The Bible in Its Traditions

Numbers 22:36–23:3

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36  And when Balak heard that Balaam was come, he went out to meet him unto Ir-moab, which is on the border of Arnon, which is in the utmost part of the border.

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37  And Balak said unto Balaam: 'Did I not earnestly send unto thee to call thee? wherefore camest thou not unto me? am I not able indeed to promote thee to honour?'

37  And he said to Balaam: “I sent messengers to call you. Why did you not come to me immediately? Was it because I am not able to pay the cost for your arrival?”

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38  And Balaam said unto Balak: 'Lo, I am come unto thee; have I now any power at all to speak any thing? the word that God putteth in my mouth, that shall I speak.'

38  And Balaam said to Balac, Behold, I am now come to thee: shall I be able to say anything? the word which God shall put into my mouth, that I shall speak.

38  He answered him: “Behold, here I am. Am I able to speak anything other than what God will put into my mouth?”

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39  And Balaam went with Balak, and they came unto Kiriath-huzoth.

39  Therefore, they continued on together, and they arrived at a city, which was at the furthest borders of his kingdom.

40  And Balak sacrificed oxen and sheep, and sent to Balaam, and to the princes that were with him.

40  And after Balak had killed oxen and sheep, he sent the gifts to Balaam, and to the leaders who were with him.

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41  And it came to pass in the morning that Balak took Balaam, and brought him up into Bamoth-baal, and he saw from thence the utmost part of the people.

41  Then, when morning arrived, he led him to the heights of Baal, and he gazed upon the most distant portions of the population.

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23:1  And Balaam said unto Balak: 'Build me here seven altars, and prepare me here seven bullocks and seven rams.'

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23:2  And Balak did as Balaam had spoken; and Balak and Balaam offered on every altar a bullock and a ram.

And when he had acted according to the words of Balaam, they placed a calf and a ram together on each altar.

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23:3  And Balaam said unto Balak: 'Stand by thy burnt-offering, and I will go; peradventure YHWH will come to meet me; and whatsoever He showeth me I will tell thee.' And he went to a bare height.

And Balaam said to Balac, Stand by thy sacrifice, and I will go and see if God will appear to me and meet me, and the word which he shall shew me, I will report to thee. And Balac stood by his sacrifice.

And Balaam said to Balak: “Stand for a little while next to your holocaust, until I go, to see if perhaps the Lord will meet with me. And whatever he will command, I shall speak to you.”