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He hath not beheld iniquity in Jacob,
Neither hath he seen perverseness in Israel:
And the shout of a king is among them.
He hath as it were the strength of the wild ox,1
What hath God wrought!
Behold, the people shall rise up as a great lion,
And as a young lion shalt he lift himself up:
And Balak said unto Balaam: "Neither curse them at all, nor bless them at all." But Balaam answered and said unto Balak: "Told not I thee, saying, All that the Lord speaketh, that I must do?" And Balak said unto Balaam: "Come, I pray thee, I will bring thee unto another place; peradventure it will please God that thou mayest curse me them from thence." And Balak brought Balaam unto the top of Peor, that looketh toward Jeshimon. And Balaam said unto Balak: "Build me here seven altars, and prepare me here seven bullocks and seven rams." And Balak did as Balaam had said, and offered a bullock and a ram on every altar.
And when Balaam saw that it pleased the Lord to bless Israel, he went not, as at other times, to seek for enchantments, but he set his face toward the wilderness. And Balaam lifted up his eyes, and he saw Israel abiding in his tents according to their tribes; and the spirit of God came upon him. And he took up his parable, and said:
"Balaam the son of Beor saith,
And the man whose eyes are open saith,
He saith, which heareth the words of God,
Falling into a trance, and having his eyes open:
1 wild oz. A large bovine species, now extinct, hunted by the Assyrian kings. The Hebrews regarded it as fierce and untamable.
And thy tabernacles, O Israel!
As gardens by the river's side,
As the trees of lign-aloes1 which the Lord hath planted,
Water shall flow from his buckets,
God brought him forth out of Egypt;
He hath as it were the strength of the wild ox;
He shall eat up the nations his enemies,
And shall break their bones in pieces,
And as a lioness: who shall stir him up?
And Balak's anger was kindled against Balaam, and he smote his hands together: and Balak said unto Balaam: "I called thee to curse mine enemies, and behold, thou hast altogether blessed them these three times. Therefore now flee thou to thy place: I thought to promote thee unto great honor; but lo, the Lord hath kept thee back from honor." And Balaam said unto Balak: "Spake I not also to thy messengers which thou sentest unto me, saying, If Balak would give me his house full of silver and gold, I cannot go beyond the commandment of the Lord, to do either good or bad of mine own mind; but what the Lord saith, that will I speak? And now, behold, I go unto my people: come therefore, and I will advertise thee what this people shall do to thy people in the latter days." And he took up his parable, and said:
"Balaam the son of Beor saith,
And the man whose eyes are open saith:
1 The lign-aloe (i. e. wood aloe
· Lat. lignum, wood) is a large spreading tree.
I shall behold him, but not nigh:
And a sceptre shall rise out of Israel,
And break down all the sons of tumult.
And Edom shall be a possession,
Seir also shall be a possession who were his enemies,
And Israel shall do valiantly.
Out of Jacob shall come he that shall have dominion:
And when he looked on Amalek, he took up his parable, and said:
"Amalek was the first of the nations;
But his latter end shall be that he perish for ever."
And he looked on the Kenites, and took up his parable, and said:
"Strong is thy dwelling place,
And thou puttest thy nest in a rock.
Until Asshur shall carry thee away captive."
And he took up his parable, and said:
"Alas, who shall live when God doeth this!
And ships shall come from the coast of Kittim,1
And Balaam rose up, and went and returned to his place and Balak also went his way.
Moabites and Midianites corrupt Israel (Num. xxv.). And Israel abode in Shittim, and the people began to commit whoredom with the daughters of Moab. And they called the people unto the sacrifices of their gods: and the people did eat, and bowed down to their gods. And Israel joined himself unto Baalpeor and the anger of the Lord was kindled against Israel.
And the Lord said unto Moses: "Take all the chiefs of the
1 Asshur, Assyria; Kittim, probably the Macedonians; Eber, probably those dwelling beyond the Euphrates.
2 Baal-peor. The Baal of Mt. Peor. See note, p. 167.
people, and hang them up before the Lord against the sun, that the fierce anger of the Lord may be turned away from Israel." And Moses said unto the judges of Israel; "Slay ye every one his men that were joined unto Baal-peor." And behold, one of the children of Israel came and brought unto his brethren a Midianitish woman in the sight of Moses, and in the sight of all the congregation of the children of Israel, who were weeping before the door of the tabernacle of the congregation. And when Phinehas, the son of Eleazer, the son of Aaron the priest, saw it, he rose up from among the congregation, and took a javelin in his hand; 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 stayed from the children of Israel. And those that died in the plague were twenty and four thousand.
And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying: "Phinehas, the son of Aaron the priest, hath turned my wrath away from the children of Israel, while he was zealous for my sake among them, that I consumed not the children of Israel in my jealousy. Wherefore say, Behold, I give unto him my covenant of peace: and he shall have it, 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."
Now the name of the Israelite that was slain, even that was slain with the Midianitish woman, was Zimri, the son of Salu, a prince of a chief house among the Simeonites. And the name of the Midianitish woman that was slain was Cozbi, the daughter of Zur: he was head of the people of a fathers' house in Midian. And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying: "Vex the Midianites, and smite them: for they vex you with their wiles, wherewith they have beguiled you in the matter of Peor, and in the matter of Cozbi, the daughter of a prince of Midian, their sister, which was slain in the day of the plague for Peor's sake."
Joshua appointed Moses' Successor (Num. xxvii. 12-23). And the Lord said unto Moses: "Get thee up into this mount Abarim,1 and see the land which I have given unto the children of Israel. And when thou hast seen it, thou also shalt be gathered unto thy people, as Aaron thy brother was gathered. For ye rebelled against my commandment in the desert of Zin, 1 Abarim. The same as Pisgah.
in the strife of the congregation, to sanctify me at the water before their eyes."
And Moses spake unto the Lord, saying: "Let the Lord, the God of the spirits of all flesh, set a man over the congregation, which may go out before them, and which may go in before them, and which may lead them out, and which may bring them in; that the congregation of the Lord be not as sheep which have no shepherd." And the Lord said unto Moses: "Take thee Joshua the son of Nun, a man in whom is the spirit, and lay thine hand upon him; and set him before Eleazar the priest, and before all the congregation; and give him in charge in their sight. And thou shalt put some of thine honor upon him, that all the congregation of the children of Israel may be obedient. And he shall stand before Eleazar the priest, who shall ask counsel for him after the judgment of Urim before the Lord: at his word shall they go out, and at his word they shall come in, both he, and all the children of Israel with him, even all the congregation."
And Moses did as the Lord commanded him: and he took Joshua, and set him before Eleazar the priest, and before all the congregation: and he laid his hands upon him, and gave him a charge, as the Lord commanded by the hand of Moses.
Settlement of Reuben and Gad (Num. xxxii. 1-9, 13-25, 33; xxxiii. 1, 2). Now the children of Reuben and the children of Gad had a very great multitude of cattle and when they saw the land of Jazer, and the land of Gilead, that behold, the place was a place for cattle; the children of Gad and the children of Reuben came and spake unto Moses, and to Eleazar the priest, and unto the princes of the congregation, saying: "Ataroth, and Dibon, and Jazer, and Nimrah, and Heshbon,
1 The Urim and the Thummim, mentioned in Ex. xxviii. 30 as something already familiar to Moses and the people, are nowhere described in the Old Testament. They were probably two objects used as lots that were cast in order to obtain an oracular answer, "yes" or "no," from the Deity. Their nature may be suggested by the Tablets of Destiny of primitive Babylonian mythology. These were worn on the breasts of certain gods who acted as messengers or mediators between the other gods and men, just as the Urim and Thummim are worn on the breast of the high priest. Thus Marduk, wearing the Tablets of Destiny, presided at the assembly of the gods when the lot was cast for the fate of a king or nation. The use of Urim and Thummim is mentioned on pp. 236, 260; but no instance of it is recorded as taking place after the death of David, when it doubtless gave way to the higher medium of inspired prophecy.