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Numbers 23-25New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

23 Then Balaam said to Balak, “Build me seven altars here, and prepare seven bulls and seven rams for me.” Balak did as Balaam had said; and Balak and Balaam offered a bull and a ram on each altar. Then Balaam said to Balak, “Stay here beside your burnt offerings while I go aside. Perhaps the Lord will come to meet me. Whatever he shows me I will tell you.” And he went to a bare height.

Then God met Balaam; and Balaam said to him, “I have arranged the seven altars, and have offered a bull and a ram on each altar.” The Lord put a word in Balaam’s mouth, and said, “Return to Balak, and this is what you must say.” So he returned to Balak,[a] who was standing beside his burnt offerings with all the officials of Moab. Then Balaam[b] uttered his oracle, saying:

“Balak has brought me from Aram,
    the king of Moab from the eastern mountains:
‘Come, curse Jacob for me;
    Come, denounce Israel!’
How can I curse whom God has not cursed?
    How can I denounce those whom the Lord has not denounced?
For from the top of the crags I see him,
    from the hills I behold him.
Here is a people living alone,
    and not reckoning itself among the nations!
10 Who can count the dust of Jacob,
    or number the dust-cloud[c] of Israel?
Let me die the death of the upright,
    and let my end be like his!”

11 Then Balak said to Balaam, “What have you done to me? I brought you to curse my enemies, but now you have done nothing but bless them.” 12 He answered, “Must I not take care to say what the Lord puts into my mouth?”

Balaam’s Second Oracle

13 So Balak said to him, “Come with me to another place from which you may see them; you shall see only part of them, and shall not see them all; then curse them for me from there.” 14 So he took him to the field of Zophim, to the top of Pisgah. He built seven altars, and offered a bull and a ram on each altar. 15 Balaam said to Balak, “Stand here beside your burnt offerings, while I meet the Lord over there.” 16 The Lord met Balaam, put a word into his mouth, and said, “Return to Balak, and this is what you shall say.” 17 When he came to him, he was standing beside his burnt offerings with the officials of Moab. Balak said to him, “What has the Lord said?” 18 Then Balaam uttered his oracle, saying:

“Rise, Balak, and hear;
    listen to me, O son of Zippor:
19 God is not a human being, that he should lie,
    or a mortal, that he should change his mind.
Has he promised, and will he not do it?
    Has he spoken, and will he not fulfill it?
20 See, I received a command to bless;
    he has blessed, and I cannot revoke it.
21 He has not beheld misfortune in Jacob;
    nor has he seen trouble in Israel.
The Lord their God is with them,
    acclaimed as a king among them.
22 God, who brings them out of Egypt,
    is like the horns of a wild ox for them.
23 Surely there is no enchantment against Jacob,
    no divination against Israel;
now it shall be said of Jacob and Israel,
    ‘See what God has done!’
24 Look, a people rising up like a lioness,
    and rousing itself like a lion!
It does not lie down until it has eaten the prey
    and drunk the blood of the slain.”

25 Then Balak said to Balaam, “Do not curse them at all, and do not bless them at all.” 26 But Balaam answered Balak, “Did I not tell you, ‘Whatever the Lord says, that is what I must do’?”

27 So Balak said to Balaam, “Come now, I will take you to another place; perhaps it will please God that you may curse them for me from there.” 28 So Balak took Balaam to the top of Peor, which overlooks the wasteland.[d] 29 Balaam said to Balak, “Build me seven altars here, and prepare seven bulls and seven rams for me.” 30 So Balak did as Balaam had said, and offered a bull and a ram on each altar.

Balaam’s Third Oracle

24 Now Balaam saw that it pleased the Lord to bless Israel, so he did not go, as at other times, to look for omens, but set his face toward the wilderness. Balaam looked up and saw Israel camping tribe by tribe. Then the spirit of God came upon him, and he uttered his oracle, saying:

“The oracle of Balaam son of Beor,
    the oracle of the man whose eye is clear,[e]
the oracle of one who hears the words of God,
    who sees the vision of the Almighty,[f]
    who falls down, but with eyes uncovered:
how fair are your tents, O Jacob,
    your encampments, O Israel!
Like palm groves that stretch far away,
    like gardens beside a river,
like aloes that the Lord has planted,
    like cedar trees beside the waters.
Water shall flow from his buckets,
    and his seed shall have abundant water,
his king shall be higher than Agag,
    and his kingdom shall be exalted.
God who brings him out of Egypt,
    is like the horns of a wild ox for him;
he shall devour the nations that are his foes
    and break their bones.
    He shall strike with his arrows.[g]
He crouched, he lay down like a lion,
    and like a lioness; who will rouse him up?
Blessed is everyone who blesses you,
    and cursed is everyone who curses you.”

10 Then Balak’s anger was kindled against Balaam, and he struck his hands together. Balak said to Balaam, “I summoned you to curse my enemies, but instead you have blessed them these three times. 11 Now be off with you! Go home! I said, ‘I will reward you richly,’ but the Lord has denied you any reward.” 12 And Balaam said to Balak, “Did I not tell your messengers whom you sent to me, 13 ‘If Balak should give me his house full of silver and gold, I would not be able to go beyond the word of the Lord, to do either good or bad of my own will; what the Lord says, that is what I will say’? 14 So now, I am going to my people; let me advise you what this people will do to your people in days to come.”

Balaam’s Fourth Oracle

15 So he uttered his oracle, saying:

“The oracle of Balaam son of Beor,
    the oracle of the man whose eye is clear,[h]
16 the oracle of one who hears the words of God,
    and knows the knowledge of the Most High,[i]
who sees the vision of the Almighty,[j]
    who falls down, but with his eyes uncovered:
17 I see him, but not now;
    I behold him, but not near—
a star shall come out of Jacob,
    and a scepter shall rise out of Israel;
it shall crush the borderlands[k] of Moab,
    and the territory[l] of all the Shethites.
18 Edom will become a possession,
    Seir a possession of its enemies,[m]
    while Israel does valiantly.
19 One out of Jacob shall rule,
    and destroy the survivors of Ir.”

20 Then he looked on Amalek, and uttered his oracle, saying:

“First among the nations was Amalek,
but its end is to perish forever.”

21 Then he looked on the Kenite, and uttered his oracle, saying:

“Enduring is your dwelling place,
    and your nest is set in the rock;
22 yet Kain is destined for burning.
    How long shall Asshur take you away captive?”

23 Again he uttered his oracle, saying:

“Alas, who shall live when God does this?
24     But ships shall come from Kittim
and shall afflict Asshur and Eber;
    and he also shall perish forever.”

25 Then Balaam got up and went back to his place, and Balak also went his way.

Worship of Baal of Peor

25 While Israel was staying at Shittim, the people began to have sexual relations with the women of Moab. These invited the people to the sacrifices of their gods, and the people ate and bowed down to their gods. Thus Israel yoked itself to the Baal of Peor, and the Lord’s anger was kindled against Israel. The Lord said to Moses, “Take all the chiefs of the people, and impale them in the sun before the Lord, in order that the fierce anger of the Lord may turn away from Israel.” And Moses said to the judges of Israel, “Each of you shall kill any of your people who have yoked themselves to the Baal of Peor.”

Just then one of the Israelites came and brought a Midianite woman into his family, in the sight of Moses and in the sight of the whole congregation of the Israelites, while they were weeping at the entrance of the tent of meeting. When Phinehas son of Eleazar, son of Aaron the priest, saw it, he got up and left the congregation. Taking a spear in his hand, he went after the Israelite man into the tent, and pierced the two of them, the Israelite and the woman, through the belly. So the plague was stopped among the people of Israel. Nevertheless those that died by the plague were twenty-four thousand.

10 The Lord spoke to Moses, saying: 11 “Phinehas son of Eleazar, son of Aaron the priest, has turned back my wrath from the Israelites by manifesting such zeal among them on my behalf that in my jealousy I did not consume the Israelites. 12 Therefore say, ‘I hereby grant him my covenant of peace. 13 It shall be for him and for his descendants after him a covenant of perpetual priesthood, because he was zealous for his God, and made atonement for the Israelites.’”

14 The name of the slain Israelite man, who was killed with the Midianite woman, was Zimri son of Salu, head of an ancestral house belonging to the Simeonites. 15 The name of the Midianite woman who was killed was Cozbi daughter of Zur, who was the head of a clan, an ancestral house in Midian.

16 The Lord said to Moses, 17 “Harass the Midianites, and defeat them; 18 for they have harassed you by the trickery with which they deceived you in the affair of Peor, and in the affair of Cozbi, the daughter of a leader of Midian, their sister; she was killed on the day of the plague that resulted from Peor.”

Footnotes:

  1. Numbers 23:6 Heb him
  2. Numbers 23:7 Heb he
  3. Numbers 23:10 Or fourth part
  4. Numbers 23:28 Or overlooks Jeshimon
  5. Numbers 24:3 Or closed or open
  6. Numbers 24:4 Traditional rendering of Heb Shaddai
  7. Numbers 24:8 Meaning of Heb uncertain
  8. Numbers 24:15 Or closed or open
  9. Numbers 24:16 Or of Elyon
  10. Numbers 24:16 Traditional rendering of Heb Shaddai
  11. Numbers 24:17 Or forehead
  12. Numbers 24:17 Some Mss read skull
  13. Numbers 24:18 Heb Seir, its enemies, a possession
New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Mark 7:14-37New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

14 Then he called the crowd again and said to them, “Listen to me, all of you, and understand: 15 there is nothing outside a person that by going in can defile, but the things that come out are what defile.”[a]

17 When he had left the crowd and entered the house, his disciples asked him about the parable. 18 He said to them, “Then do you also fail to understand? Do you not see that whatever goes into a person from outside cannot defile, 19 since it enters, not the heart but the stomach, and goes out into the sewer?” (Thus he declared all foods clean.) 20 And he said, “It is what comes out of a person that defiles. 21 For it is from within, from the human heart, that evil intentions come: fornication, theft, murder, 22 adultery, avarice, wickedness, deceit, licentiousness, envy, slander, pride, folly. 23 All these evil things come from within, and they defile a person.”

The Syrophoenician Woman’s Faith

24 From there he set out and went away to the region of Tyre.[b] He entered a house and did not want anyone to know he was there. Yet he could not escape notice, 25 but a woman whose little daughter had an unclean spirit immediately heard about him, and she came and bowed down at his feet. 26 Now the woman was a Gentile, of Syrophoenician origin. She begged him to cast the demon out of her daughter. 27 He said to her, “Let the children be fed first, for it is not fair to take the children’s food and throw it to the dogs.” 28 But she answered him, “Sir,[c] even the dogs under the table eat the children’s crumbs.” 29 Then he said to her, “For saying that, you may go—the demon has left your daughter.” 30 So she went home, found the child lying on the bed, and the demon gone.

Jesus Cures a Deaf Man

31 Then he returned from the region of Tyre, and went by way of Sidon towards the Sea of Galilee, in the region of the Decapolis. 32 They brought to him a deaf man who had an impediment in his speech; and they begged him to lay his hand on him. 33 He took him aside in private, away from the crowd, and put his fingers into his ears, and he spat and touched his tongue. 34 Then looking up to heaven, he sighed and said to him, “Ephphatha,” that is, “Be opened.” 35 And immediately his ears were opened, his tongue was released, and he spoke plainly. 36 Then Jesus[d] ordered them to tell no one; but the more he ordered them, the more zealously they proclaimed it. 37 They were astounded beyond measure, saying, “He has done everything well; he even makes the deaf to hear and the mute to speak.”

Footnotes:

  1. Mark 7:15 Other ancient authorities add verse 16, “Let anyone with ears to hear listen”
  2. Mark 7:24 Other ancient authorities add and Sidon
  3. Mark 7:28 Or Lord; other ancient authorities prefix Yes
  4. Mark 7:36 Gk he
New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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