Numbers 23

23 And Balaam said to Balak, Build me here seven altars, and prepare me here seven oxen and seven rams.

2 And Balak did as Balaam had spoken, and Balak and Balaam offered on each altar a bull and a ram.

3 And Balaam said to Balak, Stand by your burnt offering and I will go. Perhaps the Lord will come to meet me; and whatever He shows me I will tell you. And he went to a bare height.

4 God met Balaam, who said to Him, I have prepared seven altars, and I have offered on each altar a bull and a ram.

5 And the Lord put a speech in Balaam’s mouth, and said, Return to Balak and thus shall you speak.

6 Balaam returned to Balak, who was standing by his burnt sacrifice, he and all the princes of Moab.

7 Balaam took up his [figurative] speech and said: Balak, the king of Moab, has brought me from Aram, out of the mountains of the east, saying, Come, curse Jacob for me; and come, violently denounce Israel.

8 How can I curse those God has not cursed? Or how can I [violently] denounce those the Lord has not denounced?

9 For from the top of the rocks I see Israel, and from the hills I behold him. Behold, the people [of Israel] shall [a]dwell alone and shall not be reckoned and esteemed among the nations.

10 Who can count the dust (the descendants) of Jacob and the number of the fourth part of Israel? Let me die the death of the righteous [those who are upright and in right standing with God], and let my last end be like theirs!(A)

11 And Balak said to Balaam, What have you done to me? I brought you to curse my enemies, and here you have [thoroughly] blessed them instead!

12 And Balaam answered, Must I not be obedient and speak what the Lord has put in my mouth?

13 Balak said to him, Come with me, I implore you, to another place from which you can see them, though you will see only the nearest and not all of them; and curse them for me from there.

14 So he took Balaam into the field of Zophim to the top of [Mount] Pisgah, and built seven altars, and offered a bull and a ram on each altar.

15 Balaam said to Balak, Stand here by your burnt offering while I go to meet the Lord yonder.

16 And the Lord met Balaam and put a speech in his mouth, and said, Go again to Balak and speak thus.

17 And when he returned to Balak, he was standing beside his burnt offering, and the princes of Moab with him. And Balak said to him, What has the Lord said?

18 Balaam took up his [figurative] discourse and said: Rise up, Balak, and hear; listen [closely] to me, son of Zippor.

19 God is not a man, that He should tell or act a lie, neither the son of man, that He should feel repentance or compunction [for what He has promised]. Has He said and shall He not do it? Or has He spoken and shall He not make it good?

20 You see, I have received His command to bless Israel. He has blessed, and I cannot reverse or qualify it.

21 [God] has not beheld iniquity in Jacob [for he is forgiven], neither has He seen mischief or perverseness in Israel [for the same reason]. The Lord their God is with Israel, and the shout of praise to their King is among the people.(B)

22 God brought them forth out of Egypt; they have as it were the strength of a wild ox.

23 Surely there is no enchantment with or against Jacob, neither is there any divination with or against Israel. [In due season and even] now it shall be said of Jacob and of Israel, What has God wrought!

24 Behold, a people! They rise up as a lioness and lift themselves up as a lion; he shall not lie down until he devours the prey and drinks the blood of the slain.

25 And Balak said to Balaam, Neither curse them at all nor bless them at all.

26 But Balaam answered Balak, Did I not say to you, All the Lord speaks, that I must do?

27 And Balak said to Balaam, Come, I implore you; I will take you to another place. Perhaps it will please God to let you curse them for me from there.

28 So Balak brought Balaam to the top of [Mount] Peor, that overlooks [the wilderness or desert] Jeshimon.

29 And Balaam said to Balak, Build me here seven altars, and prepare me here seven bulls and seven rams.

30 And Balak did as Balaam had said, and offered a bull and a ram on each altar.


  1. Numbers 23:9 The literal fulfillment of this prophecy has been obvious during the more than thirty-four centuries since it was spoken. The Jews have always been separate as a nation from other peoples. Though conquered many times, they have never been absorbed by their conquerors or lost their identity. The prophecy had to become true, for “the Lord put [it]... in Balaam’s mouth” (Num. 23:5).

Cross references

  1. Numbers 23:10 : Ps. 37:37; Rev. 14:13.
  2. Numbers 23:21 : Rom. 4:7, 8; I John 3:1, 2.

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