Numbers 24
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Balaam’s Third Oracle

1And when Balaam saw that it pleased the LORD to bless Israel, he did not resort to sorcery as on previous occasions, but he turned his face toward the wilderness. 2When Balaam looked up and saw Israel encamped tribe by tribe, the Spirit of God came upon him, 3and he lifted up an oracle, saying:

“This is the prophecy of Balaam son of Beor,

the prophecy of a man whose eyes are open,

4the prophecy of one who hears the words of God,

who sees a vision from the Almighty,a

who bows down with eyes wide open:

5How beautiful are your tents, O Jacob,

your dwellings, O Israel!

6They spread out like palm groves,b

like gardens beside a stream,

like aloes the LORD has planted,

like cedars beside the waters.

7Water will flow from his buckets,

and his seed will have abundant water.

His king will be greater than Agag,

and his kingdom will be exalted.

8God brought him out of Egypt

with strength like a wild ox,

to devour hostile nations and crush their bones,

to pierce them with arrows.

9He crouches, he lies down like a lion;

like a lioness, who dares to rouse him?

Blessed are those who bless you

and cursed are those who curse you.”

Balak Dismisses Balaam

10Then Balak’s anger burned against Balaam, and he struck his hands together and said to Balaam, “I summoned you to curse my enemies, but behold, you have persisted in blessing them these three times. 11Therefore, flee at once to your home! I said I would richly reward you, but instead the LORD has denied your reward.”

12Balaam answered Balak, “Did I not already tell the messengers you sent me 13that even if Balak were to give me his house full of silver and gold, I could not do anything of my own accord, good or bad, to go beyond the command of the LORD? I will speak whatever the LORD says. 14Now I am going back to my people, but come, let me warn you what this people will do to your people in the days to come.”

Balaam’s Fourth Oracle

15Then Balaam lifted up an oracle, saying,

“This is the prophecy of Balaam son of Beor,

the prophecy of a man whose eyes are open,

16the prophecy of one who hears the words of God,

who has knowledge from the Most High,

who sees a vision from the Almighty,

who bows down with eyes wide open:

17I see him, but not now;

I behold him, but not near.

A star will come forth from Jacob,

and a scepter will arise from Israel.

He will crush the skullsc of Moab

and strike down all the sons of Sheth.

18Edom will become a possession,

Seir will be owned by his enemies,

but Israel will perform with valor.

19A ruler will come from Jacob

and destroy the survivors of the city.”

Balaam’s Final Three Oracles

20Then Balaam saw Amalek and lifted up an oracle, saying:

“Amalek was first among the nations,

but his end shall be destruction.”

21Next he saw the Kenites and lifted up an oracle, saying:

“Your dwelling place is secure,

and your nest is set in a cliff.

22Yet Kain will be destroyed

when Asshur takes you captive.”

23Once more Balaam lifted up an oracle, saying:

“Ah, who can live

unless God has ordained it?

24Ships will come from the coasts of Cyprus;d

they will subdue Asshur and Eber,

but they too will perish forever.”

25Then Balaam arose and returned to his homeland, and Balak also went on his way.

Footnotes:

4 a Hebrew Shaddai; also in verse 16
6 b Or like valleys
17 c SP foreheads; Hebrew corners (of the head); LXX princes
24 d Hebrew Kittim

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