Thoughts and Reflection
Today we meet Balaam who is a soothsayer and hired by Balak, the son of the king of Moab, to curse God’s people. He will instead will speak blessings upon the people of Israel. God commands him not to curse his people. Balaam is impressed by the powerful people sent to him and the money offered to him by Balak. A donkey speaks to him, which saves his life. This is a miracle but at the time Balaam wasn’t impressed.
The offense by Balaam is that he says one thing and plotted another; he was filled with lies.
Balaam is willing to sell his soul for money, fame, and power. This can be our temptation as well.
About This Project
For the year 2022, I decided that my New Year’s Resolution was to read the whole Bible following the Bible in the Year plan presented by Fr. Mike Schmitz. It is a big and bold undertaking. You can follow along by subscribing. Feel free to look at previous day’s post and comment. It’s something we can all learn from together!
1 The Israelites then set out and pitched their camp in the Plains of Moab, beyond the Jordan opposite Jericho.
2 Balak son of Zippor saw all that Israel had done to the Amorites,
3 and Moab was terrified of the people, because there were so many of them. Moab was afraid of the Israelites;
4 he said to the elders of Midian, ‘This horde will soon have cropped everything round us as closely as an ox crops grass in the countryside.’ Now Balak son of Zippor was king of Moab at the time.
5 He sent messengers to summon Balaam son of Beor, at Pethor on the River, in the territory of the Amawites, saying, ‘Look, a people coming from Egypt has overrun the whole countryside; they have halted at my very door.
6 I beg you come and curse this people for me, for they are stronger than I am. We may then be able to defeat them and drive them out of the country. For this I know: anyone you bless is blessed, anyone you curse is accursed.’
7 The elders of Moab and the elders of Midian set out, taking the fee for the divination with them. They found Balaam and gave him Balak’s message.
8 He said to them, ‘Stay the night here, and I will answer as Yahweh directs me.’ So the chiefs of Moab stayed with Balaam.
9 God came to Balaam and said, ‘Who are these men staying with you?’
10 Balaam said to God, ‘Balak son of Zippor, king of Moab, has sent me this message,
11 “Look, a people coming from Egypt has overrun the whole countryside. Come now and curse them for me; I may then be able to defeat them and drive them out.” ‘
12 God said to Balaam, ‘You are not to go with them. You are not to curse the people, for they are blessed.’
13 In the morning Balaam got up and said to the chiefs sent by Balak, ‘Go back to your country, for Yahweh will not let me go with you.’
14 So the chiefs of Moab got up, went back to Balak and said, ‘Balaam refuses to come with us.’
15 And again Balak sent chiefs, more numerous and more renowned than the first.
16 They came to Balaam and said, ‘A message from Balak son of Zippor, “Now do not refuse to come to me.
17 I will load you with honours and do whatever you say. I beg you come and curse this people for me.” ‘
18 In reply, Balaam said to Balak’s envoys, ‘Even if Balak gave me his house full of silver and gold, I could not go against the order of Yahweh my God in anything, great or small.
19 Now please stay the night here yourselves, and I will learn what else Yahweh has to tell me.’
20 God came to Balaam during the night and said to him, ‘Have not these men come to summon you? Get up, go with them, but do only what I tell you to do.’
21 Balaam got up and saddled his donkey and set out with the chiefs of Moab.
22 His going kindled Yahweh’s anger, and the angel of Yahweh took his stand on the road to bar his way. Balaam was riding his donkey and his two servants were with him.
23 Now the donkey saw the angel of Yahweh standing in the road with a drawn sword in his hand, and she turned off the road into the open country. Balaam then struck the donkey to turn her back onto the road.
24 The angel of Yahweh then went and stood on a narrow path among the vineyards, with a wall to the right and a wall to the left.
25 The donkey saw the angel of Yahweh and scraped against the wall, scraping Balaam’s foot against it, so he struck her again.
26 The angel of Yahweh then moved and stood in a place so narrow that there was no room to pass either to right or left.
27 When the donkey saw the angel of Yahweh, she lay down under Balaam. Balaam flew into a rage and struck the donkey with his stick.
28 Yahweh then gave the donkey the power to talk, and she said to Balaam, ‘What harm have I done you, for you to strike me three times like this?’
29 Balaam answered the donkey, ‘Because you have been making a fool of me! If I had been carrying a sword, I should have killed you by now.’
30 The donkey said to Balaam, ‘Am I not your donkey, and have I not been your mount all your life? Have I ever behaved like this with you before?’ ‘No,’ he replied.
31 Yahweh then opened Balaam’s eyes and he saw the angel of Yahweh standing in the road with a drawn sword in his hand; and he bowed his head and threw himself on his face.
32 And the angel of Yahweh said to him, ‘Why did you strike your donkey three times like that? I myself had come to bar your way; while I am here your road is blocked.
33 The donkey saw me and turned aside because of me three times. You are lucky she did turn aside, or I should have killed you by now, though I would have spared her.’
34 Balaam said to the angel of Yahweh, ‘I have sinned. I did not know you were standing in the road to stop me. But if what I am doing displeases you, I will go home again.’
35 The angel of Yahweh said to Balaam, ‘Go with these men, but say only what I tell you to say.’ So Balaam went on with the chiefs sent by Balak.
36 Balak learned that Balaam was coming and went out to meet him, in the direction of Ar in Moab, at the Arnon frontier on the country’s furthest boundary.
37 Balak said to Balaam, ‘Did I not send messengers to summon you? Why did you not come to me? Did you think, perhaps, I could confer no honours on you?’
38 Balaam said to Balak, ‘I have come to you after all. I suppose you know I cannot say anything on my own? The words God puts into my mouth are what I shall say.’
39 Balaam set out with Balak. They came to Kiriath-Huzoth.
40 Balak sacrificed oxen and sheep, and offered portions to Balaam and the chiefs who were with him.
41 Next morning Balak took Balaam and brought him up to Bamoth-Baal, from where he could see the edge of the camp.
1 ‘A man must not take his father’s wife; he must not withdraw the skirt of his father’s cloak from her.
2 ‘A man whose testicles have been crushed or whose male member has been cut off must not be admitted to the assembly of Yahweh.
3 No half-breed may be admitted to the assembly of Yahweh; not even his descendants to the tenth generation may be admitted to the assembly of Yahweh.
4 No Ammonite or Moabite may be admitted to the assembly of Yahweh; not even his descendants to the tenth generation may be admitted to the assembly of Yahweh, and this is for all time;
5 since they did not come to meet you with food and drink when you were on your way out of Egypt, and even hired Balaam son of Beor to oppose you by cursing you, from Pethor in Aram Naharaim.
6 But Yahweh your God refused to listen to Balaam, and Yahweh your God turned the curse on you into a blessing, because Yahwehyour God loved you.
7 Never, as long as you live, must you seek their welfare or their prosperity.
8 ‘You must not regard the Edomite as detestable, for he is your brother; you must not regard the Egyptian as detestable, since you were once a foreigner in his country.
9 The third generation of children born to these may be admitted to the assembly of Yahweh.
10 ‘When you are in camp, at war with your enemies, you must avoid anything bad.
11 If any one of you is unclean by reason of a nocturnal emission, he must leave and not come back into camp,
12 but towards evening wash himself, and return to camp at sunset.
13 ‘You must have a latrine outside the camp, and go out to this;
14 you must have a trowel in your equipment and, when you squat outside, you must scrape a hole with it, then turn round and cover up your excrement.
15 For Yahweh your God goes about the inside of your camp to guard you and put your enemies at your mercy. Your camp must therefore be a holy place; Yahweh must not see anything indecent there or he will desert you.
16 ‘You must not allow a master to imprison a slave who has escaped from him and come to you.
17 Let him make his home with you and yours, wherever he pleases in whichever of your towns he prefers; you must not molest him.
18 ‘There must be no sacred prostitute among the women of Israel, and no sacred prostitute among the men of Israel.
19 You must not bring the wages of a prostitute or the earnings of a ‘dog’ to the house of Yahweh your God, whatever vow you may have made: both are detestable to Yahweh your God.
20 ‘You must not lend on interest to your brother, whether the loan be of money, of food, or of anything else that may earn interest.
21 You may demand interest on a loan to a foreigner, but you must not demand interest from your brother; so that Yahweh your God may bless you in all your labours, in the country which you are about to enter and make your own.
22 ‘If you make a vow to Yahweh your God, you must not be slack about fulfilling it: Yahweh your God will certainly hold you answerable for it and you will incur guilt.
23 If, however, you make no vow, you do not incur guilt.
24 Whatever passes your lips you must keep to, and the vow that you have made to Yahweh, your generous God, you must fulfil.
25 ‘If you go into your neighbour’s vineyard, you may eat as many grapes as you please, but you must not put any in your basket.
26 If you go into your neighbour’s standing corn, you may pick ears by hand, but you must not put a sickle into your neighbour’s corn.’
1 Alleluia! Give thanks to Yahweh, call on his name, proclaim his deeds to the peoples!
2 Sing to him, make music for him, recount all his wonders!
3 Glory in his holy name, let the hearts that seek Yahweh rejoice!
4 Seek Yahweh and his strength, tirelessly seek his presence!
5 Remember the marvels he has done, his wonders, the judgements he has spoken.
6 Stock of Abraham, his servant, children of Jacob whom he chose!
7 He is Yahweh our God, his judgements touch the whole world.
8 He remembers his covenant for ever, the promise he laid down for a thousand generations,
9 which he concluded with Abraham, the oath he swore to Isaac.
10 He established it as a statute for Jacob, an everlasting covenant with Israel,
11 saying, ‘To you I give a land, Canaan, your allotted birthright.’
12 When they were insignificant in numbers, a handful of strangers in the land,
13 wandering from country to country, from one kingdom and nation to another,
14 he allowed no one to oppress them; for their sake he instructed kings,
15 ‘Do not touch my anointed ones, to my prophets you may do no harm.’
16 He called down famine on the land, he took away their food supply;
17 he sent a man ahead of them, Joseph, sold as a slave.
18 So his feet were weighed down with shackles, his neck was put in irons.
19 In due time his prophecy was fulfilled, the word of Yahweh proved him true.
20 The king sent orders to release him, the ruler of nations set him free;
21 he put him in charge of his household, the ruler of all he possessed,
22 to instruct his princes as he saw fit, to teach his counsellors wisdom.
23 Then Israel migrated to Egypt, Jacob settled in the country of Ham.
24 He made his people increase in numbers, he gave them more strength than their enemies,
25 whose heart he turned to hate his own people, to double-cross his servants.
26 He sent his servant Moses, and Aaron, the man of his choice.
27 They worked there the wonders he commanded, marvels in the country of Ham.
28 Darkness he sent, and darkness fell, but that nation defied his orders.
29 He turned their rivers to blood, and killed all the fish in them.
30 Their country was overrun with frogs, even in the royal apartments;
31 at his word came flies, and mosquitoes throughout the country.
32 He gave them hail as their rain, flames of fire in their land;
33 he blasted their vine and their fig tree, and shattered the trees of the country.
34 At his word came locusts, hoppers beyond all counting;
35 they devoured every green thing in the land, devoured all the produce of the soil.
36 He struck all the first-born in their land, the flower of all their manhood;
37 he led Israel out with silver and gold; in their tribes there was none who stumbled.
38 Egypt was glad at their leaving, for terror of Israel had seized them.
39 He spread out a cloud to cover them, and fire to light up the night.
40 They asked and he brought them quails, food from heaven to their hearts’ content;
41 he opened a rock, the waters gushed out, and flowed in dry ground as a river.
42 Faithful to his sacred promise, given to his servant Abraham,
43 he led out his people with rejoicing, his chosen ones with shouts of joy.
44 He gave them the territories of nations, they reaped the fruit of other people’s labours,
45 on condition that they kept his statutes, and remained obedient to his laws.