Amplified Bible

Numbers 23

The Prophecies of Balaam

1Then Balaam said to Balak, “Build seven altars for me here, and prepare for me seven bulls and seven rams here.” Balak did just as Balaam had said, and Balak and Balaam offered a bull and a ram on each altar. Then Balaam said to Balak, “Stand beside your burnt offering and I will go. Perhaps the Lord will come to meet me; and whatever He shows me I will tell you.” So he went to a desolate hill.

Now God met Balaam, who said to Him, “I have prepared seven altars, and I have offered a bull and a ram on each altar.” Then the Lord put a speech in Balaam’s mouth, and said, “Return to Balak, and you shall speak thus.” Balaam returned to Balak, and behold, he was standing by his burnt sacrifice, he and all the leaders of Moab. Balaam took up his [first] discourse (oracle) and said:

“Balak, the king of Moab, has brought me from Aram (Syria),
from the mountains of the east, [saying,]
‘Come, curse [the descendants of] Jacob for me;
And come, [violently] denounce Israel.’

“How shall I curse those whom God has not cursed?
Or how can I [violently] denounce those the Lord has not denounced?

“For from the top of the rocks I see Israel,
And from the hills I look at him.
Behold, the people [of Israel] shall dwell alone
And will not be reckoned among the nations.
10 
“Who can count the dust (the descendants) of Jacob
And the number of even the fourth part of Israel?
Let me die the death of the righteous [those who are upright and in right standing with God],
And let my end be like his!”

11 Then Balak said to Balaam, “What have you done to me? I brought you to curse my enemies, but here you have [thoroughly] blessed them instead!” 12 Balaam answered, “Must I not be obedient and careful to speak what the Lord has put in my mouth?”

13 Balak said to him, “Come with me, I implore you, to another place from where you can see them, although you will see only the nearest and not all of them; and curse them for me from there.” 14 So he took Balaam to the field of Zophim to the top of [Mount] Pisgah, and built seven altars, and offered a bull and a ram on each altar. 15 Balaam said to Balak, “Stand here beside your burnt offering while I go to meet the Lord over there.” 16 Then the Lord met Balaam and put a speech in his mouth, and said, “Go back to Balak and you shall speak thus.” 17 When Balaam returned to Balak, he was standing beside his burnt offering, and the leaders of Moab were with him. And Balak said to him, “What has the Lord spoken?” 18 Balaam took up his [second] discourse (oracle) and said:

“Rise up, O Balak, and hear;
Listen [closely] to me, son of Zippor.
19 
“God is not a man, that He should lie,
Nor a son of man, that He should repent.
Has He said, and will He not do it?
Or has He spoken and will He not make it good and fulfill it?
20 
“Behold, I have received His command to bless [Israel].
He has blessed, and I cannot reverse it.
21 
“God has not observed wickedness in Jacob [for he is forgiven],
Nor has He seen trouble in Israel.
The Lord their God is with Israel,
And the shout of their King is among the people.
22 
“God brought them out of Egypt;
They have the strength of a wild ox.
23 
“For there is no enchantment or omen against Jacob,
Nor is there any divination against Israel.
At the proper time it shall be said to Jacob
And to Israel, what has God done!
24 
“Behold, a people rises up like a lioness
And lifts itself up like a lion;
He will not lie down until he devours the prey
And drinks the blood of the slain.”

25 Then Balak said to Balaam, “Neither curse them at all nor bless them at all!” 26 But Balaam answered Balak, “Did I not say to you, ‘All that the Lord speaks, that I must do?’”

27 Then Balak said to Balaam, “Please come; I will take you to another place. Perhaps it will please God to let you curse them for me from there.” 28 So Balak brought Balaam to the top of [Mount] Peor, that overlooks the wasteland. 29 And Balaam said to Balak, “Build seven altars for me here, and prepare for me seven bulls and seven rams here.” 30 Balak did just as Balaam had said, and offered a bull and a ram on each altar.

New International Reader's Version

Numbers 23

Balaam’s First Message From God

1Balaam said to Balak, “Build me seven altars here. Prepare seven bulls and seven rams for me to sacrifice.” Balak did just as Balaam said. The two of them offered a bull and a ram on each altar.

Then Balaam said to Balak, “Stay here beside your offering. I’ll go and try to find out what the Lord wants me to do. Maybe he’ll come and meet with me. Then I’ll tell you what he says to me.” So Balaam went off to a bare hilltop.

God met with him there. Balaam said, “I’ve prepared seven altars. On each altar I’ve offered a bull and a ram.”

The Lord put a message in Balaam’s mouth. The Lord said, “Go back to Balak. Give him my message.”

So Balaam went back to him. He found Balak standing beside his offering. All the Moabite officials were with him. Then Balaam spoke the message he had received from God. He said,

“Balak brought me from the land of Aram.
    The king of Moab sent for me from the mountains in the east.
‘Come,’ he said. ‘Put a curse on Jacob’s people for me.
    Come. Speak against Israel.’
But how can I put a curse on
    people God hasn’t cursed?
How can I speak against
    people the Lord hasn’t spoken against?
I see them from the rocky peaks.
    I view them from the hills.
I see a group of people who live by themselves.
    They don’t consider themselves to be one of the nations.
10 Jacob’s people are like the dust of the earth.
    Can dust be counted?
    Who can count even a fourth of the Israelites?
Let me die as godly people die.
    Let my death be like theirs!”

11 Balak said to Balaam, “What have you done to me? I brought you here to put a curse on my enemies! But all you have done is give them a blessing!”

12 He answered, “I have to speak only the words the Lord puts in my mouth.”

Balaam’s Second Message From God

13 Then Balak said to Balaam, “Come with me to another place. You can see the Israelites from there. You won’t see all of them. You will only see the outer edges of their camp. From there, put a curse on them for me.” 14 So Balak took Balaam to the field of Zophim. It was on the highest slopes of Pisgah. There Balak built seven altars. He offered a bull and a ram on each altar.

15 Balaam said to Balak, “Stay here beside your offering. I’ll meet with the Lord over there.”

16 The Lord met with Balaam. He put a message in Balaam’s mouth. The Lord said, “Go back to Balak. Give him my message.”

17 So Balaam went to Balak. He found him standing beside his offering. The Moabite officials were with him. Balak asked him, “What did the Lord say?”

18 Then Balaam spoke the message he had received from God. He said,

“Balak, rise up and listen.
    Son of Zippor, hear me.
19 God isn’t a mere human. He can’t lie.
    He isn’t a human being. He doesn’t change his mind.
He speaks, and then he acts.
    He makes a promise, and then he keeps it.
20 He has commanded me to bless Israel.
    He has given them his blessing. And I can’t change it.

21 “I don’t see any trouble coming on the people of Jacob.
    I don’t see any suffering 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 are as strong as a wild ox.
23 There isn’t any magic that can hurt the people of Jacob.
    No one can use magic words to harm Israel.
Here is what will be said about the people of Jacob.
    Here is what will be said about Israel.
    People will say, ‘See what God has done!’
24 The Israelites are going to wake up like a female lion.
    They are going to get up like a male lion.
They are like a lion that won’t rest
    until it eats what it has caught.
They are like a lion that won’t rest
    until it drinks the blood of what it has killed.”

25 Then Balak said to Balaam, “Don’t put a curse on them at all! And don’t give them a blessing at all!”

26 Balaam answered, “Didn’t I tell you that I must do only what the Lord says?”

Balaam’s Third Message From God

27 Then Balak said to Balaam, “Come. Let me take you to another place. Perhaps God will be pleased to let you put a curse on the Israelites for me from there.” 28 Balak took Balaam to the top of Mount Peor. It looks out over a dry and empty land.

29 Balaam said, “Build me seven altars here. Prepare seven bulls and seven rams for me to sacrifice.” 30 Balak did just as Balaam said. He offered a bull and a ram on each altar.