The Prophecy from Peor
24 When Balaam saw that it pleased the Lord to bless Israel, he did not go as he had done each time before [superstitiously] to seek omens and signs [in the natural world], but he set his face toward the wilderness (desert). 2 And Balaam raised his eyes and he saw Israel living in their tents tribe by tribe; and the Spirit of God came on him. 3 He took up his [third] discourse (oracle) and said:
“The oracle of Balaam the son of Beor,
And the oracle of the man whose eye is opened [at last, to see clearly the purpose and will of God],
The oracle of one who hears the words of God,
Who sees the vision of the Almighty,
Falling down, but having his eyes open and uncovered,
How fair are your tents, O Jacob,
And your tabernacles, O Israel!
“Like valleys that stretch out,
Like gardens beside the river,
Like aloes planted by the Lord,
Like cedars beside the waters.(A)
“Water [that is, great blessings] will flow from his buckets,
And his offspring will live by many waters,
And his king will be higher than [a]Agag,
And his kingdom shall be exalted.
“God brought Israel out of Egypt;
Israel has [b]strength like the wild ox;
He will devour [Gentile] nations, his adversaries (enemies),
And will crush their bones in pieces,
And shatter them with his arrows.
“He bowed down [to rest], he lies down as a lion;
And as a lioness, who dares to rouse him?
Blessed [of God] is he who blesses you,
And cursed [of God] is he who curses you.”(B)
10 Then Balak’s anger was kindled against Balaam, and he struck his hands together; and Balak said to Balaam, “I called you to curse my enemies, but behold, you have done nothing but bless them these three times. 11 Therefore now flee to your place! I had intended to honor you greatly, but behold, the Lord has held you back from honor.” 12 Balaam said to Balak, “Did I not tell your messengers whom you had sent to me, 13 ‘Even if Balak would give me his house full of silver and gold, I could not go beyond the command of the Lord, to do either good or bad of my own accord. What the Lord speaks, that I will speak?’ 14 And now, look, I am going to my people; come, I will advise you as to what this people [Israel] will do to your people [Moab] in the days to come.”
15 He took up his [fourth] discourse (oracle) and said:
“The oracle of Balaam the son of Beor,
The oracle of the man whose eye is opened,
The oracle of him who hears the words of God
And knows the knowledge of the [c]Most High,
Who sees the vision of the [d]Almighty,
Falling down, but having his eyes open and uncovered:
“I see Him, but not now;
I behold Him, but not near.
A star shall come forth from [the descendants of] Jacob,
A scepter shall rise out of [the descendants of] Israel
And shall crush the forehead of Moab
And destroy all the sons of Sheth.(C)
“Edom shall be [taken as] a possession,
[Mount] Seir, Israel’s enemies, also will be a possession,
While Israel performs valiantly.
“One from [the descendants of] Jacob shall have dominion
And will destroy the remnant from the city.”
20 Balaam looked at Amalek and took up his [fifth] discourse (oracle) and said:
“Amalek was the first of the [neighboring] nations [to oppose the Israelites after they left Egypt],
But his end shall be [e]destruction.”
21 And Balaam looked at the Kenites and took up his [sixth] discourse (oracle) and said:
“Strong is your dwelling place,
And you set your nest in the cliff.
“Nevertheless the Kenites will be consumed.
How long will Asshur (Assyria) keep you (Israel) captive?”
23 Then he took up his [seventh] discourse (oracle) and said:
“Alas, who can live unless God has ordained it?
“But ships shall come from the coast of [f]Kittim,
And shall afflict Asshur (Assyria) and [g]Eber;
So they (the victors) also will come to destruction.”
25 Then Balaam arose and departed and returned to his place, and Balak also went on his way.
- Numbers 24:7 “Agag” was the title of the Amalekite kings, and here it represents the kingdom of the Gentiles. The Amalekites at that time were the most powerful of all the desert tribes (Num 24:20).
- Numbers 24:8 Lit horns.
- Numbers 24:16 Heb Elyon.
- Numbers 24:16 Heb Shaddai.
- Numbers 24:20 After the time of David, who was forced to rescue two of his wives from Amalekite bandits (1 Sam 30:18), the Amalekites are mentioned again only in Hezekiah’s time (1 Chr 4:43).
- Numbers 24:24 Cyprus and the greater part of the Mediterranean’s east coast.
- Numbers 24:24 The Hebrews, certain Arabs, and descendants of Nahor.