Numbers Chapter 23  PDF  MSWord

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Go to Commentary on Num 23
Balaam’s First Message

1Balaam said to Balak, “Build me here seven altars, and prepare me here seven bulls and seven rams.”
  2Balak did as Balaam had spoken; and Balak and Balaam offered on every altar a bull and a ram.
  3Balaam said to Balak, “Stand by your burnt offering, and I will go; perhaps Yahweh will come to meet me, and whatever he shows me I will tell you.” He went to a bare height.

4God met Balaam, and he said to him, “I have prepared the seven altars and I have offered up a bull and a ram on every altar.”
  5Yahweh put a word in Balaam’s mouth and said, “Return to Balak, and thus you are to speak.”

6He returned to him, and behold, he was standing by his burnt offering, he and all the officials of Moab.

7He took up his parable, and said, “From Aram has Balak brought me, the king of Moab from the mountains of the East. Come, curse Jacob for me. Come, defy Israel.
  8How can I curse whom God has not cursed? How can I defy whom Yahweh has not defied?
  9For from the top of the rocks I see him. From the hills I see him. Behold, it is a people that dwells alone, and will not be reckoned among the nations.
  10Who can count the dust of Jacob or number the fourth part of Israel? Let me die the death of the righteous! Let my last end be like his!”

11Balak said to Balaam, “What have you done to me? I took you to curse my enemies, and behold, you have blessed them altogether.”

12He answered and said, “Must I not take heed to speak what Yahweh puts in my mouth?”

Balaam’s Second Message

13Balak said to him, “Please come with me to another place, where you may see them; you will see but the utmost part of them, and will not see them all; and curse me them from there.”
  14He took him into the field of Zophim, to the top of Pisgah, and built seven altars and offered up a bull and a ram on every altar.

15He said to Balak, “Stand here by your burnt offering, while I meet over there.”

16Yahweh met Balaam and put a word in his mouth and said, “Return to Balak and say this.”

17He came to him, and behold, he was standing by his burnt offering, and the officials of Moab with him. Balak said to him, “What has Yahweh spoken?”

18He took up his parable and said, “Rise up, Balak, and hear! Listen to me, you son of Zippor.
  19God is not a man, that he should lie, nor the son of man, 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 good?
  20Behold, I have received a command to bless. He has blessed, and I cannot reverse it.
  21He has not seen iniquity in Jacob, nor has he seen perverseness in Israel. Yahweh his God is with him. The shout of a king is among them.
  22God is bringing them out of Egypt. He has as it were the strength of the wild ox.
  23Surely there is no enchantment with Jacob, nor is there any divination with Israel. Now it will be said of Jacob and of Israel, What has God done!
  24Behold, the people rise up as a lioness, as a lion he lifts himself up. He will not lie down until he eats of the prey, and drinks the blood of the slain.”

25Balak said to Balaam, “Neither curse them at all, nor bless them at all!”

26But Balaam answered Balak, “Did I not tell you, saying, ‘All that Yahweh speaks, that I must do?’”

27Balak said to Balaam, “Come now, I will take you to another place; perhaps it will please God that you curse them for me from there.”
  28Balak took Balaam to the top of Peor that looks down on the desert.

29Balaam said to Balak, “Build me here seven altars and prepare me here seven bulls and seven rams.”
  30Balak did as Balaam had said and offered up a bull and a ram on every altar.

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