Números 23

1 He said to Balak: »Build seven altars here for me. Then bring me seven bulls and seven rams.«

2 Balak did as he was told. He and Balaam offered a bull and a ram on each altar.

3 Then Balaam said to Balak: »Stand here by your burnt offering. I will go to see whether or not Jehovah will meet me. I will tell you what he reveals to me.« So he went alone to the top of a hill.

4 God met him and Balaam said to God: »I have built the seven altars and offered a bull and a ram on each.«

5 Jehovah told Balaam: »Go back to Balak and give him my message.«

6 He went back to Balak and found him standing beside his burnt offering with all the princes of Moab.

7 Balaam delivered this message: »Balak brought me from Aram. The king of Moab summoned me from the eastern mountains. Come and curse Jacob for me,« he said. ‘Come and condemn Israel.

8 »‘How can I curse those whom God has not cursed? How can I condemn those whom Jehovah has not condemned?

9 »‘I see them from the top of rocky cliffs. I look at them from the hills. I see a nation that lives by itself! These are people who do not consider themselves to be like other nations.

10 »‘The descendants of Jacob are like specks of dust. Who can count them or number even one-fourth of the people of Israel? Let me die the death of innocent people. Let my end be like theirs.’«

11 Balak responded to Balaam: »What have you done to me? I brought you here to curse my enemies, but all you have done is bless them!«

12 Balaam answered: »I must say what Jehovah tells me to say.«

13 Balak said: »Please come with me to another place, where you can see the Israelites. You will see only some of them, not all of them. Curse them for me from there.«

14 So he took him to the Field of Zophim on top of Mount Pisgah. He built seven altars there. He offered a bull and a ram on each altar.

15 Then Balaam said to Balak: »Stay here beside your burnt offering while I meet with God over there.«

16 Jehovah met Balaam and told him what to say. He sent him back to Balak to give him his message.

17 So he returned and found Balak still standing by his burnt offering. He was with the leaders of Moab. Balak asked what Jehovah said.

18 Balaam uttered this prophecy: »Come, Balak son of Zippor, and listen to what I have to say.

19 »God is a not man that he should lie. He is not a son of man who changes his mind. Does he ever promise and not fulfill? Does he ever speak and not act?

20 »I have been instructed to bless. And when God blesses, I cannot call it back.

21 »He has not observed wickedness in Jacob. Nor has he seen trouble in Israel! Jehovah his God is with him and the shout of a king is among them.

22 »God brings them out of Egypt. He is for them like the horns of the wild bull.

23 »For there is omen spell against Jacob, Nor is there any divination against Israel. At the proper time it will be said to Jacob and Israel: What God has done!

24 »Behold, the nation of Israel! It is like a mighty lion: It will rise and not lie down again until it has torn and devoured it’s pray. It will drink the blood of those it has killed.«

25 Balak said to Balaam: »You refuse to curse malign the people of Israel, but at least do not bless them!«

26 Balaam answered: »Did I not tell you that I must do everything Jehovah tells me?«

27 Balak replied: »Come with me. I will take you to another place. Perhaps God will be willing to let you curse them for me from there.«

28 So he took Balaam to the top of Mount Peor overlooking the desert.

29 Balaam said to him: »Build seven altars for me here and bring me seven bulls and seven rams.«

30 Balak did as he was told. He offered a bull and a ram on each altar.