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Numbers chapter 23

New International Version

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?'
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 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 Jacob, no evil omens against 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?'
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.
English Standard Version

1 And Balaam said to Balak, “Build for me here seven altars, and prepare for me here seven bulls and seven rams.” 2 Balak did as Balaam had said. And Balak and Balaam offered on each altar a bull and a ram. 3 And Balaam said to Balak, “Stand beside 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 and God met Balaam. And Balaam said to him, “I have arranged the seven altars and I have offered on each altar a bull and a ram.” 5 And the LORD put a word in Balaam’s mouth and said, “Return to Balak, and thus you shall speak.” 6 And he returned to him, and behold, he and all the princes of Moab were standing beside his burnt offering. 7 And Balaam took up his discourse and said, “From Aram Balak has brought me, the king of Moab from the eastern mountains: ‘Come, curse Jacob for me, and come, denounce Israel!’
8 How can I curse whom God has not cursed? How can I denounce whom the LORD has not denounced? 9 For from the top of the crags I see him, from the hills I behold him; behold, a people dwelling alone, and not counting itself among the nations! 10 Who can count the dust of Jacob or number the fourth part of Israel? Let me die the death of the upright, and let my end be like his!” 11 And Balak said to Balaam, “What have you done to me? I took you to curse my enemies, and behold, you have done nothing but bless them.” 12 And he answered and said, “Must I not take care to speak what the LORD puts in my mouth?”
13 And Balak said to him, “Please come with me to another place, from which you may see them. You shall see only a fraction of them and shall not see them all. Then curse them for me from there.” 14 And he took him to the field of Zophim, to the top of Pisgah, and built seven altars and offered a bull and a ram on each altar. 15 Balaam said to Balak, “Stand here beside your burnt offering, while I meet the LORD over there.” 16 And the LORD met Balaam and put a word in his mouth and said, “Return to Balak, and thus shall you speak.” 17 And he came to him, and behold, he was standing beside his burnt offering, and the princes of Moab with him. And Balak said to him, “What has the LORD spoken?” 18 And Balaam took up his discourse and said, “Rise, Balak, and hear; give ear to me, O son of Zippor:
19 God is not man, that he should lie, or a son of man, that he should change his mind. Has he said, and will he not do it? Or has he spoken, and will he not fulfill it? 20 Behold, I received a command to bless: he has blessed, and I cannot revoke it. 21 He has not beheld misfortune in Jacob, nor has he seen trouble in Israel. The LORD their God is with them, and the shout of a king is among them. 22 God brings them out of Egypt and is for them like the horns of the wild ox. 23 For there is no enchantment against Jacob, no divination against Israel; now it shall be said of Jacob and Israel, ‘What has God wrought!’ 24 Behold, a people! As a lioness it rises up and as a lion it lifts itself; it does not lie down until it has devoured the prey and drunk the blood of the slain.” 25 And Balak said to Balaam, “Do not curse them at all, and do not bless them at all.” 26 But Balaam answered Balak, “Did I not tell you, ‘All that the LORD says, that I must do’?” 27 And Balak said to Balaam, “Come now, I will take you to another place. Perhaps it will please God that you may curse them for me from there.” 28 So Balak took Balaam to the top of Peor, which overlooks the desert. 29 And Balaam said to Balak, “Build for me here seven altars and prepare for 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.
King James Version

1 And Balaam said unto 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 every altar a bullock and a ram. 3 And Balaam said unto Balak, Stand by thy burnt offering, and I will go: peradventure the LORD will come to meet me: and whatsoever he sheweth me I will tell thee. And he went to an high place. 4 And God met Balaam: and he said unto him, I have prepared seven altars, and I have offered upon every altar a bullock and a ram. 5 And the LORD put a word in Balaam's mouth, and said, Return unto Balak, and thus thou shalt speak. 6 And he returned unto him, and, lo, he stood by his burnt sacrifice, he, and all the princes of Moab. 7 And he took up his parable, and said, Balak the king of Moab hath brought me from Aram, out of the mountains of the east, saying, Come, curse me Jacob, and come, defy Israel. 8 How shall I curse, whom God hath not cursed? or how shall I defy, whom the LORD hath not defied? 9 For from the top of the rocks I see him, and from the hills I behold him: lo, the people shall dwell alone, and shall not be reckoned among the nations. 10 Who can count the dust of Jacob, and the number of the fourth part of Israel? Let me die the death of the righteous, and let my last end be like his! 11 And Balak said unto Balaam, What hast thou done unto me? I took thee to curse mine enemies, and, behold, thou hast blessed them altogether. 12 And he answered and said, Must I not take heed to speak that which the LORD hath put in my mouth?
13 And Balak said unto him, Come, I pray thee, with me unto another place, from whence thou mayest see them: thou shalt see but the utmost part of them, and shalt not see them all: and curse me them from thence. 14 And he brought him into the field of Zophim, to the top of Pisgah, and built seven altars, and offered a bullock and a ram on every altar. 15 And he said unto Balak, Stand here by thy burnt offering, while I meet the LORD yonder. 16 And the LORD met Balaam, and put a word in his mouth, and said, Go again unto Balak, and say thus. 17 And when he came to him, behold, he stood by his burnt offering, and the princes of Moab with him. And Balak said unto him, What hath the LORD spoken? 18 And he took up his parable, and said, Rise up, Balak, and hear; hearken unto me, thou son of Zippor: 19 God is not a man, that he should lie; neither the son of man, that he should repent: hath he said, and shall he not do it? or hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good? 20 Behold, I have received commandment to bless: and he hath blessed; and I cannot reverse it. 21 He hath not beheld iniquity in Jacob, neither hath he seen perverseness in Israel: the LORD his God is with him, and the shout of a king is among them. 22 God brought them out of Egypt; he hath as it were the strength of an unicorn. 23 Surely there is no enchantment against Jacob, neither is there any divination against Israel: according to this time it shall be said of Jacob and of Israel, What hath God wrought! 24 Behold, the people shall rise up as a great lion, and lift up himself as a young lion: he shall not lie down until he eat of the prey, and drink the blood of the slain. 25 And Balak said unto Balaam, Neither curse them at all, nor bless them at all. 26 But Balaam answered and said unto Balak, Told not I thee, saying, All that the LORD speaketh, that I must do? 27 And Balak said unto Balaam, Come, I pray thee, I will bring thee unto another place; peradventure it will please God that thou mayest curse me them from thence. 28 And Balak brought Balaam unto the top of Peor, that looketh toward Jeshimon. 29 And Balaam said unto Balak, Build me here seven altars, and prepare me here seven bullocks and seven rams. 30 And Balak did as Balaam had said, and offered a bullock and a ram on every altar.
New American Standard Bible

1 Then Balaam said to Balak, 'Build seven altars for me here, and prepare seven bulls and seven rams for me here.' 2 Balak did just as Balaam had spoken, and Balak and Balaam offered up a bull and a ram on each altar. 3 Then Balaam said to Balak, 'Stand beside your burnt offering, and I will go; perhaps the LORD will come to meet me, and whatever He shows me I will tell you.' So he went to a bare hill.
4 Now God met with Balaam, and he said to Him, 'I have set up the seven altars, and I have offered up a bull and a ram on each altar.' 5 Then the LORD put a word in Balaam’s mouth and said, 'Return to Balak, and this is what you shall speak.' 6 So he returned to him, and behold, he was standing beside his burnt offering, he and all the leaders of Moab.
7 And he took up his discourse and said, 'From Aram Balak has brought me, Moab’s king from the mountains of the East, saying, ‘Come, declare Jacob cursed for me, And come, curse Israel!’ 8 How am I to put a curse on him upon whom God has not put a curse? And how am I to curse him whom the LORD has not cursed? 9 For I see him from the top of the rocks, And I look at him from the hills; Behold, a people that lives in isolation, And does not consider itself to be among the nations.
10 Who has counted the dust of Jacob, Or the number of the fourth part of Israel? May I die the death of the upright, And may my end be like his!'
11 Then Balak said to Balaam, 'What have you done to me? I took you to put a curse on my enemies, but behold, you have actually blessed them!' 12 He replied, 'Must I not be careful to speak what the LORD puts in my mouth?'
13 Then Balak said to him, 'Please come with me to another place from where you may see them, although you will only see the extreme end of them and will not see all of them; and put a curse on them for me from there.' 14 So he took him to the field of Zophim, to the top of Pisgah, and he built seven altars and offered a bull and a ram on each altar. 15 Then he said to Balak, 'Stand here beside your burnt offering while I myself meet the LORD over there.' 16 Then the LORD met Balaam and put a word in his mouth, and said, 'Return to Balak, and this is what you shall speak.' 17 So he came to him, and behold, he was standing beside his burnt offering, and the leaders of Moab with him. And Balak said to him, 'What has the LORD spoken?'
18 Then he took up his discourse and said, 'Arise, Balak, and hear; Listen to me, son of Zippor! 19 God is not a man, that He would lie, Nor a son of man, that He would change His mind; Has He said, and will He not do it? Or has He spoken, and will He not make it good? 20 Behold, I have received a command to bless; When He has blessed, I cannot revoke it. 21 He has not looked at misfortune in Jacob; Nor has He seen trouble in Israel; The LORD his God is with him, And the joyful shout of a king is among them. 22 God brings them out of Egypt, He is for them like the horns of the wild ox. 23 For there is no magic curse against Jacob, Nor is there any divination against Israel; At the proper time it shall be said to Jacob And to Israel, what God has done!
24 Behold, a people rises like a lioness, And like a lion it raises itself; It will not lie down until it devours the prey, And drinks the blood of those slain.'
25 Then Balak said to Balaam, 'Do not curse them at all nor bless them at all!' 26 But Balaam replied to Balak, 'Did I not tell you, ‘Whatever the LORD speaks, I must do’?'
27 Then Balak said to Balaam, 'Please come, I will take you to another place; perhaps it will be agreeable with God that you curse them for me from there.' 28 So Balak took Balaam to the top of Peor, which overlooks the desert. 29 And Balaam said to Balak, 'Build seven altars for me here and prepare seven bulls and seven rams for me here.' 30 Balak did just as Balaam had said, and offered up a bull and a ram on each altar.
New Living Translation

1 Then Balaam said to King Balak, 'Build me seven altars here, and prepare seven young bulls and seven rams for me to sacrifice.' 2 Balak followed his instructions, and the two of them sacrificed a young bull and a ram on each altar.
3 Then Balaam said to Balak, 'Stand here by your burnt offerings, and I will go to see if the LORD will respond to me. Then I will tell you whatever he reveals to me.' So Balaam went alone to the top of a bare hill, 4 and God met him there. Balaam said to him, 'I have prepared seven altars and have sacrificed a young bull and a ram on each altar.'
5 The LORD gave Balaam a message for King Balak. Then he said, 'Go back to Balak and give him my message.'
6 So Balaam returned and found the king standing beside his burnt offerings with all the officials of Moab.
7 This was the message Balaam delivered: 'Balak summoned me to come from Aram; the king of Moab brought me from the eastern hills. 'Come,' he said, 'curse Jacob for me! Come and announce Israel's doom.' 8 But how can I curse those whom God has not cursed? How can I condemn those whom the LORD has not condemned? 9 I see them from the cliff tops; I watch them from the hills. I see a people who live by themselves, set apart from other nations. 10 Who can count Jacob's descendants, as numerous as dust? Who can count even a fourth of Israel's people? Let me die like the righteous; let my life end like theirs.'
11 Then King Balak demanded of Balaam, 'What have you done to me? I brought you to curse my enemies. Instead, you have blessed them!'
12 But Balaam replied, 'I will speak only the message that the LORD puts in my mouth.'
13 Then King Balak told him, 'Come with me to another place. There you will see another part of the nation of Israel, but not all of them. Curse at least that many!' 14 So Balak took Balaam to the plateau of Zophim on Pisgah Peak. He built seven altars there and offered a young bull and a ram on each altar.
15 Then Balaam said to the king, 'Stand here by your burnt offerings while I go over there to meet the LORD.'
16 And the LORD met Balaam and gave him a message. Then he said, 'Go back to Balak and give him my message.'
17 So Balaam returned and found the king standing beside his burnt offerings with all the officials of Moab. 'What did the LORD say?' Balak asked eagerly.
18 This was the message Balaam delivered: 'Rise up, Balak, and listen! Hear me, son of Zippor. 19 God is not a man, so he does not lie. He is not human, so he does not change his mind. Has he ever spoken and failed to act? Has he ever promised and not carried it through? 20 Listen, I received a command to bless; God has blessed, and I cannot reverse it! 21 No misfortune is in his plan for Jacob; no trouble is in store for Israel. For the LORD their God is with them; he has been proclaimed their king. 22 God brought them out of Egypt; for them he is as strong as a wild ox. 23 No curse can touch Jacob; no magic has any power against Israel. For now it will be said of Jacob, 'What wonders God has done for Israel!' 24 These people rise up like a lioness, like a majestic lion rousing itself. They refuse to rest until they have feasted on prey, drinking the blood of the slaughtered!'
25 Then Balak said to Balaam, 'Fine, but if you won't curse them, at least don't bless them!'
26 But Balaam replied to Balak, 'Didn't I tell you that I can do only what the LORD tells me?'
27 Then King Balak said to Balaam, 'Come, I will take you to one more place. Perhaps it will please God to let you curse them from there.'
28 So Balak took Balaam to the top of Mount Peor, overlooking the wasteland. 29 Balaam again told Balak, 'Build me seven altars, and prepare seven young bulls and seven rams for me to sacrifice.' 30 So Balak did as Balaam ordered and offered a young bull and a ram on each altar.
Christian Standard Bible

1 Then Balaam said to Balak, "Build me seven altars here and prepare seven bulls and seven rams for me." 2 So Balak did as Balaam directed, and they offered a bull and a ram on each altar. 3 Balaam said to Balak, "Stay here by your burnt offering while I am gone. Maybe the LORD will meet with me. I will tell you whatever he reveals to me." So he went to a barren hill.
4 God met with him and Balaam said to him, "I have arranged seven altars and offered a bull and a ram on each altar." 5 Then the LORD put a message in Balaam's mouth and said, "Return to Balak and say what I tell you."
6 So he returned to Balak, who was standing there by his burnt offering with all the officials of Moab.
7 Balaam proclaimed his poem: Balak brought me from Aram; the king of Moab, from the eastern mountains: "Come, put a curse on Jacob for me; come, denounce Israel!" 8 How can I curse someone God has not cursed? How can I denounce someone the LORD has not denounced? 9 I see them from the top of rocky cliffs, and I watch them from the hills. There is a people living alone; it does not consider itself among the nations. 10 Who has counted the dust of Jacob or numbered even one-fourth of Israel? Let me die the death of the upright; let the end of my life be like theirs.
11 "What have you done to me?" Balak asked Balaam. "I brought you to curse my enemies, but look, you have only blessed them!"
12 He answered, "Shouldn't I say exactly what the LORD puts in my mouth?"
13 Then Balak said to him, "Please come with me to another place where you can see them. You will only see the outskirts of their camp; you won't see all of them. From there, put a curse on them for me." 14 So Balak took him to Lookout Field on top of Pisgah, built seven altars, and offered a bull and a ram on each altar.
15 Balaam said to Balak, "Stay here by your burnt offering while I seek the LORD over there."
16 The LORD met with Balaam and put a message in his mouth. Then he said, "Return to Balak and say what I tell you."
17 So he returned to Balak, who was standing there by his burnt offering with the officials of Moab. Balak asked him, "What did the LORD say?"
18 Balaam proclaimed his poem: Balak, get up and listen; son of Zippor, pay attention to what I say! 19 God is not a man, that he might lie, or a son of man, that he might change his mind. Does he speak and not act, or promise and not fulfill? 20 I have indeed received a command to bless; since he has blessed, I cannot change it. 21 He considers no disaster for Jacob; he sees no trouble for Israel. The LORD their God is with them, and there is rejoicing over the King among them. 22 God brought them out of Egypt; he is like the horns of a wild ox for them. 23 There is no magic curse against Jacob and no divination against Israel. It will now be said about Jacob and Israel, "What great things God has done!" 24 A people rise up like a lioness; they rouse themselves like a lion. They will not lie down until they devour the prey and drink the blood of the slain.
25 Then Balak told Balaam, "Don't curse them and don't bless them!"
26 But Balaam answered him, "Didn't I tell you: Whatever the LORD says, I must do?"
27 Again Balak said to Balaam, "Please come. I will take you to another place. Maybe it will be agreeable to God that you can put a curse on them for me there." 28 So Balak took Balaam to the top of Peor, which overlooks the wasteland.
29 Balaam told Balak, "Build me seven altars here and prepare seven bulls and seven rams for me." 30 So Balak did as Balaam said and offered a bull and a ram on each altar.

What does Numbers chapter 23 mean?

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