A A A A A
Bible Book List

Numbers 23 Expanded Bible (EXB)

Balaam’s First Message

23 Balaam said to Balak, “Build me seven altars here, and prepare seven bulls and seven ·male sheep [rams] for me.” Balak did what Balaam asked, and they offered a bull and a ·male sheep [ram] on each of the altars.

Then Balaam said to Balak, “Stay here beside your burnt offering [Lev. 1:1–17] and I will go. If the Lord comes to me, I will tell you whatever he shows me.” Then Balaam went to a ·higher place [or barren height].

God came to Balaam there, and Balaam said to him, “I have prepared seven altars, and I have offered a bull and a ·male sheep [ram] on each altar.”

The Lord ·told Balaam what he should say [L put a word in the mouth of Balaam]. Then the Lord said, “Go back to Balak and ·give him this message [L thus you will speak].”

So Balaam went back to Balak. Balak and all the leaders of Moab were still standing beside his burnt offering [Lev. 1:1–17] when Balaam gave them this ·message [or oracle; or poem]:

“Balak brought me here from Aram;
    the king of Moab brought me from the eastern mountains.
Balak said, ‘Come, put a curse on the people of Jacob for me.
    Come, call down evil on the people of Israel.’
But ·God has not cursed them,
    so I cannot curse them [L how can I curse what God has not cursed?].
·The Lord has not called down evil on them,
    so I cannot call down evil on them [L How can I call down evil on/denounce what the Lord has not called down evil/denouced?].
I see them from the top of the ·mountains [cliffs];
    I see them from the hills.
I see a people who live alone,
    who think they are different from other nations [Ex. 19:5–6].
10 No one can number the ·many people [L dust; Gen. 13:16; 28:14] of Jacob,
    and no one can count a ·fourth [or dust cloud] of Israel.
Let me die like ·good [virtuous; upright] people,
    and let me end up like them!”

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

12 But Balaam answered, “·I must [L Must I not…?] say what the Lord ·tells me to say [L put in my mouth].”

Balaam’s Second Message

13 Then Balak said to him, “Come with me to another place, where you can also see the people. But you can only see part of them, not all of them [C perhaps he could curse a part of Israel]. Curse them for me from there.” 14 So Balak took Balaam to the field of Zophim, on top of Mount Pisgah. There Balak built seven altars and offered a bull and a ·male sheep [ram] on each altar.

15 So Balaam said to Balak, “Stay here by your burnt offering [Lev. 1:1–17], and I will meet with God over there.”

16 So the Lord came to Balaam and ·told him what to say [L put a word in his mouth]. Then he said, “Go back to Balak and say ·such and such [L thus].”

17 So Balaam went to Balak, where he and the leaders of Moab were standing beside his burnt offering [Lev. 1:1–17]. Balak asked him, “What did the Lord say?”

18 Then Balaam gave this ·message [or oracle; or poem]:

“Stand up, Balak, and listen.
    Hear me, son of Zippor.
19 God is not a human being, and he will not lie.
    He is not a human, and he does not change his mind.
What he says he will do, ·he does [L will he not do it?].
    What he promises, ·he makes come true [L will he not fulfill it/make it come true?].
20 He ·told [commanded] me to bless them,
    so I cannot change the blessing.
21 He ·has found [observes] no wrong in the people of Jacob;
    he saw no ·fault [trouble] in Israel.
The Lord their God is with them,
    and they praise their King.
22 God brought them out of Egypt;
    they are ·as strong as [L like the horns of] a wild ox.
23 No ·tricks [divination] will work on the people of Jacob,
    and no magic will work against Israel.
People now say about ·them [L Jacob],
    ‘Look what God has done for Israel!’
24 The people rise up like a lioness;
    they get up like a lion.
Lions don’t rest until they have eaten prey,
    until they have drunk ·their enemies’ blood [L the blood of corpses].”

25 Then Balak said to Balaam, “You haven’t cursed these people, so at least don’t bless them!”

26 Balaam answered Balak, “·I told [L Did I not tell…?] you before that I can only do what the Lord tells me.”

Balaam’s Third Message

27 Then Balak said to Balaam, “Come, I will take you to another place. Maybe ·God will be pleased [L it will be right in the eyes/sight of God] to let you curse them from there.” 28 So Balak took Balaam to the top of Peor, the mountain that looks over the ·desert [wasteland; or Jeshimon].

29 Balaam told Balak, “Build me seven altars here and prepare for me seven bulls and seven ·male sheep [rams].” 30 Balak did what Balaam asked, and he offered a bull and a ·male sheep [ram] on each altar.

Expanded Bible (EXB)

The Expanded Bible, Copyright © 2011 Thomas Nelson Inc. 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