0 Balaam's speeches (Num 23-24)

Episode 65: Balaam's speeches

(Numbers 23-24)

Balaam's first sacrifice and speech

22 41 When Balaam arrived in Moab, he and Balak climbed the mountain of Baal.

23 1 Balaam said to Balak, "Build me seven altars and get seven oxen and rams."

2 Balak did as Balaam asked, and they sacrificed a bullock and a ram on each altar.

3 Balaam said to Balak,

Stand by the burnt offering and I'll go away.

Maybe God will come to meet me. I'll tell you what he shows me.

So Balaam went up to a high place.

4-5 God met Balaam and put a word in Balaam's mouth.

6 So Balaam returned and said this parable to Balak,

7 You brought me out of Aram, saying, "Come curse Jacob for me and defy Israel."

8 But how can I curse whom God hasn't cursed? Or defy whom God hasn't defied?

9 I see them from the hills and the top of the rocks.

10 Who can count Jacob's dust and a quarter of Israel?

Balaam's second sacrifice and speech

11 Balak said to Balaam,

What have you done to me?

I asked you to curse my enemies, not bless them.

12 Balaam said, “Don't I have to say what God told me to say?”

14 Balak took Balaam to the field of Zophim. He built seven altars there and sacrificed a bull and a ram on each altar. 15 Balaam said to Balak,

Stand here by the burnt offering, while I meet God over yonder.

16 God met Balaam and put a word in his mouth.

18 So Balaam said this parable to Balak,

19 God isn't a man, so he doesn't lie.

And he isn't the son of man, so he doesn't repent.

20 God commanded me to bless, and God has blessed.

I can't undo it.

22 God brought them out of Egypt. He is as strong as a unicorn.

24 The people will rise up as lion and drink the blood of the slain.

Balaam's third sacrifice

27 Balak said to Balaam,

Come with me to another place. Maybe God will make you curse the Israelites from there.

28 Balak brought Balaam to the top of Peor.

29 Balaam said to Balak,

Build me seven altars and sacrifice seven bullocks and seven rams.

And Balak did as Balaam asked, and offered a bullock and a ram on every altar.

Balaam’s third speech

241 When Balaam went into the wilderness, he had a vision of Israel in their tents.

2-3 The spirit of God came upon him, and he said these words while falling into a trance with his eyes open:

5 Nice tents you've got there, Jacob. And tabernacles, Israel.

7 His king will be higher than Agag and his kingdom will be exalted.

8 God is as strong as a unicorn.

He will eat up nations, break their bones, and pierce them through with his arrows.

9 He crouches and lays down as a lion. Who will stir him up?

Balak's fourth speech

10 Balak was angry with Balaam. He clapped his hands and said to him,

I asked you to curse my enemies, and you have blessed them three times.

11 Go home.

12 Balaam said,

14 OK, I'll go.

First, though, let me tell you what the Israelites will do to you in the latter days.

15 Balaam said these words to Balak while in a trance with his eyes open:

17 A star will come out of Jacob and a scepter from out of Israel. They will smite Moab and Sheth.

18 Edom and Seir will be their possessions.

20 Then Balaam looked toward Amalek and recited this parable,

Amalek was the first nation, but he will perish forever.

21 Then he looked on the Kenites and recited this parable,

Your dwelling place is strong and you nest in a rock.

22 But the Kenites will be wasted until Asshur carries them captive.

25 Balaam got up and returned home and Balak went on his way.

A few more words about this episode

A star will come out of Jacob (24:17)
This verse is called the "star prophecy" and is sometimes claimed to be a prophecy of the star of Bethlehem (Matthew 2:2).

But this seems unlikely, since the verse refers to Moab, and the kingdom of Moab didn't exist in New Testament times, and Jesus didn't smite Moab or kill the children of Sheth.

("Sheth" here refers to Seth -- the son of Adam, from whom Noah and, according to the Bible, all other humans descended. So if this is a prophecy about Jesus, then it prophesies that Jesus will someday kill everyone on earth.)

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