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Numbers 24 New Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition (NRSVCE)

Balaam’s Third Oracle

24 Now Balaam saw that it pleased the Lord to bless Israel, so he did not go, as at other times, to look for omens, but set his face toward the wilderness. Balaam looked up and saw Israel camping tribe by tribe. Then the spirit of God came upon him, and he uttered his oracle, saying:

“The oracle of Balaam son of Beor,
    the oracle of the man whose eye is clear,[a]
the oracle of one who hears the words of God,
    who sees the vision of the Almighty,[b]
    who falls down, but with eyes uncovered:
how fair are your tents, O Jacob,
    your encampments, O Israel!
Like palm groves that stretch far away,
    like gardens beside a river,
like aloes that the Lord has planted,
    like cedar trees beside the waters.
Water shall flow from his buckets,
    and his seed shall have abundant water,
his king shall be higher than Agag,
    and his kingdom shall be exalted.
God who brings him out of Egypt,
    is like the horns of a wild ox for him;
he shall devour the nations that are his foes
    and break their bones.
    He shall strike with his arrows.[c]
He crouched, he lay down like a lion,
    and like a lioness; who will rouse him up?
Blessed is everyone who blesses you,
    and cursed is everyone who curses you.”

10 Then Balak’s anger was kindled against Balaam, and he struck his hands together. Balak said to Balaam, “I summoned you to curse my enemies, but instead you have blessed them these three times. 11 Now be off with you! Go home! I said, ‘I will reward you richly,’ but the Lord has denied you any reward.” 12 And Balaam said to Balak, “Did I not tell your messengers whom you sent to me, 13 ‘If Balak should give me his house full of silver and gold, I would not be able to go beyond the word of the Lord, to do either good or bad of my own will; what the Lord says, that is what I will say’? 14 So now, I am going to my people; let me advise you what this people will do to your people in days to come.”

Balaam’s Fourth Oracle

15 So he uttered his oracle, saying:

“The oracle of Balaam son of Beor,
    the oracle of the man whose eye is clear,[d]
16 the oracle of one who hears the words of God,
    and knows the knowledge of the Most High,[e]
who sees the vision of the Almighty,[f]
    who falls down, but with his eyes uncovered:
17 I see him, but not now;
    I behold him, but not near—
a star shall come out of Jacob,
    and a scepter shall rise out of Israel;
it shall crush the borderlands[g] of Moab,
    and the territory[h] of all the Shethites.
18 Edom will become a possession,
    Seir a possession of its enemies,[i]
    while Israel does valiantly.
19 One out of Jacob shall rule,
    and destroy the survivors of Ir.”

20 Then he looked on Amalek, and uttered his oracle, saying:

“First among the nations was Amalek,
but its end is to perish forever.”

21 Then he looked on the Kenite, and uttered his oracle, saying:

“Enduring is your dwelling place,
    and your nest is set in the rock;
22 yet Kain is destined for burning.
    How long shall Asshur take you away captive?”

23 Again he uttered his oracle, saying:

“Alas, who shall live when God does this?
24     But ships shall come from Kittim
and shall afflict Asshur and Eber;
    and he also shall perish forever.”

25 Then Balaam got up and went back to his place, and Balak also went his way.

Footnotes:

  1. Numbers 24:3 Or closed or open
  2. Numbers 24:4 Traditional rendering of Heb Shaddai
  3. Numbers 24:8 Meaning of Heb uncertain
  4. Numbers 24:15 Or closed or open
  5. Numbers 24:16 Or of Elyon
  6. Numbers 24:16 Traditional rendering of Heb Shaddai
  7. Numbers 24:17 Or forehead
  8. Numbers 24:17 Some Mss read skull
  9. Numbers 24:18 Heb Seir, its enemies, a possession
New Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition (NRSVCE)

New Revised Standard Version Bible: Catholic Edition, copyright © 1989, 1993 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Numbers 24 New International Version (NIV)

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 toward 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,[a]
    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 scepter will rise out of Israel.
He will crush the foreheads of Moab,
    the skulls[b] of[c] all the people of Sheth.[d]
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?[e]
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.

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.
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.

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