16 Dec 2013
Balaam looked up and saw Israel camping tribe by tribe. Then the spirit of God came upon him, and he uttered his oracle, saying: â€œThe oracle of Balaam son of Beor, the oracle of the man whose eye is clear, the oracle of one who hears the words of God, who sees the vision of the Almighty, who falls down, but with eyes uncovered: how fair are your tents, O Jacob, your encampments, O Israel! Like palm-groves that stretch far away, like gardens beside a river, like aloes that the Lord has planted, like cedar trees beside the waters. Water shall flow from his buckets, and his seed shall have abundant water, his king shall be higher than Agag, and his kingdom shall be exalted.
So he uttered his oracle, saying: â€œThe oracle of Balaam son of Beor, the oracle of the man whose eye is clear, the oracle of one who hears the words of God, and knows the knowledge of the Most High, who sees the vision of the Almighty, who falls down, but with his eyes uncovered: I see him, but not now; I behold him, but not nearâ€” a star shall come out of Jacob, and a scepter shall rise out of Israel; it shall crush the borderlands of Moab, and the territory of all the Shethites. Edom will become a possession, Seir a possession of its enemies, while Israel does valiantly. One out of Jacob shall rule, and destroy the survivors of Ir.â€ Then he looked on Amalek, and uttered his oracle, saying: â€œFirst among the nations was Amalek, but its end is to perish forever.â€ Then he looked on the Kenite, and uttered his oracle, saying: â€œEnduring is your dwelling place, and your nest is set in the rock; yet Kain is destined for burning. How long shall Asshur take you away captive?â€ Again he uttered his oracle, saying: â€œAlas, who shall live when God does this? But ships shall come from Kittim and shall afflict Asshur and Eber; and he also shall perish forever.â€ Then Balaam got up and went back to his place, and Balak also went his way.
When he entered the temple, the chief priests and the elders of the people came to him as he was teaching, and said, â€œBy what authority are you doing these things, and who gave you this authority?â€ Jesus said to them, â€œI will also ask you one question; if you tell me the answer, then I will also tell you by what authority I do these things. Did the baptism of John come from heaven, or was it of human origin?â€ And they argued with one another, â€œIf we say, â€˜From heaven,â€™ he will say to us, â€˜Why then did you not believe him?â€™ But if we say, â€˜Of human origin,â€™ we are afraid of the crowd; for all regard John as a prophet.â€ So they answered Jesus, â€œWe do not know.â€ And he said to them, â€œNeither will I tell you by what authority I am doing these things.
Scripture passage from the New Revised Standard Version Bible: Catholic Edition, copyright 1989, 1993, Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.