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24 By now Balaam realized that the Lord was determined to bless Israel, so he did not resort to divination as before. Instead, he turned and looked out toward the wilderness, where he saw the people of Israel camped, tribe by tribe. Then the Spirit of God came upon him, and this is the message he delivered:

“This is the message of Balaam son of Beor,
    the message of the man whose eyes see clearly,
the message of one who hears the words of God,
    who sees a vision from the Almighty,
    who bows down with eyes wide open:
How beautiful are your tents, O Jacob;
    how lovely are your homes, O Israel!
They spread before me like palm groves,[a]
    like gardens by the riverside.
They are like tall trees planted by the Lord,
    like cedars beside the waters.
Water will flow from their buckets;
    their offspring have all they need.
Their king will be greater than Agag;
    their kingdom will be exalted.
God brought them out of Egypt;
    for them he is as strong as a wild ox.
He devours all the nations that oppose him,
    breaking their bones in pieces,
    shooting them with arrows.
Like a lion, Israel crouches and lies down;
    like a lioness, who dares to arouse her?
Blessed is everyone who blesses you, O Israel,
    and cursed is everyone who curses you.”

10 King Balak flew into a rage against Balaam. He angrily clapped his hands and shouted, “I called you to curse my enemies! Instead, you have blessed them three times. 11 Now get out of here! Go back home! I promised to reward you richly, but the Lord has kept you from your reward.”

12 Balaam told Balak, “Don’t you remember what I told your messengers? I said, 13 ‘Even if Balak were to give me his palace filled with silver and gold, I would be powerless to do anything against the will of the Lord.’ I told you that I could say only what the Lord says! 14 Now I am returning to my own people. But first let me tell you what the Israelites will do to your people in the future.”

Balaam’s Final Messages

15 This is the message Balaam delivered:

“This is the message of Balaam son of Beor,
    the message of the man whose eyes see clearly,
16 the message 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:
17 I see him, but not here and now.
    I perceive him, but far in the distant future.
A star will rise from Jacob;
    a scepter will emerge from Israel.
It will crush the heads of Moab’s people,
    cracking the skulls[b] of the people of Sheth.
18 Edom will be taken over,
    and Seir, its enemy, will be conquered,
    while Israel marches on in triumph.
19 A ruler will rise in Jacob
    who will destroy the survivors of Ir.”

20 Then Balaam looked over toward the people of Amalek and delivered this message:

“Amalek was the greatest of nations,
    but its destiny is destruction!”

21 Then he looked over toward the Kenites and delivered this message:

“Your home is secure;
    your nest is set in the rocks.
22 But the Kenites will be destroyed
    when Assyria[c] takes you captive.”

23 Balaam concluded his messages by saying:

“Alas, who can survive
    unless God has willed it?
24 Ships will come from the coasts of Cyprus[d];
    they will oppress Assyria and afflict Eber,
    but they, too, will be utterly destroyed.”

25 Then Balaam left and returned home, and Balak also went on his way.

Footnotes

  1. 24:6 Or like a majestic valley.
  2. 24:17 As in Samaritan Pentateuch; the meaning of the Hebrew word is uncertain.
  3. 24:22 Hebrew Asshur; also in 24:24.
  4. 24:24 Hebrew Kittim.

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.

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