 Nevertheless the Kenite will be consumed.
How long will Asshur take you away captive?”

23 Then he uttered this oracle:

“O, who will survive when God does this!
24 Ships will come from the coast of Kittim,
and will afflict Asshur, and will afflict Eber,
and he will also perish forever.”

25 Balaam got up and departed and returned to his home, and Balak also went his way.

New English Translation (NET)

NET Bible® copyright ©1996-2006 by Biblical Studies Press, L.L.C. http://netbible.com All rights reserved.

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