1Since Balaam saw that it pleased the Lord to bless Israel, he did not go to seek omens as on previous occasions, but turned # Lit set his face toward the wilderness. 2When Balaam looked up and saw Israel encamped tribe by tribe, the Spirit of God # Ex 35:31; Nm 11:17,25-26,29; 1Sm 10:10 came on him, 3and he proclaimed his poem:
The oracle of Balaam son of Beor,
the oracle of the man whose eyes are opened, # LXX reads true ; Vg reads closed
4the oracle of one who hears the sayings of God,
who sees a vision from the Almighty, # Is 13:6,9; Ezk 30:2-3; Jl 2:1-2,11,31
who falls into a trance with his eyes uncovered:
5How beautiful are your tents, Jacob,
your dwellings, Israel.
6They stretch out like river valleys, # Or like date palms
like gardens beside a stream,
like aloes the Lord has planted,
like cedars beside the water.
7Water will flow from his buckets,
and his seed will be by abundant water.
His king will be greater than Agag, # Sam, LXX, Sym, Theod read Gog # Ex 17:14-16; 1Sm 15:8-33
and his kingdom will be exalted.
8God brought him out of Egypt;
He is like # Or He has the horns of a wild ox for them. # Nm 23:22
He will feed on enemy nations
and gnaw their bones;
he will strike them with his arrows.
9He crouches, he lies down like a lion
or a lioness — who dares to rouse him? # Gn 49:9; Nm 23:24
Those who bless you will be blessed,
and those who curse you will be cursed. # Gn 12:3; 27:29
10Then Balak became furious with Balaam, struck his hands together, and said to him, “I summoned you to put a curse on my enemies, but instead, you have blessed them these three times. 11Now go to your home! I said I would reward you richly, # Nm 22:17 but look, the Lord has denied you a reward.”
12Balaam answered Balak, “Didn’t I previously tell the messengers you sent me: 13If Balak were to give me his house full of silver and gold, I could not go against the Lord’s command, to do anything good or bad of my own will? I will say whatever the Lord says. # Nm 22:18,38 14Now I am going back to my people, but first, let me warn you what these people will do to your people in the future.”
Balaam’s Fourth Oracle
15Then he proclaimed his poem:
The oracle of Balaam son of Beor,
the oracle of the man whose eyes are opened; # LXX reads true ; Vg reads closed
16the oracle of one who hears the sayings of God
and has knowledge from the Most High,
who sees a vision from the Almighty,
who falls into a trance with his eyes uncovered: # Nm 24:3-4
17I see him, # Or Him but not now;
I perceive him, # Or Him but not near.
A star will come from Jacob,
and a scepter will arise from Israel. # Gn 49:10; Mt 2:2; Rv 22:16
He will smash the forehead # Or frontiers of Moab
and strike down # Sam reads and the skulls of ; Jr 48:45 all the Shethites. # Or Sethites
18Edom will become a possession;
Seir # Gn 32:3 will become a possession of its enemies,
but Israel will be triumphant.
19One who comes from Jacob will rule;
he will destroy the city’s survivors.
20Then Balaam saw Amalek and proclaimed his poem:
Amalek was first among the nations, # Ex 17:8-16; 1Sm 15
but his future is destruction.
21Next he saw the Kenites and proclaimed his poem:
Your dwelling place is enduring;
your nest is set in the cliffs.
22Kain will be destroyed
when Asshur takes you captive.
23Once more he proclaimed his poem:
Ah, who can live when God does this?
24Ships will come from the coast of Kittim; # Gn 10:4; Is 23:1,12; Jr 2:10; Dn 11:30
they will afflict Asshur and Eber, # Gn 10:21,24-25; 11:14-27
but they too will come to destruction.
25Balaam then arose and went back to his homeland, and Balak also went his way.