Numbers 23

Balaam’s First Message

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.”
6 So he went back to him and found him standing beside his offering, with all the Moabite officials.
7 Then Balaam spoke his message: “Balak brought me from Aram, the king of Moab from the eastern mountains. ‘Come,’ he said, ‘curse Jacob for me; come, denounce Israel.’
8 How can I curse those whom God has not cursed? How can I denounce those whom the LORD has not denounced?
9 From the rocky peaks I see them, from the heights I view them. I see a people who live apart and do not consider themselves one of the nations.
10 Who can count the dust of Jacob or number even a fourth of Israel? Let me die the death of the righteous, and may my final end be like theirs!”
11 Balak said to Balaam, “What have you done to me? I brought you to curse my enemies, but you have done nothing but bless them!”
12 He answered, “Must I not speak what the LORD puts in my mouth?”

Balaam’s Second Message

13 Then Balak said to him, “Come with me to another place where you can see them; you will not see them all but only the outskirts of their camp. And from there, curse them for me.”
14 So he took him to the field of Zophim on the top of Pisgah, and there he built seven altars and offered a bull and a ram on each altar.
15 Balaam said to Balak, “Stay here beside your offering while I meet with him over there.”
16 The LORD met with Balaam and put a word in his mouth and said, “Go back to Balak and give him this word.”
17 So he went to him and found him standing beside his offering, with the Moabite officials. Balak asked him, “What did the LORD say?”
18 Then he spoke his message: “Arise, Balak, and listen; hear me, son of Zippor.
19 God is not human, that he should lie, not a human being, that he should change his mind. Does he speak and then not act? Does he promise and not fulfill?
20 I have received a command to bless; he has blessed, and I cannot change it.
21 “No misfortune is seen in Jacob, no misery observed[a] 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 have the strength of a wild ox.
23 There is no divination against[b] Jacob, no evil omens against[c] Israel. It will now be said of Jacob and of Israel, ‘See what God has done!’
24 The people rise like a lioness; they rouse themselves like a lion that does not rest till it devours its prey and drinks the blood of its victims.”
25 Then Balak said to Balaam, “Neither curse them at all nor bless them at all!”
26 Balaam answered, “Did I not tell you I must do whatever the LORD says?”

Balaam’s Third Message

27 Then Balak said to Balaam, “Come, let me take you to another place. Perhaps it will please God to let you curse them for me from there.”
28 And Balak took Balaam to the top of Peor, overlooking the wasteland.
29 Balaam said, “Build me seven altars here, and prepare seven bulls and seven rams for me.”
30 Balak did as Balaam had said, and offered a bull and a ram on each altar.

Cross References 54

  • 1. S Numbers 22:40
  • 2. ver 14,30
  • 3. ver 15
  • 4. ver 16
  • 5. S Exodus 4:12; Isaiah 59:21; Deuteronomy 18:18; Jeremiah 1:9
  • 6. S Exodus 4:15
  • 7. S Numbers 22:20
  • 8. ver 17
  • 9. Numbers 22:5; Joshua 24:9
  • 10. ver 18; Numbers 24:3,21; 2 Samuel 23:1
  • 11. 2 Kings 5:1
  • 12. S Genesis 24:10
  • 13. S Numbers 22:6; Nehemiah 13:2; Deuteronomy 23:4
  • 14. Numbers 22:12
  • 15. ver 20; Isaiah 43:13
  • 16. Numbers 22:41
  • 17. S Exodus 33:16; S Deuteronomy 32:8; Deuteronomy 33:28
  • 18. S Genesis 13:16
  • 19. Psalms 16:3; Psalms 116:15; Isaiah 57:1
  • 20. Psalms 37:37
  • 21. S Numbers 22:6
  • 22. Numbers 24:10; Joshua 24:10; Nehemiah 13:2
  • 23. S Numbers 22:18,20; Numbers 22:20,38
  • 24. ver 27
  • 25. Numbers 22:41
  • 26. S Numbers 22:6
  • 27. S Numbers 21:20; Numbers 27:12
  • 28. S ver 2
  • 29. S Exodus 4:15; S Numbers 22:38
  • 30. ver 6
  • 31. S ver 7
  • 32. Numbers 22:2
  • 33. Job 9:32; Isaiah 55:9; Hosea 11:9
  • 34. S Numbers 11:23
  • 35. 1 Samuel 15:29; Job 12:13; Job 36:5; Psalms 33:11; Psalms 89:34; Psalms 102:27; Psalms 110:4; Jeremiah 4:28; Jeremiah 7:16; Malachi 3:6; Titus 1:2; Hebrews 6:18; Hebrews 7:21; James 1:17
  • 36. 2 Samuel 7:25; Psalms 119:38
  • 37. ver 5,16; Numbers 24:1
  • 38. Genesis 22:17; Numbers 22:12
  • 39. S ver 8; S Job 9:12; Isaiah 43:13
  • 40. Psalms 32:2,5; Psalms 85:2; Romans 4:7-8
  • 41. Isaiah 33:24; Isaiah 40:2; Jeremiah 50:20
  • 42. S Genesis 26:3; Exodus 29:45,46; Deuteronomy 4:7; Psalms 34:17-18; Psalms 145:18; Zechariah 2:10
  • 43. Deuteronomy 32:15; Deuteronomy 33:5; Psalms 89:15-18; Isaiah 44:2
  • 44. Numbers 24:8; Joshua 2:10; Joshua 9:9
  • 45. Deuteronomy 33:17; Job 39:9; Psalms 22:21; Psalms 29:6; Psalms 92:10; Isaiah 34:7
  • 46. ver 3; S Genesis 30:27; Numbers 24:1; Joshua 13:22
  • 47. Numbers 24:9; Ezekiel 19:2; Nahum 2:11
  • 48. S Genesis 49:9
  • 49. Isaiah 49:26
  • 50. S Numbers 22:18,20
  • 51. ver 13
  • 52. Numbers 24:10
  • 53. Numbers 25:3,18; Numbers 31:16; Deuteronomy 3:29; Deuteronomy 4:3; Joshua 22:17; Psalms 106:28; Hosea 9:10
  • 54. S ver 2

Footnotes 3

  • [a]. Or "He has not looked on Jacob’s offenses" / "or on the wrongs found"
  • [b]. Or "in"
  • [c]. Or "in"

Numbers 23 Commentaries

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