ESV — Every Day in the Word: Day 75
Old Testament
Numbers 22:21-23:30

New Testament
Luke 1:57-80

Psalm 58

Proverbs 11:12-13

21 So Balaam rose in the morning and saddled his donkey and went with the princes of Moab.

Balaam's Donkey and the Angel

22 But God's anger was kindled because he went, yand the angel of the Lord took his stand in the way zas his adversary. Now he was riding on the donkey, and his two servants were with him. 23 And the donkey saw the angel of the Lord standing in the road, with a drawn sword in his hand. And the donkey turned aside out of the road and went into the field. And Balaam struck the donkey, to turn her into the road. 24 Then the angel of the Lord stood in a narrow path between the vineyards, with a wall on either side. 25 And when the donkey saw the angel of the Lord, she pushed against the wall and pressed Balaam's foot against the wall. So he struck her again. 26 Then the angel of the Lord went ahead and stood in a narrow place, where there was no way to turn either to the right or to the left. 27 When the donkey saw the angel of the Lord, she lay down under Balaam. And Balaam's anger was kindled, and he struck the donkey with his staff. 28 Then the Lord aopened the mouth of the donkey, and she said to Balaam, “What have I done to you, that you have struck me these three times?” 29 And Balaam said to the donkey, “Because you have made a fool of me. I wish I had a sword in my hand, for then I would kill you.” 30 And the donkey said to Balaam, “Am I not your donkey, on which you have ridden all your life long to this day? Is it my habit to treat you this way?” And he said, “No.”

31 Then the Lord bopened the eyes of Balaam, and he saw the angel of the Lord standing in the way, with his drawn sword in his hand. And he bowed down and fell on his face. 32 And the angel of the Lord said to him, “Why have you struck your donkey these three times? Behold, I have come out cto oppose you because your way is perverse1 before me. 33 The donkey saw me and turned aside before me these three times. If she had not turned aside from me, surely just now I would have killed you and let her live.” 34 Then Balaam said to the angel of the Lord, d“I have sinned, for I did not know that you stood in the road against me. Now therefore, if it is evil in your sight, I will turn back.” 35 And the angel of the Lord said to Balaam, “Go with the men, ebut speak only the word that I tell you.” So Balaam went on with the princes of Balak.

36 When Balak heard that Balaam had come, he went out to meet him at the city of Moab, fon the border formed by the Arnon, at the extremity of the border. 37 And Balak said to Balaam, “Did I not send to you to call you? Why did you not come to me? Am I not able to ghonor you?” 38 Balaam said to Balak, “Behold, I have come to you! Have I now any power of my own to speak anything? hThe word that God puts in my mouth, that must I speak.” 39 Then Balaam went with Balak, and they came to Kiriath-huzoth. 40 And Balak sacrificed oxen and sheep, and sent for Balaam and for the princes who were with him.

41 And in the morning Balak took Balaam and brought him up to Bamoth-baal, and from there he saw a fraction of the people.

Balaam's First Oracle

23 And Balaam said to Balak, i“Build for me here seven altars, and prepare for me here seven bulls and seven rams.” Balak did as Balaam had said. And Balak and Balaam joffered on each altar a bull and a ram. And Balaam said to Balak, k“Stand beside your burnt offering, and I will go. Perhaps the Lord will come lto meet me, and whatever he shows me I will tell you.” And he went to a bare height, mand God met Balaam. And Balaam said to him, “I have arranged the seven altars and I have offered on each altar a bull and a ram.” And the Lord nput a word in Balaam's mouth and said, “Return to Balak, and thus you shall speak.” And he returned to him, and behold, he and all the princes of Moab were standing beside his burnt offering. And Balaam otook up his discourse and said,

“From pAram Balak has brought me,

the king of Moab qfrom the eastern mountains:

‘Come, rcurse Jacob for me,

and come, denounce Israel!’

How can I curse whom God has not cursed?

How can I denounce whom the Lord has not denounced?

For from the top of the crags sI see him,

from the hills I behold him;

behold, ta people dwelling alone,

and unot counting itself among the nations!

10  vWho can count the dust of Jacob

or number the fourth part2 of Israel?

Let me die wthe death of the upright,

and let my end be like his!”

11 And Balak said to Balaam, “What have you done to me? xI took you to curse my enemies, and behold, you have done nothing but bless them.” 12 And he answered and said, y“Must I not take care to speak what the Lord puts in my mouth?”

Balaam's Second Oracle

13 And Balak said to him, “Please come with me to another place, from which you may see them. You shall see only a fraction of them and shall not see them all. Then curse them for me from there.” 14 And he took him to the field of Zophim, to the top of Pisgah, zand built seven altars and offered a bull and a ram on each altar. 15 Balaam said to Balak, a“Stand here beside your burnt offering, while I meet the Lord over there.” 16 And the Lord met Balaam and bput a word in his mouth and said, “Return to Balak, and thus shall you speak.” 17 And he came to him, and behold, he was standing beside his burnt offering, and the princes of Moab with him. And Balak said to him, “What has the Lord spoken?” 18 And Balaam took up his discourse and said,

“Rise, Balak, and hear;

give ear to me, O son of Zippor:

19  cGod is not man, that he should lie,

or a son of man, that he should change his mind.

Has he said, and will he not do it?

Or has he spoken, and will he not fulfill it?

20  Behold, I received a command to bless:

dhe has blessed, and eI cannot revoke it.

21  fHe has not beheld misfortune in Jacob,

nor has he seen trouble in Israel.

The Lord their God is with them,

and the shout of a king is among them.

22  gGod brings them out of Egypt

and is for them like hthe horns of the wild ox.

23  For there is no enchantment against Jacob,

no idivination against Israel;

now it shall be said of Jacob and Israel,

j‘What has God wrought!’

24  Behold, a people! kAs a lioness it rises up

and as a lion it lifts itself;

lit does not lie down until it has devoured the prey

and drunk the blood of the slain.”

25 And Balak said to Balaam, “Do not curse them at all, and do not bless them at all.” 26 But Balaam answered Balak, “Did I not tell you, m‘All that the Lord says, that I must do’?” 27 And Balak said to Balaam, n“Come now, I will take you to another place. Perhaps it will please God that you may curse them for me from there.” 28 So Balak took Balaam to the top of oPeor, which overlooks pthe desert.3 29 And Balaam said to Balak, q“Build for me here seven altars and prepare for me here seven bulls and seven rams.” 30 rAnd Balak did as Balaam had said, and offered a bull and a ram on each altar.


[1] 22:32 Or reckless
[2] 23:10 Or dust clouds
[3] 23:28 Or Jeshimon

The Birth of John the Baptist

57 Now the time came for Elizabeth to give birth, and she bore a son. 58 And her neighbors and relatives heard that the Lord shad shown great mercy to her, and they rejoiced with her. 59 And ton the eighth day they came to circumcise the child. And they would have called him Zechariah after his father, 60 but his mother answered, “No; uhe shall be called John.” 61 And they said to her, “None of your relatives is called by this name.” 62 And vthey made signs to his father, inquiring what he wanted him to be called. 63 And he asked for wa writing tablet and wrote, u“His name is John.” And they all wondered. 64 xAnd immediately his mouth was opened and his tongue yloosed, and he spoke, zblessing God. 65 And afear came on all their neighbors. And all these things were talked about through all bthe hill country of Judea, 66 and all who heard them claid them up in their hearts, saying, “What then will this child be?” For dthe hand of the Lord was with him.

Zechariah's Prophecy

67 And his father Zechariah ewas filled with the Holy Spirit and fprophesied, saying,

68  g“Blessed be the Lord hGod of Israel,

for he has ivisited and jredeemed his people

69  and khas raised up la horn of salvation for us

min the house of his servant David,

70  nas ohe spoke by the mouth of his holy prophets from of old,

71  pthat we should be saved from our enemies

and from the hand of all who hate us;

72  qto show the mercy promised to our fathers

and rto remember his holy scovenant,

73  tthe oath that he swore to our father Abraham, to grant us

74  that we, being delivered from the hand of our enemies,

might serve him uwithout fear,

75  vin holiness and righteousness before him wall our days.

76  And you, child, will be called xthe prophet of ythe Most High;

for zyou will go before the Lord to prepare his ways,

77  to give knowledge of salvation to his people

ain the forgiveness of their sins,

78  because of the btender mercy of our God,

whereby cthe sunrise shall dvisit us1 efrom on high

79  to fgive light to gthose who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death,

to guide our feet into hthe way of ipeace.”

80 jAnd the child grew and became strong in spirit, and he was kin the wilderness until the day of his public appearance to Israel.


[1] 1:78 Or when the sunrise shall dawn upon us; some manuscripts since the sunrise has visited us

God Who Judges the Earth

To the choirmaster: according to hDo Not Destroy. A iMiktam1 of David.

58  Do you indeed decree what is right, you gods?2

Do you judge the children of man uprightly?

No, in your hearts you devise wrongs;

your hands jdeal out violence on earth.

The wicked are kestranged from the womb;

they go astray from birth, speaking lies.

lThey have venom like the venom of a serpent,

like the deaf adder that stops its ear,

so that it mdoes not hear the voice of charmers

or of the cunning enchanter.

O God, nbreak the teeth in their mouths;

tear out the fangs of the young lions, O Lord!

Let them ovanish like water that runs away;

when he paims his arrows, let them be blunted.

Let them be like the snail othat dissolves into slime,

like qthe stillborn child who never sees the sun.

Sooner than your pots can feel the heat of rthorns,

whether green or ablaze, may he ssweep them away!3

10  tThe righteous will rejoice when he sees the vengeance;

he will ubathe his feet in the blood of the wicked.

11  Mankind will say, “Surely there is va reward for the righteous;

surely there is a God who wjudges on earth.”


[1] 58:1 Probably a musical or liturgical term
[2] 58:1 Or you mighty lords (by revocalization; Hebrew in silence)
[3] 58:9 The meaning of the Hebrew verse is uncertain

12  Whoever qbelittles his neighbor lacks sense,

but a man of understanding remains silent.

13  Whoever rgoes about slandering reveals secrets,

but he who is trustworthy in spirit keeps a thing covered.