Numbers 23-25 Revised Standard Version

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23 And Balaam said to Balak, "Build for me here seven altars, and provide for me here seven bulls and seven rams." 2  Balak did as Balaam had said; and Balak and Balaam offered on each altar a bull and a ram. 3  And Balaam said to Balak, "Stand beside your burnt offering, and I will go; perhaps the Lord will come to meet me; and whatever he shows me I will tell you." And he went to a bare height. 4  And God met Balaam; and Balaam said to him, "I have prepared the seven altars, and I have offered upon each altar a bull and a ram. 5  And the Lord put a word in Balaam's mouth, and said, "Return to Balak, and thus you shall speak." 6  And he returned to him, and lo, he and all the princes of Moab were standing beside his burnt offering. 7  And Balaam took up his discourse, and said, "From Aram Balak has brought me, the king of Moab from the eastern mountains: 'Come, curse Jacob for me, and come, denounce Israel!' 8  How can I curse whom God has not cursed? How can I denounce whom the Lord has not denounced? 9  For from the top of the mountains I see him, from the hills I behold him; lo, a people dwelling alone, and not reckoning itself 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 righteous, and let my end be like his!" 11  And Balak said to Balaam, "What have you done to me? I took you to curse my enemies, and behold, you have done nothing but bless them." 12  And he answered, "Must I not take heed to speak what the Lord puts in my mouth?"

13  And Balak said to him, "Come with me to another place, from which you may see them; you shall see only the nearest of them, and shall not see them all; then curse them for me from there." 14  And he took him to the field of Zophim, to the top of Pisgah, and built seven altars, and offered a bull and a ram on each altar 15  Balaam said to Balak, "Stand here beside your burnt offering, while I meet the Lord yonder." 16  And the Lord met Balaam, and put a word in his mouth, and said, "Return to Balak, and thus shall you speak." 17  And he came to him, and, lo, he was standing beside his burnt offering, and the princes of Moab with him. And Balak said to him, "What has the Lord spoken?" 18  And Balaam took up his discourse, and said, "Rise, Balak, and hear; hearken to me, O son of Zippor: 19  God is not man, that he should lie, or a son of man, that he should repent. Has he said, and will he not do it? Or has he spoken, and will he not fulfil it 20  Behold, 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, and the shout of a king is among them 22  God brings them out of Egypt; they have as it were the horns of the wild ox. 23  For there is no enchantment against Jacob, no divination against Israel; now it shall be said of Jacob and Israel, 'What has God wrought!' 24  Behold, a people! As a lioness it rises up and as a lion it lifts itself; it does not lie down till it devours the prey, and drinks the blood of the slain." 25  And Balak said to Balaam, "Neither curse them at all, nor bless them at all." 26  But Balaam answered Balak, "Did I not tell you, 'All that the Lord says, that I must do'?" 27  And 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 Pe'or, that overlooks the desert. 29  And Balaam said to Balak, "Build for me here seven altars, and provide for me here seven bulls and seven rams." 30  And Balak did as Balaam had said, and offered a bull and a ram on each altar.

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. 2  And Balaam lifted up his eyes, and saw Israel encamping tribe by tribe. And the Spirit of God came upon him, 3  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, 4  the oracle of him who hears the words of God, who sees the vision of the Almighty, falling down, but having his eyes uncovered: 5  how fair are your tents, O Jacob, your encampments, O Israel! 6  Like valleys that stretch afar, like gardens beside a river, like aloes that the Lord has planted, like cedar trees beside the waters. 7  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. 8  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. 9  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 Prophecy

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'? 14  And now, behold, I am going to my people; come, I will let you know what this people will do to your people in the latter days."

15  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, 16  the oracle of him who hears the words of God, and knows the knowledge of the Most High, who sees the vision of the Almighty, falling down, but having his eyes uncovered: 17  I see him, but not now; I behold him, but not nigh: a star shall come forth out of Jacob, and a scepter shall rise out of Israel; it shall crush the forehead of Moab, and break down all the sons of Sheth. 18  Edom shall be dispossessed, Se'ir also, his enemies, shall be dispossessed, while Israel does valiantly. 19  By Jacob shall dominion be exercised, and the survivors of cities be destroyed!" 20  Then he looked on Am'alek, and took up his discourse, and said, "Am'alek was the first of the nations, but in the end he shall come to destruction." 21  And he looked on the Ken'ite, and took up his discourse, and said, "Enduring is your dwelling place, and your nest is set in the rock; 22  nevertheless Kain shall be wasted. How long shall Asshur take you away captive?" 23  And he took up his discourse, and said, "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 come to destruction." 25  Then Balaam rose, and went back to his place; and Balak also went his way.

Israel Worships Baal-peor

25 While Israel dwelt in Shittim the people began to play the harlot with the daughters of Moab. 2  These invited the people to the sacrifices of their gods, and the people ate, and bowed down to their gods. 3  So Israel yoked himself to Ba'al of Pe'or. And the anger of the Lord was kindled against Israel; 4  and the Lord said to Moses, "Take all the chiefs of the people, and hang them in the sun before the Lord, that the fierce anger of the Lord may turn away from Israel." 5  And Moses said to the judges of Israel, "Every one of you slay his men who have yoked themselves to Ba'al of Pe'or."

6  And behold, one of the people of Israel came and brought a Mid'ianite woman to his family, in the sight of Moses and in the sight of the whole congregation of the people of Israel, while they were weeping at the door of the tent of meeting. 7  When Phin'ehas the son of Elea'zar, son of Aaron the priest, saw it, he rose and left the congregation, and took a spear in his hand 8  and went after the man of Israel into the inner room, and pierced both of them, the man of Israel and the woman, through her body. Thus the plague was stayed from the people of Israel. 9  Nevertheless those that died by the plague were twenty-four thousand. 10  And the Lord said to Moses, 11  "Phin'ehas the son of Elea'zar, son of Aaron the priest, has turned back my wrath from the people of Israel, in that he was jealous with my jealousy among them, so that I did not consume the people of Israel in my jealousy. 12  Therefore say, 'Behold, I give to him my covenant of peace; 13  and it shall be to him, and to his descendants after him, the covenant of a perpetual priesthood, because he was jealous for his God, and made atonement for the people of Israel.'" 14  The name of the slain man of Israel, who was slain with the Mid'ianite woman, was Zimri the son of Salu, head of a fathers' house belonging to the Simeonites. 15  And the name of the Mid'ianite woman who was slain was Cozbi the daughter of Zur, who was the head of the people of a fathers' house in Mid'ian.

16  And the Lord said to Moses, 17  "Harass the Mid'ianites, and smite them; 18  for they have harassed you with their wiles, with which they beguiled you in the matter of Pe'or, and in the matter of Cozbi, the daughter of the prince of Mid'ian, their sister, who was slain on the day of the plague on account of Pe'or."

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