24 Since Balaam saw that it pleased the Lord to bless Israel, he did not go to seek omens as on previous occasions, but turned[a] toward the wilderness. When Balaam looked up and saw Israel encamped tribe by tribe, the Spirit of God(A) came on him, and he proclaimed his poem:

The oracle of Balaam son of Beor,
the oracle of the man whose eyes are opened,
the oracle of one who hears the sayings of God,
who sees a vision from the Almighty,(B)
who falls into a trance with his eyes uncovered:
How beautiful are your tents, Jacob,
your dwellings, Israel.
They stretch out like river valleys,[b]
like gardens beside a stream,
like aloes the Lord has planted,
like cedars beside the water.
Water will flow from his buckets,
and his seed will be by abundant water.
His king will be greater than Agag,(C)
and his kingdom will be exalted.
God brought him out of Egypt;
he is like[c] the horns of a wild ox for them.(D)
He will feed on enemy nations
and gnaw their bones;
he will strike them with his arrows.
He crouches, he lies down like a lion
or a lioness—who dares to rouse him?(E)
Those who bless you will be blessed,
and those who curse you will be cursed.(F)

10 Then 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. 11 Now go to your home! I said I would reward you richly,(G) but look, the Lord has denied you a reward.”

12 Balaam answered Balak, “Didn’t I previously tell the messengers you sent me: 13 If 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.(H) 14 Now 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

15 Then he proclaimed his poem:

The oracle of Balaam son of Beor,
the oracle of the man whose eyes are opened;
16 the 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:(I)
17 I see him, but not now;
I perceive him, but not near.
A star will come from Jacob,
and a scepter will arise from Israel.(J)
He will smash the forehead[d] of Moab
and strike down[e] all the Shethites.[f]
18 Edom will become a possession;
Seir(K) will become a possession of its enemies,
but Israel will be triumphant.
19 One who comes from Jacob will rule;
he will destroy the city’s survivors.

20 Then Balaam saw Amalek and proclaimed his poem:

Amalek was first among the nations,(L)
but his future is destruction.

21 Next he saw the Kenites and proclaimed his poem:

Your dwelling place is enduring;
your nest is set in the cliffs.
22 Kain will be destroyed
when Asshur takes you captive.

23 Once more he proclaimed his poem:

Ah, who can live when God does this?
24 Ships will come from the coast of Kittim;(M)
they will carry out raids against Asshur and Eber,(N)
but they too will come to destruction.

25 Balaam then arose and went back to his homeland, and Balak also went his way.

Footnotes

  1. 24:1 Lit set his face
  2. 24:6 Or like date palms
  3. 24:8 Or he has
  4. 24:17 Or frontiers
  5. 24:17 Sam reads and the skulls of; Jr 48:45
  6. 24:17 Or Sethites

24 Now when Balaam saw that it pleased the Lord to bless Israel,(A) he did not resort to divination(B) as at other times, but turned his face toward the wilderness.(C) When Balaam looked out and saw Israel encamped tribe by tribe, the Spirit of God came on him(D) and he spoke his message:

“The prophecy of Balaam son of Beor,
    the prophecy of one whose eye sees clearly,(E)
the prophecy of one who hears the words of God,(F)
    who sees a vision from the Almighty,[a](G)
    who falls prostrate, and whose eyes are opened:

“How beautiful are your tents,(H) Jacob,
    your dwelling places, Israel!

“Like valleys they spread out,
    like gardens beside a river,(I)
like aloes(J) planted by the Lord,
    like cedars beside the waters.(K)
Water will flow from their buckets;
    their seed will have abundant water.

“Their king will be greater than Agag;(L)
    their kingdom will be exalted.(M)

“God brought them out of Egypt;
    they have the strength of a wild ox.
They devour hostile nations
    and break their bones in pieces;(N)
    with their arrows they pierce them.(O)
Like a lion they crouch and lie down,
    like a lioness(P)—who dares to rouse them?

“May those who bless you be blessed(Q)
    and those who curse you be cursed!”(R)

10 Then Balak’s anger burned(S) against Balaam. He struck his hands together(T) and said to him, “I summoned you to curse my enemies,(U) but you have blessed them(V) these three times.(W) 11 Now leave at once and go home!(X) I said I would reward you handsomely,(Y) but the Lord has kept you from being rewarded.”

12 Balaam answered Balak, “Did I not tell the messengers you sent me,(Z) 13 ‘Even if Balak gave me all the silver and gold in his palace, I could not do anything of my own accord, good or bad, to go beyond the command of the Lord(AA)—and I must say only what the Lord says’?(AB) 14 Now I am going back to my people, but come, let me warn you of what this people will do to your people in days to come.”(AC)

Balaam’s Fourth Message

15 Then he spoke his message:

“The prophecy of Balaam son of Beor,
    the prophecy of one whose eye sees clearly,
16 the prophecy of one who hears the words(AD) of God,
    who has knowledge from the Most High,(AE)
who sees a vision from the Almighty,
    who falls prostrate, and whose eyes are opened:

17 “I see him, but not now;
    I behold him, but not near.(AF)
A star will come out of Jacob;(AG)
    a scepter will rise out of Israel.(AH)
He will crush the foreheads of Moab,(AI)
    the skulls[b](AJ) of[c] all the people of Sheth.[d]
18 Edom(AK) will be conquered;
    Seir,(AL) his enemy, will be conquered,(AM)
    but Israel(AN) will grow strong.
19 A ruler will come out of Jacob(AO)
    and destroy the survivors of the city.”

Balaam’s Fifth Message

20 Then Balaam saw Amalek(AP) and spoke his message:

“Amalek was first among the nations,
    but their end will be utter destruction.”(AQ)

Balaam’s Sixth Message

21 Then he saw the Kenites(AR) and spoke his message:

“Your dwelling place is secure,(AS)
    your nest is set in a rock;
22 yet you Kenites will be destroyed
    when Ashur(AT) takes you captive.”

Balaam’s Seventh Message

23 Then he spoke his message:

“Alas! Who can live when God does this?[e]
24     Ships will come from the shores of Cyprus;(AU)
they will subdue Ashur(AV) and Eber,(AW)
    but they too will come to ruin.(AX)

25 Then Balaam(AY) got up and returned home, and Balak went his own way.

Footnotes

  1. Numbers 24:4 Hebrew Shaddai; also in verse 16
  2. Numbers 24:17 Samaritan Pentateuch (see also Jer. 48:45); the meaning of the word in the Masoretic Text is uncertain.
  3. Numbers 24:17 Or possibly Moab, / batter
  4. Numbers 24:17 Or all the noisy boasters
  5. Numbers 24:23 Masoretic Text; with a different word division of the Hebrew The people from the islands will gather from the north.

Bible Gateway Sponsors