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Numbers 24:1-13 Revised Standard Version (RSV)

Balaam’s Third Oracle

24 When Balaam saw that it pleased the Lord to bless Israel, he did not go, as at other times, to look for omens, but set his face toward the wilderness. And Balaam lifted up his eyes, and saw Israel encamping tribe by tribe. And the Spirit of God came upon him, and he took up his discourse, and said,

“The oracle of Balaam the son of Be′or,
    the oracle of the man whose eye is opened,[a]
the oracle of him who hears the words of God,
    who sees the vision of the Almighty,
    falling down, but having his eyes uncovered:
How fair are your tents, O Jacob,
    your encampments, O Israel!
Like valleys that stretch afar,
    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 be in many waters,
his king shall be higher than Agag,
    and his kingdom shall be exalted.
God brings him out of Egypt;
    he has as it were the horns of the wild ox,
he shall eat up the nations his adversaries,
    and shall break their bones in pieces,
    and pierce them through with his arrows.
He couched, he lay down like a lion,
    and like a lioness; who will rouse him up?
Blessed be every one who blesses you,
    and cursed be every one who curses you.”

Balaam’s Fourth Oracle

10 And Balak’s anger was kindled against Balaam, and he struck his hands together; and Balak said to Balaam, “I called you to curse my enemies, and behold, you have blessed them these three times. 11 Therefore now flee to your place; I said, ‘I will certainly honor you,’ but the Lord has held you back from honor.” 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 speaks, that will I speak’?

Footnotes:

  1. Numbers 24:3 Or closed or perfect
Revised Standard Version (RSV)

Revised Standard Version of the Bible, copyright © 1946, 1952, and 1971 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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