Numbers 24: 12Balaam said to Balak, “Did I not tell your messengers whom you had sent to me, saying, 13‘Though Balak were to give me his house full of silver and gold, I could not do anything contrary to the command of the LORD, either good or bad, of my own accord. What the LORD speaks, that I will speak’?
Repeatedly, throughout these chapters, Balak tries to get Balaam to curse the Israelites, fearing they will conquer his people. And, repeatedly, not only does Balaam not curse them, but blesses them. It is of no benefit to go against God’s plan, it only causes frustration. How often do we deny His plan for or lives, only serving to frustrate our own plans as well?
Balak Sends for Balaam
1Then the sons of Israel journeyed, and camped in the plains of Moab beyond the Jordan opposite Jericho.
2Now Balak the son of Zippor saw all that Israel had done to the Amorites. 3So Moab was in great fear because of the people, for they were numerous; and Moab was in dread of the sons of Israel. 4Moab said to the elders of Midian, “Now this horde will lick up all that is around us, as the ox licks up the grass of the field.” And Balak the son of Zippor was king of Moab at that time. 5So he sent messengers to Balaam the son of Beor, at Pethor, which is near the River, in the land of the sons of his people, to call him, saying, “Behold, a people came out of Egypt; behold, they cover the surface of the land, and they are living opposite me. 6“Now, therefore, please come, curse this people for me since they are too mighty for me; perhaps I may be able to defeat them and drive them out of the land. For I know that he whom you bless is blessed, and he whom you curse is cursed.”
7So the elders of Moab and the elders of Midian departed with the fees for divination in their hand; and they came to Balaam and repeated Balak’s words to him. 8He said to them, “Spend the night here, and I will bring word back to you as the LORD may speak to me.” And the leaders of Moab stayed with Balaam. 9Then God came to Balaam and said, “Who are these men with you?” 10Balaam said to God, “Balak the son of Zippor, king of Moab, has sent word to me, 11‘Behold, there is a people who came out of Egypt and they cover the surface of the land; now come, curse them for me; perhaps I may be able to fight against them and drive them out.’” 12God said to Balaam, “Do not go with them; you shall not curse the people, for they are blessed.” 13So Balaam arose in the morning and said to Balak’s leaders, “Go back to your land, for the LORD has refused to let me go with you.” 14The leaders of Moab arose and went to Balak and said, “Balaam refused to come with us.”
15Then Balak again sent leaders, more numerous and more distinguished than the former. 16They came to Balaam and said to him, “Thus says Balak the son of Zippor, ‘Let nothing, I beg you, hinder you from coming to me; 17for I will indeed honor you richly, and I will do whatever you say to me. Please come then, curse this people for me.’” 18Balaam replied to the servants of Balak, “Though Balak were to give me his house full of silver and gold, I could not do anything, either small or great, contrary to the command of the LORD my God. 19“Now please, you also stay here tonight, and I will find out what else the LORD will speak to me.” 20God came to Balaam at night and said to him, “If the men have come to call you, rise up and go with them; but only the word which I speak to you shall you do.”
21So Balaam arose in the morning, and saddled his donkey and went with the leaders of Moab.
The Angel and Balaam
22But God was angry because he was going, and the angel of the LORD took his stand in the way as an adversary against him. Now he was riding on his donkey and his two servants were with him. 23When the donkey saw the angel of the LORD standing in the way with his drawn sword in his hand, the donkey turned off from the way and went into the field; but Balaam struck the donkey to turn her back into the way. 24Then the angel of the LORD stood in a narrow path of the vineyards, with a wall on this side and a wall on that side. 25When the donkey saw the angel of the LORD, she pressed herself to the wall and pressed Balaam’s foot against the wall, so he struck her again. 26The angel of the LORD went further, and stood in a narrow place where there was no way to turn to the right hand or the left. 27When the donkey saw the angel of the LORD, she lay down under Balaam; so Balaam was angry and struck the donkey with his stick. 28And the LORD opened the mouth of the donkey, and she said to Balaam, “What have I done to you, that you have struck me these three times?” 29Then Balaam said to the donkey, “Because you have made a mockery of me! If there had been a sword in my hand, I would have killed you by now.” 30The donkey said to Balaam, “Am I not your donkey on which you have ridden all your life to this day? Have I ever been accustomed to do so to you?” And he said, “No.”
31Then the LORD opened the eyes of Balaam, and he saw the angel of the LORD standing in the way with his drawn sword in his hand; and he bowed all the way to the ground. 32The angel of the LORD said to him, “Why have you struck your donkey these three times? Behold, I have come out as an adversary, because your way was contrary to me. 33“But the donkey saw me and turned aside from me these three times. If she had not turned aside from me, I would surely have killed you just now, and let her live.” 34Balaam said to the angel of the LORD, “I have sinned, for I did not know that you were standing in the way against me. Now then, if it is displeasing to you, I will turn back.” 35But the angel of the LORD said to Balaam, “Go with the men, but you shall speak only the word which I tell you.” So Balaam went along with the leaders of Balak.
36When Balak heard that Balaam was coming, he went out to meet him at the city of Moab, which is on the Arnon border, at the extreme end of the border. 37Then Balak said to Balaam, “Did I not urgently send to you to call you? Why did you not come to me? Am I really unable to honor you?” 38So Balaam said to Balak, “Behold, I have come now to you! Am I able to speak anything at all? The word that God puts in my mouth, that I shall speak.” 39And Balaam went with Balak, and they came to Kiriath-huzoth. 40Balak sacrificed oxen and sheep, and sent some to Balaam and the leaders who were with him.
41Then it came about in the morning that Balak took Balaam and brought him up to the high places of Baal, and he saw from there a portion of the people.
The Prophecies of Balaam
1Then Balaam said to Balak, “Build seven altars for me here, and prepare seven bulls and seven rams for me here.” 2Balak did just as Balaam had spoken, and Balak and Balaam offered up a bull and a ram on each altar. 3Then Balaam said to Balak, “Stand beside your burnt offering, and I will go; perhaps the LORD will come to meet me, and whatever He shows me I will tell you.” So he went to a bare hill.
4Now God met Balaam, and he said to Him, “I have set up the seven altars, and I have offered up a bull and a ram on each altar.” 5Then the LORD put a word in Balaam’s mouth and said, “Return to Balak, and you shall speak thus.” 6So he returned to him, and behold, he was standing beside his burnt offering, he and all the leaders of Moab. 7He took up his discourse and said,
“From Aram Balak has brought me,
Moab’s king from the mountains of the East,
‘Come curse Jacob for me,
And come, denounce Israel!’
8 “How shall I curse whom God has not cursed?
And how can I denounce whom the LORD has not denounced?
9 “As I see him from the top of the rocks,
And I look at him from the hills;
Behold, a people who dwells apart,
And will not be reckoned among the nations.
10 “Who can count the dust of Jacob,
Or number the fourth part of Israel?
Let me die the death of the upright,
And let my end be like his!”
11Then Balak said to Balaam, “What have you done to me? I took you to curse my enemies, but behold, you have actually blessed them!” 12He replied, “Must I not be careful to speak what the LORD puts in my mouth?”
13Then Balak said to him, “Please come with me to another place from where you may see them, although you will only see the extreme end of them and will not see all of them; and curse them for me from there.” 14So he took him to the field of Zophim, to the top of Pisgah, and built seven altars and offered a bull and a ram on each altar. 15And he said to Balak, “Stand here beside your burnt offering while I myself meet the LORD over there.” 16Then the LORD met Balaam and put a word in his mouth and said, “Return to Balak, and thus you shall speak.” 17He came to him, and behold, he was standing beside his burnt offering, and the leaders of Moab with him. And Balak said to him, “What has the LORD spoken?” 18Then he took up his discourse and said,
“Arise, O Balak, and hear;
Give ear to me, O son of Zippor!
19 “God is not a man, that He should lie,
Nor a son of man, that He should repent;
Has He said, and will He not do it?
Or has He spoken, and will He not make it good?
20 “Behold, I have received a command to bless;
When He has blessed, then I cannot revoke it.
21 “He has not observed misfortune in Jacob;
Nor has He seen trouble in Israel;
The LORD his God is with him,
And the shout of a king is among them.
22 “God brings them out of Egypt,
He is for them like the horns of the wild ox.
23 “For there is no omen against Jacob,
Nor is there any divination against Israel;
At the proper time it shall be said to Jacob
And to Israel, what God has done!
24 “Behold, a people rises like a lioness,
And as a lion it lifts itself;
It will not lie down until it devours the prey,
And drinks the blood of the slain.”
25Then Balak said to Balaam, “Do not curse them at all nor bless them at all!” 26But Balaam replied to Balak, “Did I not tell you, ‘Whatever the LORD speaks, that I must do’?”
27Then Balak said to Balaam, “Please come, I will take you to another place; perhaps it will be agreeable with God that you curse them for me from there.” 28So Balak took Balaam to the top of Peor which overlooks the wasteland. 29Balaam said to Balak, “Build seven altars for me here and prepare seven bulls and seven rams for me here.” 30Balak did just as Balaam had said, and offered up a bull and a ram on each altar.
The Prophecy from Peor
1When Balaam saw that it pleased the LORD to bless Israel, he did not go as at other times to seek omens but he set his face toward the wilderness. 2And Balaam lifted up his eyes and saw Israel camping tribe by tribe; and the Spirit of God came upon him. 3He took up his discourse and said,
“The oracle of Balaam the son of Beor,
And the oracle of the man whose eye is opened;
4 The oracle of him who hears the words of God,
Who sees the vision of the Almighty,
Falling down, yet having his eyes uncovered,
5 How fair are your tents, O Jacob,
Your dwellings, O Israel!
6 “Like valleys that stretch out,
Like gardens beside the river,
Like aloes planted by the LORD,
Like cedars beside the waters.
7 “Water will flow from his buckets,
And his seed will be by many waters,
And his king shall be higher than Agag,
And his kingdom shall be exalted.
8 “God brings him out of Egypt,
He is for him like the horns of the wild ox.
He will devour the nations who are his adversaries,
And will crush their bones in pieces,
And shatter them with his arrows.
9 “He couches, he lies down as a lion,
And as a lion, who dares rouse him?
Blessed is everyone who blesses you,
And cursed is everyone who curses you.”
10Then Balak’s anger burned against Balaam, and he struck his hands together; and Balak said to Balaam, “I called you to curse my enemies, but behold, you have persisted in blessing them these three times! 11“Therefore, flee to your place now. I said I would honor you greatly, but behold, the LORD has held you back from honor.” 12Balaam said to Balak, “Did I not tell your messengers whom you had sent to me, saying, 13‘Though Balak were to give me his house full of silver and gold, I could not do anything contrary to the command of the LORD, either good or bad, of my own accord. What the LORD speaks, that I will speak’? 14“And now, behold, I am going to my people; come, and I will advise you what this people will do to your people in the days to come.”
15He took up his discourse and said,
“The oracle of Balaam the son of Beor,
And the oracle of the man whose eye is opened,
16 The oracle of him who hears the words of God,
And knows the knowledge of the Most High,
Who sees the vision of the Almighty,
Falling down, yet having his eyes uncovered.
17 “I see him, but not now;
I behold him, but not near;
A star shall come forth from Jacob,
A scepter shall rise from Israel,
And shall crush through the forehead of Moab,
And tear down all the sons of Sheth.
18 “Edom shall be a possession,
Seir, its enemies, also will be a possession,
While Israel performs valiantly.
19 “One from Jacob shall have dominion,
And will destroy the remnant from the city.”
20And he looked at Amalek and took up his discourse and said,
“Amalek was the first of the nations,
But his end shall be destruction.”
21And he looked at the Kenite, and took up his discourse and said,
“Your dwelling place is enduring,
And your nest is set in the cliff.
22 “Nevertheless Kain will be consumed;
How long will Asshur keep you captive?”
23He took up his discourse and said,
“Alas, who can live except God has ordained it?
24 “But ships shall come from the coast of Kittim,
And they shall afflict Asshur and will afflict Eber;
So they also will come to destruction.”
25Then Balaam arose and departed and returned to his place, and Balak also went his way.
Prayer for Rescue from Enemies.
A Psalm of David.
1 Contend, O LORD, with those who contend with me;
Fight against those who fight against me.
2 Take hold of buckler and shield
And rise up for my help.
3 Draw also the spear and the battle-axe to meet those who pursue me;
Say to my soul, “I am your salvation.”
4 Let those be ashamed and dishonored who seek my life;
Let those be turned back and humiliated who devise evil against me.
5 Let them be like chaff before the wind,
With the angel of the LORD driving them on.
6 Let their way be dark and slippery,
With the angel of the LORD pursuing them.
7 For without cause they hid their net for me;
Without cause they dug a pit for my soul.
8 Let destruction come upon him unawares,
And let the net which he hid catch himself;
Into that very destruction let him fall.
9 And my soul shall rejoice in the LORD;
It shall exult in His salvation.
10 All my bones will say, “LORD, who is like You,
Who delivers the afflicted from him who is too strong for him,
And the afflicted and the needy from him who robs him?”
11 Malicious witnesses rise up;
They ask me of things that I do not know.
12 They repay me evil for good,
To the bereavement of my soul.
13 But as for me, when they were sick, my clothing was sackcloth;
I humbled my soul with fasting,
And my prayer kept returning to my bosom.