Then Balak said to him, “Come with me to another place from which you can see them–you will see only a portion of them; you will not see all of them–and damn them for me from there.” With that, he took him to Sedehzophim, on the summit of Pisgah. He built seven altars and offered a bull and a ram on each altar. And [Balaam] said to Balak, “Stay here beside your offerings, while I seek a manifestation yonder.”
The Lord manifested Himself to Balaam and put a word in his mouth, saying, “Return to Balak and speak thus.” He went to him and found him standing beside his offerings, and the Moabite dignitaries with him. Balak asked him, “What did the Lord say?” And he took up his theme, and said:
Up, Balak, attend,
Give ear unto me, son of Zippor!
God is not man to be capricious,
Or mortal to change His mind.
Would He speak and not act,
Promise and not fulfill?
My message was to bless:
When He blesses, I cannot reverse it.
No harm is in sight for Jacob,
No woe in view for Israel.
The Lord their God is with them,
And their King’s acclaim in their midst.
God who freed them from Egypt
Is for them like the horns of the wild ox.
Lo, there is no augury in Jacob,
No divining in Israel:
Jacob is told at once,
Yea Israel, what God has planned.
Lo, a people that rises like a lion,
Leaps up like the king of beasts,
Rests not till it has feasted on prey
And drunk the blood of the slain.
Thereupon Balak said to Balaam, “Don’t curse them and don’t bless them!” In reply, Balaam said to Balak, “But I told you: Whatever the Lord says, that I must do.”
From Parshat Balak. From THE TANAKH: The New JPS Translation According to the Traditional Hebrew Text. Copyright 1985 by the Jewish Publication Society. Used by permission.
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