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Numbers 23:13-24:25 New International Version - UK (NIVUK)

Balaam’s second message

13 Then Balak said to him, ‘Come with me to another place where you can see them; you will not see them all but only the outskirts of their camp. And from there, curse them for me.’ 14 So he took him to the field of Zophim on the top of Pisgah, and there he built seven altars and offered a bull and a ram on each altar.

15 Balaam said to Balak, ‘Stay here beside your offering while I meet with him over there.’

16 The Lord met with Balaam and put a word in his mouth and said, ‘Go back to Balak and give him this word.’

17 So he went to him and found him standing beside his offering, with the Moabite officials. Balak asked him, ‘What did the Lord say?’

18 Then he spoke his message:

‘Arise, Balak, and listen;
    hear me, son of Zippor.
19 God is not human, that he should lie,
    not a human being, that he should change his mind.
Does he speak and then not act?
    Does he promise and not fulfil?
20 I have received a command to bless;
    he has blessed, and I cannot change it.

21 ‘No misfortune is seen in Jacob,
    no misery observed[a] in Israel.
The Lord their God is with them;
    the shout of the King is among them.
22 God brought them out of Egypt;
    they have the strength of a wild ox.
23 There is no divination against[b] Jacob,
    no evil omens against[c] Israel.
It will now be said of Jacob
    and of Israel, “See what God has done!”
24 The people rise like a lioness;
    they rouse themselves like a lion
that does not rest till it devours its prey
    and drinks the blood of its victims.’

25 Then Balak said to Balaam, ‘Neither curse them at all nor bless them at all!’

26 Balaam answered, ‘Did I not tell you I must do whatever the Lord says?’

Balaam’s third message

27 Then Balak said to Balaam, ‘Come, let me take you to another place. Perhaps it will please God to let you curse them for me from there.’ 28 And Balak took Balaam to the top of Peor, overlooking the wasteland.

29 Balaam said, ‘Build me seven altars here, and prepare seven bulls and seven rams for me.’ 30 Balak did as Balaam had said, and offered a bull and a ram on each altar.

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

‘The prophecy of Balaam son of Beor,
    the prophecy of one whose eye sees clearly,
the prophecy of one who hears the words of God,
    who sees a vision from the Almighty,[d]
    who falls prostrate, and whose eyes are opened:

‘How beautiful are your tents, Jacob,
    your dwelling-places, Israel!

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

‘Their king will be greater than Agag;
    their kingdom will be exalted.

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

‘May those who bless you be blessed
    and those who curse you be cursed!’

10 Then Balak’s anger burned against Balaam. He struck his hands together and said to him, ‘I summoned you to curse my enemies, but you have blessed them these three times. 11 Now leave at once and go home! I said I would reward you handsomely, but the Lord has kept you from being rewarded.’

12 Balaam answered Balak, ‘Did I not tell the messengers you sent me, 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 – and I must say only what the Lord says”? 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.’

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 of God,
    who has knowledge from the Most High,
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.
A star will come out of Jacob;
    a sceptre will rise out of Israel.
He will crush the foreheads of Moab,
    the skulls[e] of[f] all the people of Sheth.[g]
18 Edom will be conquered;
    Seir, his enemy, will be conquered,
    but Israel will grow strong.
19 A ruler will come out of Jacob
    and destroy the survivors of the city.’

Balaam’s fifth message

20 Then Balaam saw Amalek and spoke his message:

‘Amalek was first among the nations,
    but their end will be utter destruction.’

Balaam’s sixth message

21 Then he saw the Kenites and spoke his message:

‘Your dwelling-place is secure,
    your nest is set in a rock;
22 yet you Kenites will be destroyed
    when Ashur takes you captive.’

Balaam’s seventh message

23 Then he spoke his message:

‘Alas! Who can live when God does this?[h]
24     Ships will come from the shores of Cyprus;
they will subdue Ashur and Eber,
    but they too will come to ruin.’

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


  1. Numbers 23:21 Or He has not looked on Jacob’s offences / or on the wrongs found
  2. Numbers 23:23 Or in
  3. Numbers 23:23 Or in
  4. Numbers 24:4 Hebrew Shaddai; also in verse 16
  5. Numbers 24:17 Samaritan Pentateuch (see also Jer. 48:45); the meaning of the word in the Masoretic Text is uncertain.
  6. Numbers 24:17 Or possibly Moab, / batter
  7. Numbers 24:17 Or all the noisy boasters
  8. Numbers 24:23 Masoretic Text; with a different word division of the Hebrew The people from the islands will gather from the north.
New International Version - UK (NIVUK)

Holy Bible, New International Version® Anglicized, NIV® Copyright © 1979, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.


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