1 Balaam said to King Balak, "Build me seven altars here, and prepare seven young bulls and seven rams for a sacrifice."
2 Balak followed his instructions, and the two of them sacrificed a young bull and a ram on each altar.
3 Then Balaam said to Balak, "Stand here by your burnt offerings, and I will go to see if the LORD will respond to me. Then I will tell you whatever he reveals to me." So Balaam went alone to the top of a hill,
4 and God met him there. Balaam said to him, "I have prepared seven altars and have sacrificed a young bull and a ram on each altar."
5 Then the LORD gave Balaam a message for King Balak and said, "Go back to Balak and tell him what I told you."
6 When Balaam returned, the king was standing beside his burnt offerings with all the officials of Moab.
7 This was the prophecy Balaam delivered: "Balak summoned me to come from Aram; the king of Moab brought me from the eastern hills. `Come,' he said, `curse Jacob for me! Come and announce Israel's doom.'
8 But how can I curse those whom God has not cursed? How can I condemn those whom the LORD has not condemned?
9 I see them from the cliff tops; I watch them from the hills. I see a people who live by themselves, set apart from other nations.
10 Who can count Jacob's descendants, as numerous as dust? Who can count even a fourth of Israel's people? Let me die like the righteous; let my life end like theirs."
11 Then King Balak demanded of Balaam, "What have you done to me? I brought you to curse my enemies. Instead, you have blessed them!"
12 But Balaam replied, "Can I say anything except what the LORD tells me?"
13 Then King Balak told him, "Come with me to another place. There you will see only a portion of the nation of Israel. Curse at least that many!"
14 So Balak took Balaam to the plateau of Zophim on Pisgah Peak. He built seven altars there and offered a young bull and a ram on each altar.
15 Then Balaam said to the king, "Stand here by your burnt offering while I go to meet the LORD."
16 So the LORD met Balaam and gave him a message. Then he said, "Go back to Balak and give him this message."
17 So Balaam returned to the place where the king and the officials of Moab were standing beside Balak's burnt offerings. "What did the LORD say?" Balak asked eagerly.
18 This was the prophecy Balaam delivered: "Rise up, Balak, and listen! Hear me, son of Zippor.
19 God is not a man, that he should lie. He is not a human, that he should change his mind. Has he ever spoken and failed to act? Has he ever promised and not carried it through?
20 I received a command to bless; he has blessed, and I cannot reverse it!
21 No misfortune is in sight for Jacob; no trouble is in store for Israel. For the LORD their God is with them; he has been proclaimed their king.
22 God has brought them out of Egypt; he is like a strong ox for them.
23 No curse can touch Jacob; no sorcery has any power against Israel. For now it will be said of Jacob, `What wonders God has done for Israel!'
24 These people rise up like a lioness; like a majestic lion they stand. They refuse to rest until they have feasted on prey, drinking the blood of the slaughtered!"
25 Then Balak said to Balaam, "If you aren't going to curse them, at least don't bless them!"
26 But Balaam replied, "Didn't I tell you that I must do whatever the LORD tells me?"
27 Then King Balak said to Balaam, "Come, I will take you to yet another place. Perhaps it will please God to let you curse them from there."
28 So Balak took Balaam to the top of Mount Peor, overlooking the wasteland.*1
29 Balaam again told Balak, "Build me seven altars and prepare me seven young bulls and seven rams for a sacrifice."
30 So Balak did as Balaam ordered and offered a young bull and a ram on each altar.