Numbers 23:1

Balaam’s First Message

1 Balaam said, “Build me seven altars here, and prepare seven bulls and seven rams for me.”

Numbers 23:1 in Other Translations

KJV
1 And Balaam said unto Balak, Build me here seven altars, and prepare me here seven oxen and seven rams.
ESV
1 And Balaam said to Balak, "Build for me here seven altars, and prepare for me here seven bulls and seven rams."
NLT
1 Then Balaam said to King Balak, “Build me seven altars here, and prepare seven young bulls and seven rams for me to sacrifice.”
MSG
1 Balaam said, "Build me seven altars here, and then prepare seven bulls and seven rams."
CSB
1 Then Balaam said to Balak, "Build me seven altars here and prepare seven bulls and seven rams for me."

Numbers 23:1 Meaning and Commentary

Numbers 23:1

And Balaam said unto Balak
When upon one of the high places of Baal, and after having taken a view of the people of Israel as they lay encamped:

build me here seven altars;
this was purely Heathenish; for not only the Israelites after the law of Moses had but one altar, but the patriarchs before that never built but one altar at a time. Some have thought regard is had to the seven planets worshipped by Heathens; though no doubt Balaam pretended to sacrifice to Jehovah the true God, in order to gain him over to him to agree to it to curse Israel, and persuaded Balak, though an idolater, to join with him; and, the more easily to bring him to it, mixes Heathen rites and customs in sacrifice to him:

and prepare me here seven oxen, and seven rams;
which were creatures offered in sacrifice according to the law of Moses, and before that was given, and by persons who were not under it; and even by seven of each sort, and that by the express command of God, ( Job 42:8 ) . It may be observed, that both in this, and the preceding clause, the word here is carefully expressed, namely, in one of the high places; there the altars were erected, and thither the oxen were brought to be sacrificed; so that both the place, and the number of the altars, savoured of Heathenish worship, in which he complied to induce the king to sacrifice to Jehovah.

Numbers 23:1 In-Context

1 Balaam said, “Build me seven altars here, and prepare seven bulls and seven rams for me.”
2 Balak did as Balaam said, and the two of them offered a bull and a ram on each altar.
3 Then Balaam said to Balak, “Stay here beside your offering while I go aside. Perhaps the LORD will come to meet with me. Whatever he reveals to me I will tell you.” Then he went off to a barren height.
4 God met with him, and Balaam said, “I have prepared seven altars, and on each altar I have offered a bull and a ram.”
5 The LORD put a word in Balaam’s mouth and said, “Go back to Balak and give him this word.”

Cross References 1

  • 1. S Numbers 22:40