23
Balaam blessed the Israeli people
Balaam said to King Balak, “Build seven altars for me here. Then kill seven young bulls and seven rams for a sacrifice.” So Balak did that. And then he and Balaam each burned a young bull and a ram as a sacrifice on each altar.
Then Balaam said to Balak, “You stand here close to your burned offerings, and I will go and ask Yahweh if he has something else to tell me. Then I will tell you what he says to me.”
Then Balaam went by himself to the top of a hill, and God appeared to him there. Balaam said to him, “We have built seven altars, and I have killed and burned a young bull and a ram as a sacrifice to you on each altar.”
Then Yahweh gave Balaam a message to give to King Balak. Then he said, “Go back and tell him what I told you.”
When Balaam returned to Balak, Balak was standing with the leaders from Moab beside the offerings he had burned on the altar. This is the message that Balaam told them:
“Balak, the King of Moab, summoned me to come here from Syria;
he brought me here from the hills at the eastern side of Syria.
He said, ‘Come and curse the descendants of Jacob for me,
saying that bad things will happen to these Israeli people!’
But ◄how can I curse people whom God has not cursed?/I certainly cannot curse people whom God has not cursed!► [RHQ]
◄How can I condemn people whom Yahweh has not condemned?/I cannot condemn people whom Yahweh has not condemned!► [RHQ]
I have seen them from the tops of the rocky peaks, .
I see that they are a group of people who live by themselves;
they have separated themselves from other nations.
10 ◄Who can count the descendants of Jacob; they are as numerous as particles of ‘dust/dirt’?/No one can count the descendants of Jacob; they are as numerous as particles of ‘dust/dirt’!► [RHQ]
◄Who can count even a quarter of the Israeli people?/No one can count even a quarter of the Israeli people!► [RHQ]
I wish/hope that I will die like righteous people die;
I hope that I will die peacefully like they will die.”
11 Then Balak said, “What have you done to me [RHQ]? I brought you here to curse my enemies, but instead you have ◄blessed them/asked Yahweh to bless them►!”
12 But Balaam replied, “I can [RHQ] say only what Yahweh tells me to say. I cannot say anything else.”
Balaam prophesied about the Israelis again
13 Then King Balak told Balaam, “Come with me to another place. There you will see only part of the Israeli people, and you will be able to curse those people for me.” 14 So Balak took Balaam to a field on the top of Pisgah Mountain. There, again he built seven altars and offered a young bull and a ram as a sacrifice on each altar.
15 Then Balaam said to the king, “Stand here close to your burned offerings, while I go and talk with Yahweh.”
16 So Balaam did that, and Yahweh appeared to Balaam again and gave him another message. Then he said, “Go back to Balak and tell him that message.”
17 So Balaam returned to where the king and the leaders from Moab were standing, next to the altar where Balak had burned the sacrifices. Balak asked him, “What did Yahweh say?”
18 Then Balaam told him this message:
“Balak, listen carefully;
hear what I have to say, you son of Zippor [DOU]!
19 God is not a human being.
Humans lie, but God never lies.
He never changes his mind/thoughts, as humans do.
Whatever he has said that he will do, he does.
20 He commanded me to request him to bless the Israelis,
So he has blessed them, and I cannot change that.
 
21 Yahweh their God is with/helping them;
they have declared that he is their true king.
So the descendants of Jacob will not be harmed;
they will not have any troubles [DOU].
22 God brought them out of Egypt where they were slaves;
he is as strong as a wild ox.
23 When people curse [PRS] the descendants of Jacob, they will not be harmed;
when people work sorcery on them, it will have no power.
So now people will say about the descendants of Jacob,
‘God has done wonderful things for the Israelis!’
24 They are very strong, like lionesses that are ready to attack other animals;
they stand firm like lions.
The lions refuse to rest until they have killed and eaten their prey,
and drunk the blood of the animals they slaughtered.”
25 Then Balak said to Balaam, “If you will not curse them, then I certainly do not want you to bless them!”
26 But Balaam replied, “I told you that I must do only what Yahweh tells me to do!”
Balaam prophesied about the Israelis a third time
27 Then King Balak said to Balaam, “Come with me; I will take you to another place. Perhaps it will please God to allow you to curse them from that place.” 28 So Balak took Balaam to the top of Peor Mountain where they could look down and see the Israelis in the desert.
29 Balaam again told Balak, “Build me seven altars again and kill seven young bulls and seven rams for a sacrifice.” 30 So Balak did what Balaam told him to do. He burned a young bull and a ram on each altar as sacrifices.