Numbers 23
A Curse Turns to Blessings
1Then Balaam said to Balak, “Build me seven altars here and prepare for me here seven bulls and seven rams.”
2So Balak did just as Balaam had said. Balak and Balaam offered a bull and a ram on each altar.
3Balaam said to Balak, “Stay here beside your offering. I will go and perhaps Adonai will meet me. Whatever message He shows me, I will tell you. Then he went to a barren height.
4God met with Balaam and he said to Him, “I have prepared seven altars, and on each altar I offered a bull and a ram.”
5Adonai put a message into Balaam’s mouth and said, “Return to Balak and speak this.”
6Balaam went back to him. Behold, he was standing beside his offering with all the princes of Moab.
7Then he uttered his oracle and said, “From Aram, Balak brought me, Moab’s king from the mountains of the east: ‘Come! Curse Jacob for me! ‘Come! Denounce Israel!’
8How can I curse one whom God has not cursed? How can I denounce one whom Adonai has not denounced?
9From the rocky peaks I see him. From the heights I behold him. Look, he lives as a nation apart, and does not consider himself as being like the other nations.
10Who can count Jacob’s dust? Who can number a fourth of Israel? Let my soul die the death of the upright, and let my end be like his!”
11Balak said to Balaam, “What have you done to me? I brought you to curse my enemies, but look, you’ve actually blessed them!”
12But in response he said, “Mustn’t I speak whatever Adonai puts into my mouth?”
13Then Balak said to him, “Come now with me to another place where you can see a part of them only, not all of them. Curse them for me from there.”
14He took him to Lookout Field on top of Pisgah. He built seven altars and offered a bull and a ram on each altar.
15“Stay here beside your offering,” he said to Balak, “while I am meeting over there.”
16Adonai met Balaam there and put a message into his mouth, and said, “Return to Balak and speak thus.”
17So he went to him, and behold, he and the princes of Moab were standing beside his offering. Balak asked him, “What did Adonai say?”
18So he uttered his oracle and said: “Rise, Balak! Hear me, son of Zippor!
19God is not a man who lies, or a son of man who changes his mind! Does He speak and then not do it, or promise and not fulfill it?
20Look, I received a command to bless. He has blessed—I cannot change it!
21No misfortune is to be seen in Jacob, and no misery in Israel! Adonai their God is with them —the King’s shout is among them!
22God is bringing them from Egypt with the strong horns of the wild ox!
23There is no sorcery effective against Jacob, nor any divination against Israel! Now it will be said of Jacob and Israel, ‘See what God has done!’
24The people rise like a lioness, like a lion who does not rest until he eats his prey and drinks his victim’s blood!”
25Then Balak said to Balaam, “Do not curse them or bless them at all!”
26Balaam answered and said to Balak, “Haven’t I told you, ‘All that Adonai says, I must do?’
27Balak said to Balaam, “Come with me to another place. Perhaps it will be pleasing to God and you may curse them for me from there.”
28So Balak took Balaam to the top of Peor, overlooking the wasteland.
29Balaam said to Balak, “Build me seven altars here, and prepare seven bulls and seven rams for me.”
30Balak did just as Balaam said, and offered a bull and a ram on each altar.

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