The Bible in Its Traditions

Numbers 23:1–30

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

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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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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.”

And God met Balaam; and he said unto Him: 'I have prepared the seven altars, and I have offered up a bullock and a ram on every altar.'

And Balaam went to enquire of God; and he went straight forward, and God appeared to Balaam; and Balaam said to him, I have prepared the seven altars, and have offered a calf and a ram on every altar.

And after he had quickly departed, God met with him. And Balaam, speaking to him, said: “I have set up seven altars, and I have placed a calf and a ram on each.”

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And YHWH put a word in Balaam's mouth, and said: 'Return unto Balak, and thus thou shalt speak.'

And God put a word into the mouth of Balaam, and said, thou shalt return to Balac, and thus shalt thou speak.

Then the Lord placed the word in his mouth, and he said: “Return to Balak, and you shall say this.”

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And he returned unto him, and, lo, he stood by his burnt-offering, he, and all the princes of Moab.

And he returned to him, and moreover he stood over his whole-burnt-offerings, and all the princes of Moab with him; and the Spirit of God came upon him.

Returning, he found Balak standing next to his holocaust, with all the leaders of the Moabites.

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And he took up his parable, and said: From Aram Balak bringeth me, the king of Moab from the mountains of the East: 'Come, curse me Jacob, and come, execrate Israel.'

And taking up his parable, he said: “Balak, king of the Moabites, has led me from Aram, from the mountains of the east. ‘Come forth,’ he said, ‘and curse Jacob. Hurry and condemn Israel.’

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How shall I curse, whom God hath not cursed? And how shall I execrate, whom YHWH hath not execrated?

How can I curse whom the Lord curses not? or how can I devote whom God devotes not?

How shall I curse him, whom God has not cursed? For what reason would I condemn him, whom the Lord does not condemn?

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For from the top of the rocks I see him, and from the hills I behold him: lo, it is a people that shall dwell alone, and shall not be reckoned among the nations.

I will look upon him from the tops of the stones, and I will consider him from the hills. This people shall dwell alone, and they shall not be counted among the nations.

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10  Who hath counted the dust of Jacob, or numbered the stock of Israel? Let me die the death of the righteous, and let mine end be like his!

10  Who has exactly calculated the seed of Jacob, and who shall number the families of Israel? let my soul die with the souls of the righteous, and let my seed be as their seed.

10  Who can number the dust that is Jacob, and who can know the number of the stock of Israel? May my soul die a just death, and may my end be like theirs.”

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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.'

11  And Balak said to Balaam: “What is this that you are doing? I called for you, in order to curse my enemies, and to the contrary, you bless them.”

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12  And he answered and said: 'Must I not take heed to speak that which YHWH putteth in my mouth?'

12  And Balaam said to Balac, Whatsoever the Lord shall put into my mouth, shall I not take heed to speak this?

12  He answered him, “How can I say anything other than what the Lord orders?”

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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.'

13  Therefore, Balak said: “Come with me to another place, from where you may see a portion of Israel, though you cannot see them all. Curse them from there.”

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14  And he took him into the field of Zophim, to the top of Pisgah, and built seven altars, and offered up a bullock and a ram on every altar.

14  And he took him to a high place of the field to the top of the quarried rock, and he built there seven altars, and offered a calf and a ram on every altar.

14  And when he had led him to a lofty place, on the top of mount Pisgah, Balaam built seven altars, and placing upon each a calf and a ram,

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15  And he said unto Balak: 'Stand here by thy burnt-offering, while I go toward a meeting yonder.'

15  And Balaam said to Balac, Stand by thy sacrifice, and I will go to enquire of God.

15  he said to Balak, “Stand here next to your holocaust, while I continue on to meet him.”

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16  And YHWH met Balaam, and put a word in his mouth, and said: 'Return unto Balak, and thus shalt thou speak.'

16  And when the Lord had met him, and had put the word in his mouth, he said, “Return to Balak, and you shall say this to him.”

16  And the LORD appeared to Balaam and put a word in his mouth and said to him, Go again to Balak and say thus.

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17  And he came to him, and, lo, he stood by his burnt-offering, and the princes of Moab with him. And Balak said unto him: 'What hath YHWH spoken?'

17  And he returned to him: and he also was standing by his whole-burnt-sacrifice, and all the princes of Moab with him; and Balac said to him, What has the Lord spoken?

17  Returning, he found him standing next to his holocaust, and the leaders of the Moabites were with him. And Balak said to him, “What has the Lord spoken?”

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18  And he took up his parable, and said: Arise, Balak, and hear; give ear unto me, thou son of Zippor

18  But, taking up his parable, he said: “Stand, Balak, and pay attention. Listen, you son of Zippor.

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19  God is not a man, that He should lie; neither the son of man, that He should repent: when He hath said, will He not do it? or when He hath spoken, will He not make it good?

19  God is not as man to waver, nor as the son of man to be threatened; shall he say and not perform? shall he speak and not keep to his word?

19  God is not like a man, so that he would lie, nor is he like a son of man, so that he would be changed. Therefore, having spoken, will he not act? Has he ever spoken, and not fulfilled?

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20  Behold, I am bidden to bless; and when He hath blessed, I cannot call it back.

20  I was led here to bless, and I have no strength to hinder the blessing.

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21  None hath beheld iniquity in Jacob, neither hath one seen perverseness in Israel; YHWH his God is with him, and the shouting for the King is among them.

21  There shall not be trouble in Jacob, neither shall sorrow be seen in Israel: the Lord his God is with him, the glories of rulers are in him.

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22  God who brought them forth out of Egypt is for them like the lofty horns of the wild-ox.

22  It was God who brought him out of Egypt; he has as it were the glory of a unicorn.

22  God brought them out of Egypt with his might and excellency.

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23  For there is no enchantment with Jacob, neither is there any divination with Israel; now is it said of Jacob and of Israel: 'What hath God wrought!'

23  There is no soothsaying in Jacob, nor any divination in Israel. In their times, it shall be told to Jacob and to Israel what God has wrought.

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!

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24  Behold a people that riseth up as a lioness, and as a lion doth he lift himself up; he shall not lie down until he eat of the prey, and drink the blood of the slain.

24  Behold, the people shall rise up as a lion’s whelp, and shall exalt himself as a lion; he shall not lie down till he have eaten the prey, and he shall drink the blood of the slain.

24  Behold, the people will rise up like a lioness, and lie down like a lion. But they will not lie down until they devour the prey and drink the blood of the slain.”

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25  And Balak said unto Balaam: 'Neither curse them at all, nor bless them at all.'

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26  But Balaam answered and said unto Balak: 'Told not I thee, saying: All that YHWH speaketh, that I must do?'

26  And Balaam answered and said to Balac, Spoke I not to thee, saying, Whatsoever thing God shall speak to me, that will I do?

26  And he said, “Have I not told you that whatever God would command of me, I would do?”

27  And Balak said unto Balaam: 'Come now, I will take thee unto another place; peradventure it will please God that thou mayest curse me them from thence.'

27  And Balac said to Balaam, Come and I will remove thee to another place, if it shall please God, and curse me them from thence.

27  And Balak said to him: “Come and I will lead you to another place. If perhaps it may please God, then you may curse them from there.”

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28  And Balak took Balaam unto the top of Peor, that looketh down upon the desert.

28  And when he had led him on to the top of mount Peor, which looks out toward the wilderness,

28  Then Balak took Balaam to the top of Peor, that looks toward Ashimon.

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

29  Balaam said to him, “Build seven altars here for me, and prepare as many calves, and the same number of rams.”

30  And Balak did as Balaam had said, and offered up a bullock and a ram on every altar.

30  Balak did as Balaam had said, and he placed on each altar a calf and a ram.