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The Catholic Study Bible A special version of the New American Bible, with a wealth of background information useful to Catholics.

Chapter 24

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1Balaam, however, perceiving that the LORD was pleased to bless Israel, did not go aside as before to seek omens, but turned his gaze toward the desert. 2When he raised his eyes and saw Israel encamped, tribe by tribe, the spirit of God came upon him, 3and he gave voice to his oracle:

The utterance of Balaam, son of Beor, the utterance of the man whose eye is true, 4The utterance of one who hears what God says, and knows what the Most High knows, Of one who sees what the Almighty sees, enraptured, and with eyes unveiled: 5How goodly are your tents, O Jacob; your encampments, O Israel! 6They are like gardens beside a stream, like the cedars planted by the LORD. 7His wells shall yield free‐flowing waters, he shall have the sea within reach; His king shall rise higher than.…. and his royalty shall be exalted. 8It is God who brought him out of Egypt, a wild bull of towering might. He shall devour the nations like grass, their bones he shall strip bare. t Nm 23, 22 . 9He lies crouching like a lion, or like a lioness; who shall arouse him? Blessed is he who blesses you, and cursed is he who curses you! u Nm 23, 24; Gn 12, 3; 27, 29; 49, 9 .

10Balak beat his palms* together in a blaze of anger at Balaam and said to him, “It was to curse my foes that I summoned you here; yet three times now you have even blessed them instead! v Nm 23, 11 . 11Be off at once, then, to your home. I promised to reward you richly, but the LORD has withheld the reward from you!” 12Balaam replied to Balak, “Did I not warn the very messengers whom you sent to me, 13‘Even if Balak gave me his house full of silver and gold, I could not of my own accord do anything, good or evil, contrary to the command of the LORD'? Whatever the LORD says I must repeat. w Nm 22, 18 .

The Fourth Oracle. 14“But now that I am about to go to my own people, let me first warn you what this people will do to your people in the days to come.” 15Then Balaam gave voice to his oracle:

The utterance of Balaam, son of Beor, the utterance of the man whose eye is true, 16The utterance of one who hears what God says, and knows what the Most High knows, Of one who sees what the Almighty sees, enraptured and with eyes unveiled. 17I see him, though not now; I behold him, though not near: A star shall advance from Jacob, and a staff* shall rise from Israel, That shall smite the brows of Moab, x 2 Sm 8, 2 . and the skulls of all the Shuthites, 18Till Edom is dispossessed, and no fugitive is left in Seir. Israel shall do valiantly, 19and Jacob shall overcome his foes.

20Upon seeing Amalek, Balaam gave voice to his oracle:

First* of the peoples was Amalek, but his end is to perish forever. y Ex 17, 14; 1 Sm 15, 3 .

21Upon seeing the Kenites,* he gave voice to his oracle:

Your abode is enduring, O smith, and your nest is set on a cliff; 22Yet destined for burning— even as I watch—are your inhabitants.

23Upon seeing … he gave voice to his oracle:

*Alas, who shall survive of Ishmael, 24to deliver his people from the hands of the Kittim? When they have conquered Asshur and conquered Eber, He too shall perish forever.

25Then Balaam set out on his journey home; and Balak also went his way.

Notes:

t: Nm 23, 22 .

u: Nm 23, 24; Gn 12, 3; 27, 29; 49, 9 .

v: Nm 23, 11 .

w: Nm 22, 18 .

x: 2 Sm 8, 2 .

y: Ex 17, 14; 1 Sm 15, 3 .

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