23
Balaam's First Message From God
1Balaam said to Balak, "Build me seven altars here. Prepare seven bulls and seven rams for me to sacrifice." 2Balak did just as Balaam said. The two of them offered a bull and a ram on each altar.
3Then Balaam said to Balak, "Stay here beside your offering. I'll go and try to find out what the Lord wants me to do. Maybe he'll come and meet with me. Then I'll tell you what he says to me." So Balaam went off to a bare hilltop.
4God met with him there. Balaam said, "I've prepared seven altars. On each altar I've offered a bull and a ram."
5The Lord put a message in Balaam's mouth. The Lord said, "Go back to Balak. Give him my message."
6So Balaam went back to him. He found Balak standing beside his offering. All of the princes of Moab were with him.
7Then Balaam spoke the message he had received from God. He said, "Balak brought me from the land of Aram.
The king of Moab sent for me from the mountains in the east.
'Come,' he said. 'Put a curse on Jacob's people for me.
Come. Speak against Israel.'
8But how can I put a curse on
people God hasn't cursed?
How can I speak against
people the Lord hasn't spoken against?
9I see them from the rocky peaks.
I view them from the hills.
I see a group of people who live by themselves.
They don't consider themselves to be one of the nations.
10Jacob's people are like the dust of the earth.
Can dust be counted?
Who can count even a fourth of the people of Israel?
Let me die as godly people die.
Let my death be like theirs!"
11Balak said to Balaam, "What have you done to me? I brought you here to put a curse on my enemies! But all you have done is give them a blessing!"
12He answered, "I have to speak only the words the Lord puts in my mouth."
Balaam's Second Message From God
13Then Balak said to Balaam, "Come with me to another place. You can see the people of Israel from there. You will see only some of them. You won't see all of them. From there, put a curse on them for me."
14So Balak took Balaam to the field of Zophim. It was on the highest slopes of Pisgah. There he built seven altars. He offered a bull and a ram on each altar.
15Balaam said to Balak, "Stay here beside your offering. I'll meet with the Lord over there."
16The Lord met with Balaam. He put a message in Balaam's mouth. The Lord said, "Go back to Balak. Give him my message."
17So he went to him. He found him standing beside his offering. The princes of Moab were with him. Balak asked him, "What did the Lord say?"
18Then Balaam spoke the message he had received from God. He said, "Balak, rise up and listen.
Son of Zippor, hear me.
19God isn't a mere man. He can't lie.
He isn't a human being. He doesn't change his mind.
He speaks, and then he acts.
He makes a promise, and then he keeps it.
20He has commanded me to bless Israel.
He has given them his blessing. And I can't change it.
21"I don't see any trouble coming on the people of Jacob.
I don't see any suffering in Israel.
The Lord their God is with them.
The shout of the King is among them.
22God brought them out of Egypt.
They are as strong as a wild ox.
23There isn't any magic that can hurt the people of Jacob.
No one can use magic words to harm Israel.
Here is what will be said about the people of Jacob.
Here is what will be said about Israel.
People will say, 'See what God has done!'
24The people of Israel are going to wake up like a female lion.
They are going to get up like a male lion.
They are like a lion that won't rest
until it eats what it has caught.
They are like a lion that won't rest
until it drinks the blood of what it has killed."
25Then Balak said to Balaam, "Don't put a curse on them at all! And don't give them a blessing at all!"
26Balaam answered, "Didn't I tell you that I have to do only what the Lord says?"
Balaam's Third Message From God
27Then Balak said to Balaam, "Come. Let me take you to another place. Perhaps God will be pleased to let you put a curse on them for me from there." 28Balak took Balaam to the top of Mount Peor. It looks out over a dry and empty land.
29Balaam said, "Build me seven altars here. Prepare seven bulls and seven rams for me to sacrifice." 30Balak did just as Balaam said. He offered a bull and a ram on each altar.
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