A A A A A
Bible Book List

Numbers 23 Christian Standard Bible (CSB)

Balaam’s Oracles

23 Then Balaam said to Balak, “Build me seven altars here and prepare seven bulls and seven rams for me.” So Balak did as Balaam directed, and they offered a bull and a ram on each altar. Balaam said to Balak, “Stay here by your burnt offering while I am gone. Maybe the Lord will meet with me. I will tell you whatever he reveals to me.” So he went to a barren hill.

God met with him and Balaam said to him, “I have arranged seven altars and offered a bull and a ram on each altar.” Then the Lord put a message in Balaam’s mouth and said, “Return to Balak and say what I tell you.”

So he returned to Balak, who was standing there by his burnt offering with all the officials of Moab.

Balaam’s First Oracle

Balaam proclaimed his poem:

Balak brought me from Aram;
the king of Moab, from the eastern mountains:
“Come, put a curse on Jacob for me;
come, denounce Israel!”
How can I curse someone God has not cursed?
How can I denounce someone the Lord has not denounced?
I see them from the top of rocky cliffs,
and I watch them from the hills.
There is a people living alone;
it does not consider itself among the nations.
10 Who has counted the dust of Jacob
or numbered even one-fourth of Israel?
Let me die the death of the upright;
let the end of my life be like theirs.

11 “What have you done to me?” Balak asked Balaam. “I brought you to curse my enemies, but look, you have only blessed them!”

12 He answered, “Shouldn’t I say exactly what the Lord puts in my mouth?”

Balaam’s Second Oracle

13 Then Balak said to him, “Please come with me to another place where you can see them. You will only see the outskirts of their camp; you won’t see all of them. From there, put a curse on them for me.” 14 So Balak took him to Lookout Field[a] on top of Pisgah, built seven altars, and offered a bull and a ram on each altar.

15 Balaam said to Balak, “Stay here by your burnt offering while I seek the Lord over there.”

16 The Lord met with Balaam and put a message in his mouth. Then he said, “Return to Balak and say what I tell you.”

17 So he returned to Balak, who was standing there by his burnt offering with the officials of Moab. Balak asked him, “What did the Lord say?”

18 Balaam proclaimed his poem:

Balak, get up and listen;
son of Zippor, pay attention to what I say!
19 God is not a man, that he might lie,
or a son of man, that he might change his mind.
Does he speak and not act,
or promise and not fulfill?
20 I have indeed received a command to bless;
since he has blessed,[b] I cannot change it.
21 He considers no disaster for Jacob;
he sees no trouble for Israel.[c]
The Lord their God is with them,
and there is rejoicing over the King among them.
22 God brought them out of Egypt;
he is like the horns of a wild ox for them.[d]
23 There is no magic curse against Jacob
and no divination against Israel.
It will now be said about Jacob and Israel,
“What great things God has done!”
24 A people rise up like a lioness;
they rouse themselves like a lion.
They will not lie down until they devour the prey
and drink the blood of the slain.

25 Then Balak told Balaam, “Don’t curse them and don’t bless them!”

26 But Balaam answered him, “Didn’t I tell you: Whatever the Lord says, I must do?”

Balaam’s Third Oracle

27 Again Balak said to Balaam, “Please come. I will take you to another place. Maybe it will be agreeable to God that you can put a curse on them for me there.” 28 So Balak took Balaam to the top of Peor, which overlooks the wasteland.[e]

29 Balaam told Balak, “Build me seven altars here and prepare seven bulls and seven rams for me.” 30 So Balak did as Balaam said and offered a bull and a ram on each altar.

Footnotes:

  1. 23:14 Or to the field of Zophim
  2. 23:20 Sam, LXX read since I will bless
  3. 23:21 Or He does not observe sin in Jacob; he does not see wrongdoing in Israel
  4. 23:22 Or Egypt; they have the horns of a wild ox
  5. 23:28 Or overlooks Jeshimon
Christian Standard Bible (CSB)

The Christian Standard Bible. Copyright © 2017 by Holman Bible Publishers. Used by permission. Christian Standard Bible®, and CSB® are federally registered trademarks of Holman Bible Publishers, all rights reserved.

Numbers 23 New International Version (NIV)

Balaam’s First Message

23 Balaam said, “Build me seven altars here, and prepare seven bulls and seven rams for me.” Balak did as Balaam said, and the two of them offered a bull and a ram on each altar.

Then Balaam said to Balak, “Stay here beside your offering while I go aside. Perhaps the Lord will come to meet with me. Whatever he reveals to me I will tell you.” Then he went off to a barren height.

God met with him, and Balaam said, “I have prepared seven altars, and on each altar I have offered a bull and a ram.”

The Lord put a word in Balaam’s mouth and said, “Go back to Balak and give him this word.”

So he went back to him and found him standing beside his offering, with all the Moabite officials. Then Balaam spoke his message:

“Balak brought me from Aram,
    the king of Moab from the eastern mountains.
‘Come,’ he said, ‘curse Jacob for me;
    come, denounce Israel.’
How can I curse
    those whom God has not cursed?
How can I denounce
    those whom the Lord has not denounced?
From the rocky peaks I see them,
    from the heights I view them.
I see a people who live apart
    and do not consider themselves one of the nations.
10 Who can count the dust of Jacob
    or number even a fourth of Israel?
Let me die the death of the righteous,
    and may my final end be like theirs!

11 Balak said to Balaam, “What have you done to me? I brought you to curse my enemies, but you have done nothing but bless them!”

12 He answered, “Must I not speak what the Lord puts in my mouth?”

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 fulfill?
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.

Footnotes:

  1. Numbers 23:21 Or He has not looked on Jacob’s offenses / or on the wrongs found
  2. Numbers 23:23 Or in
  3. Numbers 23:23 Or in
New International Version (NIV)

Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

Viewing of
Cross references
Footnotes