Numbers 23; Numbers 24; Numbers 25

1 Balaam said to Balak, "Build me seven altars here. Prepare seven bulls and seven rams for me to sacrifice." 2 Balak did just as Balaam said. The two of them offered a bull and a ram on each altar. 3 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. 4 God met with him there. Balaam said, "I've prepared seven altars. On each altar I've offered a bull and a ram. 5 The LORD put a message in Balaam's mouth. The LORD said, "Go back to Balak. Give him my message." 6 So Balaam went back to him. He found Balak standing beside his offering. All of the princes of Moab were with him. 7 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.' 8 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? 9 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 people of Israel? 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." 13 Then Balak said to Balaam, "Come with me to another place. You can see the people of Israel from there. You will see only some of them. You won't see all of them. 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 he 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 he went to him. He found him standing beside his offering. The princes of Moab 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 man. 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 people of Israel 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 have to do only what the LORD says?" 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 them 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.
1 Balaam saw that the LORD was pleased to give his blessing to Israel. So he didn't try to use evil magic as he had done at other times. Instead, he turned and looked toward the desert. 2 He looked out and saw Israel. They had set up their camps tribe by tribe. The Spirit of God came on him. 3 Balaam spoke the message he had received from God. He said, "Here is the message God gave Balaam, the son of Beor. It's the message God gave to the one who sees clearly. 4 It's the message God gave to the one who hears the words of God. He sees a vision from the Mighty One. He falls down flat with his face toward the ground. His eyes have been opened by the Lord. 5 "People of Jacob, your tents are very beautiful. Israel, the places where you live are very beautiful. 6 "They spread out like valleys. They are like gardens beside a river. They are like aloes the LORD has planted. They are like cedar trees beside a stream. 7 Their water buckets will run over. Their seeds will have plenty of water. "Their king will be greater than King Agag. Their kingdom will be honored. 8 "God brought them out of Egypt. They are as strong as a wild ox. They eat up nations that are at war with them. They break their bones in pieces. They wound them with their arrows. 9 Like a male lion they lie down and sleep. They are like a female lion. Who dares to wake them up? May those who bless you be blessed! May those who call down a curse on you be cursed!" 10 Then Balak's anger burned against Balaam. He slapped his hands together. He said to Balaam, "I sent for you to put a curse on my enemies. But you have given them a blessing three times. 11 Get out of here right away! Go home! I said I'd make you very rich. But the LORD has kept you from getting rich." 12 Balaam answered Balak, "Here is what I told the messengers you sent me. 13 I said, 'Balak could give me his palace filled with silver and gold. Even if I wanted to, I still couldn't do anything at all that goes beyond what the LORD commands. I have to say only what the LORD tells me to say.' 14 "Now I'm going back to my people. But come. Let me warn you about what these people will do to your people in days to come." 15 Then Balaam spoke the message he had received from God. He said, "Here is the message God gave Balaam, the son of Beor. It's the message God gave to the one who sees clearly. 16 It's the message God gave to the one who hears the words of God. The Most High God has given him knowledge. He sees a vision from the Mighty One. He falls down flat with his face toward the ground. His eyes have been opened by the Lord. 17 "I see him, but I don't see him now. I view him, but he isn't near. A star will come from among the people of Jacob. A king will rise up out of Israel. He'll crush the foreheads of the people of Moab. He'll crush the skulls of all of the sons of Sheth. 18 He'll win the battle over Edom. He'll win the battle over his enemy Seir. But Israel will grow strong. 19 A ruler will come from among the people of Jacob. He'll destroy those from the city who are still alive." 20 Then Balaam saw the people of Amalek. He spoke the message he had received from God. He said, "Amalek was the first nation to attack Israel. But they will finally be destroyed." 21 Then he saw the Kenites. He spoke the message he had received from God. He said, "The place where you live is safe. Your nest is on a high cliff. 22 But you Kenites will be destroyed. Assyria will take you as prisoners." 23 Then he spoke the message he had received from God. He said, "Who can live when God does this? 24 Ships will come from the shores of Kittim. They will bring Assyria and Eber under their control. But they themselves will also be destroyed." 25 Then Balaam got up and returned home. And Balak went on his way.
1 Israel was staying in Shittim. The men of Israel began to commit sexual sins with the women of Moab. 2 The women invited the men to feasts and sacrifices in honor of their gods. The people ate and bowed down in front of the statues of those gods. 3 So Israel joined in worshiping the god Baal that was worshiped at Peor. The LORD's anger burned against Israel. 4 The LORD said to Moses, "Take all of the leaders of these people. Kill them. Put their dead bodies out in the open. I want to see you do it in the middle of the day. Then my anger will not burn against Israel." 5 So Moses spoke to Israel's judges. He said, "Some of your men have joined in worshiping the god Baal that is worshiped at Peor. Each of you must kill the men in your tribe who have done that." 6 Then a man of Israel brought a woman of Midian to his family. He did it right in front of the eyes of Moses and the whole community of Israel. They were sobbing at the entrance to the Tent of Meeting. 7 Phinehas was a priest. He was the son of Eleazar, the son of Aaron. When Phinehas saw what had happened, he left the people. He took a spear in his hand. 8 He followed the man into a tent. Phinehas stuck the spear through both the man and the woman. Then the LORD stopped the plague against the people of Israel. 9 But the plague had already killed 24,000 of them. 10 The LORD spoke to Moses. He said, 11 "Phinehas is a priest. He is the son of Eleazar, the son of Aaron. Phinehas has turned my anger away from the people of Israel. I am committed to making sure I am honored among them. And he is as committed as I am. Even though I was angry with them, I did not put an end to them. 12 "So tell Phinehas I am making my covenant with him. It promises to give him peace. 13 He and his sons after him will have a covenant to be priests forever. That is because he was committed to making sure that I, his God, was honored. In that way he paid for the sin of the people of Israel." 14 The name of the man of Israel who was killed was Zimri. He was the son of Salu. Zimri was killed along with the woman of Midian. Salu was a family leader in the tribe of Simeon. 15 The name of the woman of Midian who was killed was Cozbi. She was the daughter of Zur. Zur was the chief of a family in Midian. 16 The LORD spoke to Moses. He said, 17 "Treat the people of Midian just as you would treat enemies. Kill them. 18 After all, they treated you like enemies. They tricked you into worshiping the god Baal that is worshiped at Peor. They also tricked you because of what Cozbi did. She was the woman who was killed when the plague that was connected with Peor came. Cozbi was the daughter of a leader of Midian."
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