Numbers 23–25

1 And Balaam said to Balak, “Build for me seven altars, and prepare for me seven oxen and seven rams.” 2 Balak did as Balaam had spoken, and Balak and Balaam offered on every altar a bull and a ram.

3 Balaam said to Balak, “Stand by your burnt offering, and I will go. Perhaps the Lord will come to meet me, and whatever He shows me I will tell you.” And he went to a high place.

4 God met Balaam, and he said to Him, “I have prepared seven altars, and I have offered on every altar a bull and a ram.”

5 The Lord put a word in the mouth of Balaam and said, “Return to Balak, and thus you will speak.”

6 So he returned to Balak, who was standing by his burnt offering with all the princes of Moab. 7 Then Balaam uttered his oracle, saying:

“Balak has brought me from Aram,

the king of Moab from the mountains of the east,

saying, ‘Come, curse Jacob for me,

and come, defy Israel!’

8 How will I curse

whom God has not cursed?

Or how will I defy

whom the Lord has not defied?

9 For from the top of the rocks I see him,

and from the hills I behold him;

there, the people will dwell alone

and will not be counted among the nations.

10 Who can count the dust of Jacob

and the number of the fourth part of Israel?

Let me die the death of the righteous,

and let my last end be like his!”

11 And Balak said to Balaam, “What have you done to me? I brought you to curse my enemies, but now you have certainly blessed them.”

12 He answered and said, “Must I not take heed to speak what the Lord puts in my mouth?”

13 And Balak said to him, “Please come with me to another place from where you may see them. You will see part of them, but will not see them all. Curse them for me from there.” 14 He brought him into the field of Zophim, to the top of Pisgah, and built seven altars and offered a bull and a ram on each altar.

15 He said to Balak, “Stand here by your burnt offerings while I meet the Lord over there.”

16 The Lord met Balaam and put a word in his mouth and said, “Go again to Balak, and thus you will speak.”

17 When he came to him, he was standing by his burnt offerings with the princes of Moab. And Balak said to him, “What has the Lord spoken?”

18 And he took up his parable and said:

“Rise up, Balak, and hear!

Listen to me, you son of Zippor!

19 God is not a man, that He should lie,

nor a son of man, that He should repent.

Has He spoken, and will He not do it?

Or has He spoken, and will He not make it good?

20 See, I have received a commandment to bless,

and He has blessed, and I cannot reverse it.

21 “He has not beheld iniquity in Jacob,

nor has He seen perverseness in Israel.

The Lord his God is with him,

and the shout of a king is among them.

22 God, who brings them out of Egypt,

has strength like a wild ox.

23 Surely there is no enchantment against Jacob,

nor is there any divination against Israel.

For this time it will be said of Jacob and of Israel,

‘See what God has done!’

24 A people rises up as a great lion,

and lifts itself up like a lion;

it shall not lie down until it eats the prey

and drinks the blood of the slain.”

25 Balak said to Balaam, “Do not curse them at all, nor bless them at all.”

26 But Balaam answered and said to Balak, “Did I not tell you, saying, ‘All that the Lord speaks, I must do’?”

27 And Balak said to Balaam, “Please come. I will bring you to another place. Perhaps it will please God that you may curse them for me from there.” 28 Balak brought Balaam to the top of Peor, which looks toward Jeshimon.

29 Balaam said to Balak, “Build for me seven altars, and prepare for me seven bulls and seven rams.” 30 Balak did as Balaam said and offered a bull and a ram on each altar.

Chapter 24

1 And when Balaam saw that it pleased the Lord to bless Israel, he did not go as other times to seek for enchantments, but he set his face toward the wilderness. 2 Balaam lifted up his eyes, and he saw Israel dwelling in their tents by their tribes, and the Spirit of God came on him. 3 He took up his proverb and said:

“Balaam the son of Beor has said,

and the man whose eyes are open has said,

4 he has said, who heard the words of God,

who saw the vision of the Almighty,

falling into a trance, but having his eyes open:

5 “How lovely are your tents, O Jacob,

and your tabernacles, O Israel!

6 “Like palm trees are they spread out,

like gardens by the river’s side,

like the aloe plant, which the Lord has planted,

and like cedar trees beside the waters.

7 He will pour the water out of his buckets,

and his seed will be in many waters.

“His king will be higher than Agag,

and his kingdom will be exalted.

8 “God brings him out of Egypt;

he has the horns of a wild ox;

he will eat up the nations, his enemies,

and will break their bones,

and pierce them through with his arrows.

9 He crouches, he lies down as a lion, and as a lion,

who will stir him up?

“Blessed is he who blesses you,

and cursed is he who curses you.”

10 The anger of Balak was inflamed against Balaam, and he struck his hands together. And Balak said to Balaam, “I called you to curse my enemies, and indeed, you have certainly blessed them these three times. 11 Now flee to your own place. I thought to promote you to great honor. But certainly, the Lord has kept you back from honor.”

12 Balaam said to Balak, “Did I not speak to your messengers which you sent to me, saying, 13 ‘If Balak would give me his house full of silver and gold, I cannot go beyond the mouth of the Lord, to do either good or bad of my own mind. But what the Lord speaks, I will speak’? 14 And now, I am going to my people. Come, I will advise you what this people will do to your people in the latter days.”

15 He took up his parable and said:

“The oracle of Balaam the son of Beor,

and the oracle of the man whose eyes are open;

16 the oracle of the one hearing the words of God,

and knowing the knowledge of the Most High,

who sees the vision of the Almighty,

falling into a trance, but having his eyes open:

17 “I will see him, but not now;

I will behold him, but not near;

a star will come out of Jacob,

and a scepter will rise out of Israel,

and will crush the borderlands of Moab,

and destroy all the children of Sheth.

18 Edom will be a possession,

and Seir, a possession of its enemies,

while Israel does valiantly.

19 One out of Jacob shall have dominion,

and destroy the survivors of the city.”

20 Then he looked on Amalek; he took up his proverb and said:

“Amalek was the first of the nations,

but his end will be that he perishes forever.”

21 He looked on the Kenites and took up his proverb and said:

“Strong is your dwelling place,

and you put your nest in a rock;

22 nevertheless the Kenite will be wasted.

How long until Ashur carries you away captive?”

23 He took up his proverb and said:

“Alas, who will live when God does this?

24 And ships will come from the coasts of Cyprus

and will afflict Ashur and will afflict Eber,

and he also will perish forever.”

25 Balaam rose up and went and returned to his place, and Balak also went his way.

Chapter 25

1 While Israel dwelt in Shittim, the people began to commit harlotry with the women of Moab. 2 They called the people to the sacrifices of their gods, and the people ate and bowed down to their gods. 3 Israel joined himself to the Baal of Peor, and the anger of the Lord was inflamed against Israel.

4 The Lord said to Moses, “Take all the chiefs of the people and hang them before the Lord in the sun, that the fierce anger of the Lord turn from Israel.”

5 Moses said to the judges of Israel, “Kill each of the men who have aligned themselves with the Baal of Peor.”

6 Behold, one of the children of Israel came and brought to his brothers a Midianite woman in the sight of Moses and in the sight of all the assembly of the children of Israel, who were weeping before the door of the tent of meeting. 7 When Phinehas the son of Eleazar, the son of Aaron the priest, saw it, he rose up from among the assembly and took a spear in his hand, 8 and he went after the man of Israel into the tent, and thrust both of them through, the man of Israel and the woman through her belly. So the plague was stopped from the children of Israel. 9 Those that died in the plague were twenty-four thousand.

10 The Lord spoke to Moses, saying, 11 “Phinehas the son of Eleazar, the son of Aaron the priest, has turned My wrath away from the children of Israel, because he was zealous for My sake among them, so I did not exterminate the children of Israel in My zeal. 12 Therefore say, ‘I hereby grant him My covenant of peace. 13 And it will be for him and his seed after him, even the covenant of an everlasting priesthood, because he was zealous for his God and made an atonement for the children of Israel.’”

14 Now the name of the slain Israelite who was slain with the Midianite woman was Zimri the son of Salu, a leader of a chief house among the Simeonites. 15 The name of the Midianite woman that was slain was Kozbi the daughter of Zur. He was chief over a people and of a father’s house in Midian.

16 The Lord spoke to Moses, saying, 17 “Be hostile to the Midianites, and defeat them, 18 because they have been hostile to you with their wiles, with which they have deceived you in the matter of Peor and in the matter of Kozbi the daughter of a leader of Midian, their sister, who was slain on the day of the plague because of Peor.”

Mark 7:14–37

14 When He had called all the people to Him, He said, “Listen to Me, every one of you, and understand: 15 There is nothing from outside a man that by entering him can defile him. But the things which come out of the man are what defile him. 16 If anyone has ears to hear, let him hear.”

17 When He had left the people and entered the house, His disciples asked Him concerning the parable. 18 He said to them, “Are you so without understanding also? Do you not know that anything from the outside that enters a man cannot defile him, 19 because it does not enter his heart, but into his stomach, and goes out into the sewer, thus purifying all foods?”

20 And He said, “What comes out of a man is what defiles a man. 21 For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adultery, fornication, murder, 22 theft, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, licentiousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride and foolishness. 23 All these evil things come from within and defile a man.”

24 From there He arose and went to the region of Tyre and Sidon. He entered a house and would have no one know it. Yet He could not be hidden. 25 For a certain woman, whose young daughter had an unclean spirit, heard of Him, and came and fell at His feet. 26 The woman was a Greek, a Syrophoenician by race. And she begged Him to cast the demon out of her daughter.

27 Jesus said to her, “Let the children first be filled. For it is not fitting to take the children’s bread and throw it to the dogs.”

28 She answered, “Yes, Lord. Yet the dogs under the table eat the children’s crumbs.”

29 Then He said to her, “For this answer, go your way. The demon has gone out of your daughter.”

30 When she had come to her house, she found the demon had gone out, and her daughter lying on the bed.

31 Again, departing from the region of Tyre and Sidon, He came to the Sea of Galilee, through the region of the Decapolis. 32 They brought to Him one who was deaf and had difficulty speaking. And they pleaded with Him to put His hand on him.

33 He took him aside from the crowd, and put His fingers into his ears, and spat and touched his tongue. 34 Looking up to heaven, He sighed, and said to him, “Ephphatha,” that is, “Be opened.” 35 Immediately his ears were opened, and the impediment of his tongue was loosened, and he spoke correctly.

36 He ordered them to tell no one. But the more He ordered them, the more they greatly proclaimed it. 37 They were astonished beyond measure, saying, “He has done all things well. He makes both the deaf to hear and the mute to speak.”