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Old Testament:  Numbers 23-25

Numbers 23

Balaam Blesses Israel
 1  Then Balaam said to King Balak, "Build me seven altars here, and prepare seven young bulls and seven rams for me to 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 bare 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  The LORD gave Balaam a message for King Balak. Then he said, "Go back to Balak and give him my message."
   6  So Balaam returned and found the king standing beside his burnt offerings with all the officials of Moab.  7  This was the message 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, "I will speak only the message that the LORD puts in my mouth."

Balaam's Second Message
 13  Then King Balak told him, "Come with me to another place. There you will see another part of the nation of Israel, but not all of them. 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 offerings while I go over there to meet the LORD."
   16  And the LORD met Balaam and gave him a message. Then he said, "Go back to Balak and give him my message."
   17  So Balaam returned and found the king standing beside his burnt offerings with all the officials of Moab. "What did the LORD say?" Balak asked eagerly.
   18  This was the message Balaam delivered:

"Rise up, Balak, and listen!
  Hear me, son of Zippor.
 19  God is not a man, so he does not lie. He is not human, so he does not change his mind. Has he ever spoken and failed to act? Has he ever promised and not carried it through?  20  Listen, I received a command to bless;
  God has blessed, and I cannot reverse it!
 21  No misfortune is in his plan 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 brought them out of Egypt;
  for them he is as strong as a wild ox.
 23  No curse can touch Jacob;
  no magic 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 rousing itself.
They refuse to rest
  until they have feasted on prey,
  drinking the blood of the slaughtered!"

   25  Then Balak said to Balaam, "Fine, but if you won't curse them, at least don't bless them!"
   26  But Balaam replied to Balak, "Didn't I tell you that I can do only what the LORD tells me?"

Balaam's Third Message
 27  Then King Balak said to Balaam, "Come, I will take you to one more 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. [28]   29  Balaam again told Balak, "Build me seven altars, and prepare seven young bulls and seven rams for me to sacrifice."  30  So Balak did as Balaam ordered and offered a young bull and a ram on each altar.

Numbers 24

 1  By now Balaam realized that the LORD was determined to bless Israel, so he did not resort to divination as before. Instead, he turned and looked out toward the wilderness,  2  where he saw the people of Israel camped, tribe by tribe. Then the Spirit of God came upon him,  3  and this is the message he delivered:

"This is the message of Balaam son of Beor,
  the message of the man whose eyes see clearly,
 4  the message of one who hears the words of God,
  who sees a vision from the Almighty,
  who bows down with eyes wide open:
 5  How beautiful are your tents, O Jacob;
  how lovely are your homes, O Israel!
 6  They spread before me like palm groves, [6] 
  like gardens by the riverside.
They are like tall trees planted by the LORD,
  like cedars beside the waters.
 7  Water will flow from their buckets;
  their offspring have all they need.
Their king will be greater than Agag;
  their kingdom will be exalted.
 8  God brought them out of Egypt;
  for them he is as strong as a wild ox.
He devours all the nations that oppose him,
  breaking their bones in pieces,
  shooting them with arrows.
 9  Like a lion, Israel crouches and lies down;
  like a lioness, who dares to arouse her?
Blessed is everyone who blesses you, O Israel,
  and cursed is everyone who curses you."

   10  King Balak flew into a rage against Balaam. He angrily clapped his hands and shouted, "I called you to curse my enemies! Instead, you have blessed them three times.  11  Now get out of here! Go back home! I promised to reward you richly, but the LORD has kept you from your reward."
   12  Balaam told Balak, "Don't you remember what I told your messengers? I said,  13  `Even if Balak were to give me his palace filled with silver and gold, I would be powerless to do anything against the will of the LORD.' I told you that I could say only what the LORD says!  14  Now I am returning to my own people. But first let me tell you what the Israelites will do to your people in the future."

Balaam's Final Messages
 15  This is the message Balaam delivered:

"This is the message of Balaam son of Beor,
  the message of the man whose eyes see clearly,
 16  the message of one who hears the words of God,
  who has knowledge from the Most High,
who sees a vision from the Almighty,
  who bows down with eyes wide open:
 17  I see him, but not here and now.
  I perceive him, but far in the distant future.
A star will rise from Jacob;
  a scepter will emerge from Israel.
It will crush the foreheads of Moab's people,
  cracking the skulls of the people of Sheth.
 18  Edom will be taken over,
  and Seir, its enemy, will be conquered,
  while Israel marches on in triumph.
 19  A ruler will rise in Jacob
  who will destroy the survivors of Ir."

 20  Then Balaam looked over toward the people of Amalek and delivered this message:

"Amalek was the greatest of nations,
  but its destiny is destruction!"

 21  Then he looked over toward the Kenites and delivered this message:

"Your home is secure;
  your nest is set in the rocks.
 22  But the Kenites will be destroyed
  when Assyria [22]  takes you captive."

 23  Balaam concluded his messages by saying:

"Alas, who can survive
  unless God has willed it?
 24  Ships will come from the coasts of Cyprus [24] ;
  they will oppress Assyria and afflict Eber,
  but they, too, will be utterly destroyed."

   25  Then Balaam and Balak returned to their homes.

Numbers 25

Moab Seduces Israel
 1  While the Israelites were camped at Acacia Grove, [1]  some of the men defiled themselves by having [1]  sexual relations with local Moabite women.  2  These women invited them to attend sacrifices to their gods, so the Israelites feasted with them and worshiped the gods of Moab.  3  In this way, Israel joined in the worship of Baal of Peor, causing the LORD's anger to blaze against his people.
   4  The LORD issued the following command to Moses: "Seize all the ringleaders and execute them before the LORD in broad daylight, so his fierce anger will turn away from the people of Israel."
   5  So Moses ordered Israel's judges, "Each of you must put to death the men under your authority who have joined in worshiping Baal of Peor."
   6  Just then one of the Israelite men brought a Midianite woman into his tent, right before the eyes of Moses and all the people, as everyone was weeping at the entrance of the Tabernacle. [6]   7  When Phinehas son of Eleazar and grandson of Aaron the priest saw this, he jumped up and left the assembly. He took a spear  8  and rushed after the man into his tent. Phinehas thrust the spear all the way through the man's body and into the woman's stomach. So the plague against the Israelites was stopped,  9  but not before 24,000 people had died.
   10  Then the LORD said to Moses,  11  "Phinehas son of Eleazar and grandson of Aaron the priest has turned my anger away from the Israelites by being as zealous among them as I was. So I stopped destroying all Israel as I had intended to do in my zealous anger.  12  Now tell him that I am making my special covenant of peace with him.  13  In this covenant, I give him and his descendants a permanent right to the priesthood, for in his zeal for me, his God, he purified the people of Israel, making them right with me. [13] "
   14  The Israelite man killed with the Midianite woman was named Zimri son of Salu, the leader of a family from the tribe of Simeon.  15  The woman's name was Cozbi; she was the daughter of Zur, the leader of a Midianite clan.
   16  Then the LORD said to Moses,  17  "Attack the Midianites and destroy them,  18  because they assaulted you with deceit and tricked you into worshiping Baal of Peor, and because of Cozbi, the daughter of a Midianite leader, who was killed at the time of the plague because of what happened at Peor."
<<  23:28 Or overlooking Jeshimon.
<<  24:6 Or like a majestic valley.
<<  24:22 Hebrew Asshur; also in 24:24.
<<  24:24 Hebrew Kittim.
<<  25:1a Hebrew Shittim. 25:1b As in Greek version; Hebrew reads some of the men began having.
<<  25:6 Hebrew the Tent of Meeting.
<<  25:13 Or he made atonement for the people of Israel.

New Testament:  Mark 7:14-37

Mark 7 : 14-37

   14  Then Jesus called to the crowd to come and hear. "All of you listen," he said, "and try to understand.  15  "It's not what goes into your body that defiles you; you are defiled by what comes from your heart."    17  Then Jesus went into a house to get away from the crowd, and his disciples asked him what he meant by the parable he had just used.  18  "Don't you understand either?" he asked. "Can't you see that the food you put into your body cannot defile you?  19  Food doesn't go into your heart, but only passes through the stomach and then goes into the sewer." (By saying this, he declared that every kind of food is acceptable in God's eyes.)
   20  And then he added, "It is what comes from inside that defiles you.  21  For from within, out of a person's heart, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder,  22  adultery, greed, wickedness, deceit, lustful desires, envy, slander, pride, and foolishness.  23  All these vile things come from within; they are what defile you."

The Faith of a Gentile Woman
 24  Then Jesus left Galilee and went north to the region of Tyre. [24]  He didn't want anyone to know which house he was staying in, but he couldn't keep it a secret.  25  Right away a woman who had heard about him came and fell at his feet. Her little girl was possessed by an evil [25]  spirit,  26  and she begged him to cast out the demon from her daughter.
  Since she was a Gentile, born in Syrian Phoenicia,  27  Jesus told her, "First I should feed the children—my own family, the Jews. [27]  It isn't right to take food from the children and throw it to the dogs."
   28  She replied, "That's true, Lord, but even the dogs under the table are allowed to eat the scraps from the children's plates."
   29  "Good answer!" he said. "Now go home, for the demon has left your daughter."  30  And when she arrived home, she found her little girl lying quietly in bed, and the demon was gone.

Jesus Heals a Deaf Man
 31  Jesus left Tyre and went up to Sidon before going back to the Sea of Galilee and the region of the Ten Towns. [31]   32  A deaf man with a speech impediment was brought to him, and the people begged Jesus to lay his hands on the man to heal him.
   33  Jesus led him away from the crowd so they could be alone. He put his fingers into the man's ears. Then, spitting on his own fingers, he touched the man's tongue.  34  Looking up to heaven, he sighed and said, "Ephphatha," which means, "Be opened!"  35  Instantly the man could hear perfectly, and his tongue was freed so he could speak plainly!
   36  Jesus told the crowd not to tell anyone, but the more he told them not to, the more they spread the news.  37  They were completely amazed and said again and again, "Everything he does is wonderful. He even makes the deaf to hear and gives speech to those who cannot speak."
<<  7:15 Some manuscripts add verse 16, Anyone with ears to hear should listen and understand. Compare 4:9, 23.
<<  7:24 Some manuscripts add and Sidon.
<<  7:25 Greek unclean.
<<  7:27 Greek Let the children eat first.
<<  7:31 Greek Decapolis.

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