Add parallel Print Page Options

How Lovely the Tents of Jacob

24 When Balaam realized that it was pleasing in the eyes of Adonai to bless Israel, he did not resort to sorceries as at the other times, but turned his face toward the wilderness. Lifting up his eyes, Balaam saw Israel dwelling by tribes. The Ruach Elohim came over him. He uttered his oracle and said:

“This is the oracle of Balaam son of Beor,
    and the oracle of a strong man whose eye has been opened,
the oracle of one hearing God’s speech,
one seeing Shaddai’s vision,
one fallen down, yet with open eyes:
How lovely are your tents, O Jacob,
    and your dwellings, O Israel!
Like valleys they are spread out,
like gardens beside a river,
like aloes planted by Adonai,
like cedars beside the waters.
Water will flow from his buckets,
his seed by abundant water.
His king will be greater than Agag,
    his kingdom will be exalted.
God is bringing him out of Egypt.
like the strong horns of a wild ox.
He devours nations hostile to him.
He will crush their bones.
His arrows will pierce them.
He crouches like a lion or a lioness—
who would rouse him?
He who blesses you will be blessed,
and he who curses you will be cursed.”

10 Then Balak became furious at Balaam, and struck his hands together. Balak said to Balaam, “I summoned you to curse my enemies, but look, you have blessed them these three times! 11 Now, go home! I said I would reward you, but see, Adonai has kept you from reward!”

12 Balaam answered Balak, “Didn’t I indeed tell your messengers whom you sent to me saying: 13 ‘If Balak were to give me his house full of silver and gold, I could not go beyond the mouth of Adonai, to do good or bad from my own heart? Whatever Adonai may speak, I will speak!’ 14 Now, behold, I am going back to my people. Come, let me counsel you what these people will do to your people in the latter days. 15 Then he uttered his oracle:

The oracle of Balaam son of Beor,
    the strong man whose eye is opened,
16 the oracle of one hearing God’s speech,
one experiencing Elyon’s knowledge,
one seeing Shaddai’s vision,
one fallen down,
yet with open eyes:
17 ‘I see him, yet not at this moment.
I behold him, yet not in this location.
For a star will come from Jacob,
    a scepter will arise from Israel.[a]
He will crush the foreheads of Moab
    and the skulls of all the sons of Seth.
18 Edom will be conquered—
his enemies will conquer Seir,
but Israel will triumph.
19 One from Jacob will rule
    and destroy the city’s survivors.”

20 Then he saw Amalek,
so he uttered his oracle and said:
“Amalek was the first of nations,
    but will come to ruin at last.”
21 Then he saw the Kenite,
so he uttered his oracle and said,
“Your dwelling is secure.
Your nest is set in the rock.
22 Yet Kain will be destroyed,
when Asshur captures you.”
23 Again he uttered his oracle and said,
“O, who can live when God does this?
24 Ships will come from Kittim’s shore.
They will afflict Asshur and Eber,
but they too will come to destruction.”

25 Then Balaam got up and went and returned to his own place, and Balak went on his way.

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