Numbers 24:1-14

Balaam's third message from God

1 Balaam realized that the Lord wanted to bless the Israelites. So he did not use magic again to find out what the Lord wanted him to do. Instead, he looked towards the desert. 2 When he looked, he saw the Israelite people. They had put up their tents in groups for each tribe. Then the Spirit of God came on him. 3 As a result, Balaam said, ‘This is God's message that he has given to Balaam, the son of Beor. It is the words of a man who understands what God is saying. 4 It is the message of a man who hears God's words. I am a man who sees a vision that God Almighty has shown to him. I lie down on the ground, but my eyes are open! I see this:

5 The tents where the Israelites live are beautiful! 6 They are like green gardens in a valley beside a river. They are like tall trees that the Lord has put there. They are like cedar trees that grow beside water.

7 God will give them plenty of rain. Their descendants will always have plenty of water. Their king will be more powerful than Agag. Their kingdom will be great.

8 God brought them out of Egypt. God fights for them like a wild bull. He will destroy the nations who are their enemies. He will break their enemies' bones into pieces. He will shoot his arrows at them.

9 The Israelites are like a lion. When it is asleep, nobody is brave enough to wake it. God blesses those who bless you, Israel. And those who curse you are truly cursed.’

10 When Balaam said that, Balak became very angry with him. He hit his hands together and he said to Balaam, ‘I asked you to come here and to curse my enemies, the Israelites. But you have blessed them three times! 11 So go home now. I said that I would pay you very well. But the Lord has stopped me from giving you anything.’

12 Balaam said to Balak, ‘I already said this to the men that you sent to bring me. 13 I told them, “I can only speak the message that the Lord tells me. I cannot do good things or bad things just because I want to do them. Even if Balak gives his palace full of silver and gold to me, I cannot do anything different. I have to obey the Lord's command.” 14 So I will now return to my own people. But listen! Before I go, I will tell you what these Israelites will do to your people in the future.’