1 He said to Balak, "Build seven altars here for me, and bring me seven bulls and seven rams." 2 Balak did as he was told, and he and Balaam offered a bull and a ram on each altar. 3 Then Balaam said to Balak, "Stand here by your burnt offering, while I go to see whether or not the Lord will meet me. I will tell you whatever he reveals to me." So he went alone to the top of a hill, 4 and God met him. Balaam said to him, "I have built the seven altars and offered a bull and a ram on each. 5 The Lord told Balaam what to say and sent him back to Balak to give him his message. 6 So he went back and found Balak still standing by his burnt offering with all the leaders of Moab. 7 Balaam uttered this prophecy: "Balak king of Moab has brought me From Syria, from the eastern mountains. "Come speak for me,' he said. "Put a curse on the people of Israel.' 8 How can I curse what God has not cursed, Or speak of doom when the Lord has not? 9 From the high rocks I can see them; I can watch them from the hills. They are a nation that lives alone; They know they are blessed more than other nations. 10 The descendants of Israel are like the dust - There are too many of them to be counted. Let me end my days like one of God's people; Let me die in peace like the righteous." 11 Then Balak said to Balaam, "What have you done to me? I brought you here to curse my enemies, but all you have done is bless them." 12 He answered, "I can say only what the Lord tells me to say." 13 Then Balak said to Balaam, "Come with me to another place from which you can see only some of the Israelites. Curse them for me from there." 14 He took him to the field of Zophim on the top of Mount Pisgah. There also he built seven altars and offered a bull and a ram on each of them 15 Balaam said to Balak, "Stand here by your burnt offering, and I will meet God over there." 16 The Lord met Balaam, told him what to say, and sent him back to Balak to give him his message. 17 So he went back and found Balak still standing by his burnt offering, with the leaders of Moab. Balak asked what the Lord had said, 18 and Balaam uttered this prophecy: "Come, Balak son of Zippor, And listen to what I have to say. 19 God is not like people, who lie; He is not a human who changes his mind. Whatever he promises, he does; He speaks, and it is done 20 I have been instructed to bless, And when God blesses, I cannot call it back. 21 I foresee that Israel's future Will bring her no misfortune or trouble. The Lord their God is with them; They proclaim that he is their king 22 God has brought them out of Egypt; He fights for them like a wild ox. 23 There is no magic charm, no witchcraft, That can be used against the nation of Israel. Now people will say about Israel, "Look what God has done!' 24 The nation of Israel is like a mighty lion: It doesn't rest until it has torn and devoured, Until it has drunk the blood of those it has killed." 25 Then Balak said to Balaam, "You refuse to curse the people of Israel, but at least don't bless them!" 26 Balaam answered, "Didn't I tell you that I had to do everything that the Lord told me?" 27 Balak said, "Come with me, and I will take you to another place. Perhaps God will be willing to let you curse them for me from there." 28 So he took Balaam to the top of Mount Peor overlooking the desert. 29 Balaam said to him, "Build seven altars for me here and bring me seven bulls and seven rams." 30 Balak did as he was told, and offered a bull and a ram on each altar.
1 By now Balaam knew that the Lord wanted him to bless the people of Israel, so he did not go to look for omens, as he had done before. He turned toward the desert 2 and saw the people of Israel camped tribe by tribe. The spirit of God took control of him, 3 and he uttered this prophecy: "The message of Balaam son of Beor, The words of the man who can see clearly, 4 Who can hear what God is saying. With staring eyes I see in a trance A vision from Almighty God. 5 The tents of Israel are beautiful, 6 Like long rows of palms Or gardens beside a river, Like aloes planted by the Lord Or cedars beside the water. 7 They will have abundant rainfall And plant their seed in well-watered fields. Their king shall be greater than Agag, And his rule shall be extended far and wide. 8 God brought them out of Egypt; He fights for them like a wild ox. They devour their enemies, Crush their bones, smash their arrows. 9 The nation is like a mighty lion; When it is sleeping, no one dares wake it. Whoever blesses Israel will be blessed, And whoever curses Israel will be cursed." 10 Balak clenched his fists in anger and said to Balaam, "I called you to curse my enemies, but three times now you have blessed them instead. 11 Now get on home! I promised to reward you, but the Lord has kept you from getting the reward." 12 Balaam answered, "I told the messengers you sent to me that 13 even if you gave me all the silver and gold in your palace, I could not disobey the command of the Lord by doing anything of myself. I will say only what the Lord tells me to say." 14 Balaam said to Balak, "Now I am going back to my own people, but before I go, I am warning you what the people of Israel will do to your people in the future." 15 Then he uttered this prophecy: "The message of Balaam son of Beor, The words of the man who can see clearly, 16 Who can hear what God is saying And receive the knowledge that comes from the Most High. With staring eyes I see in a trance A vision from Almighty God. 17 I look into the future, And I see the nation of Israel. A king, like a bright star, will arise in that nation. Like a comet he will come from Israel. He will strike the leaders of Moab And beat down all the people of Seth. 18 He will conquer his enemies in Edom And make their land his property, While Israel continues victorious. 19 The nation of Israel will trample them down And wipe out the last survivors." 20 Then in his vision Balaam saw the Amalekites and uttered this prophecy: "Amalek was the most powerful nation of all, But at the end it will perish forever." 21 In his vision he saw the Kenites, and uttered this prophecy: "The place where you live is secure, Safe as a nest set high on a cliff, 22 But you Kenites will be destroyed When Assyria takes you captive." 23 Balaam uttered this prophecy: "Who are these people gathering in the north? 24 Invaders will sail from Cyprus; They will conquer Assyria and Eber, But they, in turn, will perish forever." 25 Then Balaam got ready and went back home, and Balak went on his way.
1 When the Israelites were camped at Acacia Valley, the men began to have sexual intercourse with the Moabite women who were there. 2 These women invited them to sacrificial feasts, where the god of Moab was worshiped. The Israelites ate the food and worshiped the god 3 Baal of Peor. So the Lord was angry with them 4 and said to Moses, "Take all the leaders of Israel and, in obedience to me, execute them in broad daylight, and then I will no longer be angry with the people." 5 Moses said to the officials, "Each of you is to kill every man in your tribe who has become a worshiper of Baal of Peor." 6 One of the Israelites took a Midianite woman into his tent in the sight of Moses and the whole community, while they were mourning at the entrance of the Tent of the Lord's presence. 7 When Phinehas, the son of Eleazar and grandson of Aaron the priest, saw this, he got up and left the assembly. He took a spear, 8 followed the man and the woman into the tent, and drove the spear through both of them. In this way the epidemic that was destroying Israel was stopped, 9 but it had already killed twenty-four thousand people. 10 The Lord said to Moses, 11 "Because of what Phinehas has done, I am no longer angry with the people of Israel. He refused to tolerate the worship of any god but me, and that is why I did not destroy them in my anger. 12 So tell him that I am making a covenant with him that is valid for all time to come. 13 He and his descendants are permanently established as priests, because he did not tolerate any rivals to me and brought about forgiveness for the people's sin." 14 The name of the Israelite who was killed with the Midianite woman was Zimri son of Salu, the head of a family in the tribe of Simeon. 15 The woman's name was Cozbi. Zur, her father, was chief of a group of Midianite clans. 16 The Lord commanded Moses, 17 "Attack the Midianites and destroy them, 18 because of the evil they did to you when they deceived you at Peor, and because of Cozbi, who was killed at the time of the epidemic at Peor."