24:1 1 When Balaam saw that it pleased the Lord to bless Israel,2 he did not go as at the other times3 to seek for omens,4 but he set his face5 toward the wilderness. 24:2 When Balaam lifted up his eyes, he saw Israel camped tribe by tribe;6 and the Spirit of God came upon him. 24:3 Then he uttered this oracle:7
“The oracle8 of Balaam son of Beor;
the oracle of the man whose eyes are open;9
24:4 the oracle of the one who hears the words of God,
who sees a vision from the Almighty,
although falling flat on the ground10 with eyes open:11
24:5 ‘How12 beautiful are your tents, O Jacob,
and your dwelling places, O Israel!
24:6 They are like13 valleys14 stretched forth,
like gardens by the river’s side,
like aloes15 that the Lord has planted,
and like cedar trees beside the waters.
24:7 He will pour the water out of his buckets,16
and their descendants will be like abundant17 water;18
their king will be greater than Agag,19
and their kingdom will be exalted.
24:8 God brought them out of Egypt.
They have, as it were, the strength of a young bull;
they will devour hostile people20
and will break their bones
and will pierce them through with arrows.
24:9 They crouch and lie down like a lion,
and as a lioness,21 who can stir him?
Blessed is the one who blesses you,
and cursed is the one who curses you!’ ”
24:10 Then Balak became very angry at Balaam, and he struck his hands together.22 Balak said to Balaam, “I called you to curse my enemies, and look, you have done nothing but bless23 them these three times! 24:11 So now, go back where you came from!24 I said that I would greatly honor you; but now the Lord has stood in the way of your honor.”
24:12 Balaam said to Balak, “Did I not also tell your messengers whom you sent to me, 24:13 ‘If Balak would give me his palace full of silver and gold, I cannot go beyond25 the commandment26 of the Lord to do either good or evil of my own will,27 but whatever the Lord tells me I must speak’? 24:14 And now, I am about to go28 back to my own people. Come now, and I will advise you as to what this people will do to your people in the future.”29
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