Numbers 23; Numbers 24; Numbers 25

1 Balaam said to Balak, "Build me seven altars here, and prepare seven bulls and seven male sheep for me." 2 Balak did what Balaam asked, and they offered a bull and a male sheep on each of the altars. 3 Then Balaam said to Balak, "Stay here beside your burnt offering 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. 4 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 on each altar. 5 The Lord told Balaam what he should say. Then the Lord said, "Go back to Balak and give him this message." 6 So Balaam went back to Balak. Balak and all the leaders of Moab were still standing beside his burnt offering 7 when Balaam gave them this message: "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.' 8 But God has not cursed them, so I cannot curse them. The Lord has not called down evil on them, so I cannot call down evil on them. 9 I see them from the top of the mountains; I see them from the hills. I see a people who live alone, who think they are different from other nations. 10 No one can number the many people of Jacob, and no one can count a fourth of Israel. Let me die like good men, 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 say what the Lord tells me to say." 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. 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 on each altar 15 So Balaam said to Balak, "Stay here by your burnt offering, and I will meet with God over there." 16 So the Lord came to Balaam and told him what to say. Then he said, "Go back to Balak and say such and such." 17 So Balaam went to Balak, where he and the leaders of Moab were standing beside his burnt offering. Balak asked him, "What did the Lord say?" 18 Then Balaam gave this message: "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. What he promises, he makes come true 20 He told me to bless them, so I cannot change the blessing. 21 He has found no wrong in the people of Jacob; he saw no fault 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 a wild ox. 23 No tricks will work on the people of Jacob, and no magic will work against Israel. People now say about them, '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, until they have drunk their enemies' blood." 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 you before that I can only do what the Lord tells me." 27 Then Balak said to Balaam, "Come, I will take you to another place. Maybe God will be pleased to let you curse them from there." 28 So Balak took Balaam to the top of Peor, the mountain that looks over the desert. 29 Balaam told Balak, "Build me seven altars here and prepare for me seven bulls and seven male sheep." 30 Balak did what Balaam asked, and he offered a bull and a male sheep on each altar.
1 Balaam saw that the Lord wanted to bless Israel, so he did not try to use any magic but looked toward the desert. 2 When Balaam saw the Israelites camped in their tribes, the Spirit of God took control of him, 3 and he gave this message: "This is the message of Balaam son of Beor, the message of a man who sees clearly; 4 this is the message of a man who hears the words of God. I see a vision from the Almighty, and my eyes are open as I fall before him. 5 Your tents are beautiful, people of Jacob! So are your homes, Israel! 6 Your tents spread out like valleys, like gardens beside a river. They are like spices planted by the Lord, like cedar trees growing by the water. 7 Israel's water buckets will always be full, and their crops will have plenty of water. Their king will be greater than Agag; their kingdom will be very great. 8 God brought them out of Egypt; they are as strong as a wild ox. They will defeat their enemies and break their enemies' bones; they will shoot them with arrows. 9 Like a lion, they lie waiting to attack; like a lioness, no one would be brave enough to wake them. Anyone who blesses you will be blessed, and anyone who curses you will be cursed." 10 Then Balak was angry with Balaam, and he pound-ed his fist. He said to Balaam, "I called you here to curse my enemies, but you have continued to bless them three times. 11 Now go home! I said I would pay you well, but the Lord has made you lose your reward." 12 Balaam said to Balak, "When you sent messengers to me, I told them, 13 'Balak could give me his palace filled with silver and gold, but I still cannot go against the Lord's commands. I could not do anything, good or bad, on my own, but I must say what the Lord says.' 14 Now I am going back to my own people, but I will tell you what these people will do to your people in the future." 15 Then Balaam gave this message: "This is the message of Balaam son of Beor, the message of a man who sees clearly; 16 this is the message of a man who hears the words of God. I know well the Most High God. I see a vision from the Almighty, and my eyes are open as I fall before him. 17 I see someone who will come some day, someone who will come, but not soon. A star will come from Jacob; a ruler will rise from Israel. and smash the skulls of the sons of Sheth. 18 Edom will be conquered; his enemy Edom will be conquered, but Israel will grow wealthy. 19 A ruler will come from the descendants of Jacob and will destroy those left in the city." 20 Then Balaam saw Amalek and gave this message: "Amalek was the most important nation, but Amalek will be destroyed at last." 21 Then Balaam saw the Kenites and gave this message: "Your home is safe, like a nest on a cliff. 22 But you Kenites will be burned up; Assyria will keep you captive." 23 Then Balaam gave this message: "No one can live when God does this. 24 Ships will sail from the shores of Cyprus and defeat Assyria and Eber, but they will also be destroyed." 25 Then Balaam got up and returned home, and Balak also went on his way.
1 While the people of Israel were still camped at Acacia, the men began sinning sexually with Moabite women. 2 The women invited them to their sacrifices to their gods, and the Israelites ate food there and worshiped these gods. 3 So the Israelites began to worship Baal of Peor, and the Lord was very angry with them. 4 The Lord said to Moses, "Get all the leaders of the people and kill them in open daylight in the presence of the Lord. Then the Lord will not be angry with the people of Israel." 5 So Moses said to Israel's judges, "Each of you must put to death your people who have become worshipers of Baal of Peor." 6 Moses and the Israelites were gathered at the entrance to the Meeting Tent, crying there. Then an Israelite man brought a Midianite woman to his brothers in plain sight of Moses and all the people. 7 Phinehas son of Eleazar, the son of Aaron, the priest, saw this, so he left the meeting and got his spear. 8 He followed the Israelite into his tent and drove his spear through both the Israelite man and the Midianite wo-man. Then the terrible sickness among the Israelites stopped. 9 This sickness had killed twenty-four thousand people. 10 The Lord said to Moses, 11 "Phinehas son of Eleazar, the son of Aaron, the priest, has saved the Israelites from my anger. He hates sin as much as I do. Since he tried to save my honor among them, I will not kill them. 12 So tell Phinehas that I am making my peace agreement with him. 13 He and his descendants will always be priests, because he had great concern for the honor of his God. He removed the sins of the Israelites so they would belong to God." 14 The Israelite man who was killed with the Midianite woman was named Zimri son of Salu. He was the leader of a family in the tribe of Simeon. 15 And the name of the Midianite woman who was put to death was Cozbi daughter of Zur, who was the chief of a Midianite family. 16 The Lord said to Moses, 17 "The Midianites are your enemies, and you should kill them. 18 They have already made you their enemies, because they tricked you at Peor and because of their sister Cozbi, the daughter of a Midianite leader. She was the woman who was killed when the sickness came because the people sinned at Peor."