Numbers 23-25 Contemporary English Version (CEV)
Balaam’s First Message
23 Balaam said to Balak, “Build seven altars here, then bring seven bulls and seven rams.”
2 After Balak had done this, they sacrificed a bull and a ram on each altar. 3 Then Balaam said, “Wait here beside your offerings, and I’ll go somewhere to be alone. Maybe the Lord will appear to me. If he does, I will tell you everything he says.” And he left.
4 When God appeared to him, Balaam said, “I have built seven altars and have sacrificed a bull and a ram on each one.”
5 The Lord gave Balaam a message, then sent him back to tell Balak. 6 When Balaam returned, he found Balak and his officials standing beside the offerings.
7 Balaam said:
“King Balak of Moab brought me
9 “From the mountain peaks,
“I hope to obey God
11 Balak said, “What are you doing? I asked you to come and place a curse on my enemies. But you have blessed them instead!”
12 Balaam answered, “I can say only what the Lord tells me.”
Balaam’s Second Message
13 Balak said to Balaam, “Let’s go somewhere else. Maybe if you see a smaller part of the Israelites, you will be able to curse them for me.” 14 So he took Balaam to a field on top of Mount Pisgah where lookouts were stationed.[a] Then he built seven altars there and sacrificed a bull and a ram on each one.
15 “Wait here beside your offerings,” Balaam said. “The Lord will appear to me over there.”
16 The Lord appeared to Balaam and gave him another message, then he told him to go and tell Balak. 17 Balaam went back and saw him and his officials standing beside the offerings.
Balak asked, “What did the Lord say?”
18 Balaam answered:
“Pay close attention
20 “My command from God
25 Balak shouted, “If you’re not going to curse Israel, then at least don’t bless them.”
26 “I’ve already told you,” Balaam answered. “I will say only what the Lord tells me.”
Balaam’s Third Message
27 Balak said to Balaam, “Come on, let’s try another place. Maybe God will let you curse Israel from there.” 28 So he took Balaam to Mount Peor overlooking the desert north of the Dead Sea.
29 Balaam said, “Build seven altars here, then bring me seven bulls and seven rams.”
30 After Balak had done what Balaam asked, he sacrificed a bull and a ram on each altar.
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 2 and saw the tribes of Israel camped below. Just then, God’s Spirit took control of him, 3 and Balaam said:
“I am the son of Beor,
5 “People of Israel,
“Anyone who blesses you
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,
17 “What I saw in my vision
23 “No one can survive
25 After Balaam finished, he started home, and Balak also left.
The Israelites Worship Baal
25 While the Israelites were camped at Acacia, some of the men had sex with Moabite women. 2 These women then invited the men to ceremonies where sacrifices were offered to their gods. The men ate the meat from the sacrifices and worshiped the Moabite gods.
3 The Lord was angry with Israel because they had worshiped the god Baal Peor. 4 So he said to Moses, “Take the Israelite leaders who are responsible for this and have them killed in front of my sacred tent where everyone can see. Maybe then I will stop being angry with the Israelites.”
5 Moses told Israel’s officials,[p] “Each of you must put to death any of your men who worshiped Baal.”
6 Later, Moses and the people were at the sacred tent, crying, when one of the Israelite men brought a Midianite[q] woman to meet his family. 7 Phinehas, the grandson of Aaron[r] the priest, saw the couple and left the crowd. He found a spear 8 and followed the man into his tent, where he ran the spear through the man and into the woman’s stomach. The Lord immediately stopped punishing Israel with a deadly disease, 9 but twenty-four thousand Israelites had already died.
10 The Lord said to Moses, 11 “In my anger, I would have wiped out the Israelites if Phinehas had not been faithful to me. 12-13 But instead of punishing them, I forgave them. So because of the loyalty that Phinehas showed, I solemnly promise that he and his descendants will always be my priests.”
14 The Israelite man that was killed was Zimri son of Salu, who was one of the leaders of the Simeon tribe. 15 And the Midianite woman killed with him was Cozbi, the daughter of a Midianite clan leader named Zur.
16 The Lord told Moses, 17-18 “The Midianites are now enemies of Israel, so attack and defeat them! They tricked the people of Israel into worshiping their god at Peor, and they are responsible for the death of Cozbi, the daughter of one of their own leaders.”
Mark 7:14-37 Contemporary English Version (CEV)
What Really Makes People Unclean
14 Jesus called the crowd together again and said, “Pay attention and try to understand what I mean. 15-16 The food that you put into your mouth doesn’t make you unclean and unfit to worship God. The bad words that come out of your mouth are what make you unclean.”[a]
17 After Jesus and his disciples had left the crowd and had gone into the house, they asked him what these sayings meant. 18 He answered, “Don’t you know what I am talking about by now? You surely know that the food you put into your mouth cannot make you unclean. 19 It doesn’t go into your heart, but into your stomach, and then out of your body.” By saying this, Jesus meant that all foods were fit to eat.
20 Then Jesus said:
What comes from your heart is what makes you unclean. 21 Out of your heart come evil thoughts, vulgar deeds, stealing, murder, 22 unfaithfulness in marriage, greed, meanness, deceit, indecency, envy, insults, pride, and foolishness. 23 All of these come from your heart, and they are what make you unfit to worship God.
A Woman’s Faith
24 Jesus left and went to the region near the city of Tyre, where he stayed in someone’s home. He did not want people to know he was there, but they found out anyway. 25 A woman whose daughter had an evil spirit in her heard where Jesus was. And right away she came and knelt down at his feet. 26 The woman was Greek and had been born in the part of Syria known as Phoenicia. She begged Jesus to force the demon out of her daughter. 27 But Jesus said, “The children must first be fed! It isn’t right to take away their food and feed it to dogs.”[b]
28 The woman replied, “Lord, even dogs eat the crumbs that children drop from the table.”
29 Jesus answered, “That’s true! You may go now. The demon has left your daughter.” 30 When the woman got back home, she found her child lying on the bed. The demon had gone.
Jesus Heals a Man Who Was Deaf and Could Hardly Talk
31 Jesus left the region around Tyre and went by way of Sidon toward Lake Galilee. He went through the land near the ten cities known as Decapolis.[c] 32 Some people brought to him a man who was deaf and could hardly talk. They begged Jesus just to touch him.
33 After Jesus had taken him aside from the crowd, he stuck his fingers in the man’s ears. Then he spit and put it on the man’s tongue. 34 Jesus looked up toward heaven, and with a groan he said, “Effatha!”[d] which means “Open up!” 35 At once the man could hear, and he had no more trouble talking clearly.
36 Jesus told the people not to say anything about what he had done. But the more he told them, the more they talked about it. 37 They were completely amazed and said, “Everything he does is good! He even heals people who cannot hear or talk.”
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