ESV — Every Day in the Word: Day 76
Old Testament
Numbers 24-25

New Testament
Luke 2:1-35

Psalm 59

Proverbs 11:14

Balaam's Third Oracle

24 When Balaam saw that it pleased the Lord to bless Israel, he did not go, as at sother times, to look for omens, but set his face toward the wilderness. And Balaam lifted up his eyes and saw Israel tcamping tribe by tribe. And uthe Spirit of God came upon him, and he vtook up his discourse and said,

“The oracle of Balaam the son of Beor,

the oracle of the man whose eye is opened,1

the oracle of him who hears the words of God,

who sees the vision of the Almighty,

wfalling down with his eyes uncovered:

How lovely are your tents, O Jacob,

your encampments, O Israel!

Like palm groves2 that stretch afar,

like gardens beside a river,

xlike aloes ythat the Lord has planted,

like cedar trees beside the waters.

Water shall flow from his buckets,

and his seed shall be zin many waters;

his king shall be higher than aAgag,

and bhis kingdom shall be exalted.

God brings him out of Egypt

and is for him like the chorns of the wild ox;

he shall deat up the nations, his adversaries,

and shall ebreak their bones in pieces

and fpierce them through with his arrows.

He crouched, he lay down like a lion

and glike a lioness; who will rouse him up?

hBlessed are those who bless you,

and cursed are those who curse you.”

10 And Balak's anger was kindled against Balaam, and he istruck his hands together. And Balak said to Balaam, j“I called you to curse my enemies, and behold, you have blessed them these three times. 11 Therefore now flee to your own place. I said, k‘I will certainly honor you,’ but the Lord has held you back from honor.” 12 And Balaam said to Balak, “Did I not tell your messengers whom you sent to me, 13 l‘If Balak should give me his house full of silver and gold, I would not be able to go beyond the word of the Lord, to do either good or bad mof my own will. What the Lord speaks, that will I speak’? 14 And now, behold, I am going to my people. Come, nI will let you know what this people will do to your people oin the latter days.”

Balaam's Final Oracle

15 pAnd he took up his discourse and said,

“The oracle of Balaam the son of Beor,

the oracle of the man whose eye is opened,

16  the oracle of him who hears the words of God,

and knows the knowledge of qthe Most High,

who sees the vision of the Almighty,

rfalling down with his eyes uncovered:

17  sI see him, but not now;

I behold him, but not near:

ta star shall come out of Jacob,

and ua scepter shall rise out of Israel;

it shall vcrush the forehead3 of Moab

and break down all the sons of Sheth.

18  wEdom shall be dispossessed;

xSeir also, his enemies, shall be dispossessed.

Israel is doing valiantly.

19  And one from Jacob shall exercise dominion

and destroy the survivors of cities!”

20 Then he looked on Amalek and ytook up his discourse and said,

“Amalek was the first among the nations,

zbut its end is utter destruction.”

21 And he looked on the Kenite, and took up his discourse and said,

“Enduring is your dwelling place,

and your nest is set in the rock.

22  Nevertheless, Kain shall be burned

when Asshur takes you away captive.”

23 And he took up his discourse and said,

“Alas, who shall live when God does this?

24  But ships shall come from aKittim

and shall afflict Asshur and bEber;

and he too cshall come to utter destruction.”

25 Then Balaam rose and dwent back to his place. And Balak also went his way.

Baal Worship at Peor

25 While Israel lived in eShittim, fthe people began to whore with the daughters of Moab. gThese invited the people to the sacrifices of their gods, and the people ate and bowed down to their gods. So Israel yoked himself to Baal of Peor. And the anger of the Lord was kindled against Israel. And the Lord said to Moses, h“Take all the chiefs of the people and ihang4 them in the sun before the Lord, jthat the fierce anger of the Lord may turn away from Israel.” And Moses said to kthe judges of Israel, l“Each of you kill those of his men who have yoked themselves to Baal of Peor.”

And behold, one of the people of Israel came and brought a Midianite woman to his family, in the sight of Moses and in the sight of the whole congregation of the people of Israel, while they were mweeping in the entrance of the tent of meeting. nWhen Phinehas othe son of Eleazar, son of Aaron the priest, saw it, he rose and left the congregation and took a spear in his hand and went after the man of Israel into the chamber and pierced both of them, the man of Israel and the woman through her belly. Thus the plague on the people of Israel was stopped. Nevertheless, pthose who died by the plague were twenty-four thousand.

The Zeal of Phinehas

10 And the Lord said to Moses, 11 “Phinehas the son of Eleazar, son of Aaron the priest, has turned back my wrath from the people of Israel, in that he qwas jealous with my jealousy among them, so that I did not consume the people of Israel in rmy jealousy. 12 Therefore say, s‘Behold, I give to him my covenant of peace, 13 and it shall be to him and to this descendants after him the covenant of ua perpetual priesthood, because he was jealous for his God and made atonement for the people of Israel.’”

14 The name of the slain man of Israel, who was killed with the Midianite woman, was Zimri the son of Salu, chief of a father's house belonging to the Simeonites. 15 And the name of the Midianite woman who was killed was Cozbi the daughter of vZur, who was the tribal head of a father's house in Midian.

16 And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, 17 w“Harass the Midianites and strike them down, 18 for they have harassed you with their xwiles, with which they beguiled you in the matter of yPeor, and in the matter of Cozbi, the daughter of the chief of Midian, their sister, who was killed on the day of the plague on account of Peor.”


[1] 24:3 Or closed, or perfect; also verse 15
[2] 24:6 Or valleys
[3] 24:17 Hebrew corners [of the head]
[4] 25:4 Or impale

The Birth of Jesus Christ

In those days la decree went out from mCaesar Augustus that all the world should be nregistered. This was the first nregistration when1 Quirinius owas governor of Syria. And all went to be registered, each to his own town. And Joseph also went up pfrom Galilee, from the town of qNazareth, to Judea, to rthe city of David, which is called sBethlehem, tbecause he was of the house and lineage of David, to be registered with Mary, his betrothed,2 who was with child. And twhile they were there, the time came for her to give birth. And she gave birth to her firstborn son and uwrapped him in swaddling cloths and vlaid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in wthe inn.3

The Shepherds and the Angels

And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord xappeared to them, and ythe glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with great fear. 10 And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all zthe people. 11 For aunto you is born this day in bthe city of David ca Savior, who is dChrist ethe Lord. 12 And fthis will be a sign for you: you will find a baby gwrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.” 13 And suddenly there was with the angel ha multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying,

14  i“Glory to God jin the highest,

jand on earth kpeace lamong those with whom he is pleased!”4

15 When the angels went away from them into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us.” 16 And they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby mlying in a manger. 17 And when they saw it, they made known the saying that had been told them concerning this child. 18 And all who heard it wondered at what the shepherds told them. 19 But nMary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart. 20 And the shepherds returned, oglorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them.

21 And pat the end of eight days, when he was circumcised, qhe was called Jesus, the name given by the angel before he was conceived in the womb.

Jesus Presented at the Temple

22 And rwhen the time came for their purification according to the Law of Moses, they brought him up to Jerusalem sto present him to the Lord 23 (as it is written in tthe Law of the Lord, u“Every male who first opens the womb shall be called holy to the Lord”) 24 and to offer a sacrifice according to what is said in tthe Law of the Lord, v“a pair of turtledoves, or two young pigeons.” 25 Now there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon, and this man was wrighteous and xdevout, ywaiting for zthe consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. 26 And it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not asee death before he had seen bthe Lord's Christ. 27 And he came in the Spirit into the temple, and when cthe parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him according to the custom of the Law, 28 he took him up in his arms and dblessed God and said,

29  “Lord, now you are letting your servant5 depart ein peace,

faccording to your word;

30  for gmy eyes have seen your hsalvation

31  ithat you have prepared in the presence of all peoples,

32  ja light for revelation to the Gentiles,

and kfor glory to lyour people Israel.”

33 And mhis father and his mother marveled at what was said about him. 34 And Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother, “Behold, this child is appointed nfor the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign othat is opposed 35 (and a sword will pierce through your own soul also), so that thoughts from many hearts may be revealed.”


[1] 2:2 Or This was the registration before
[2] 2:5 That is, one legally pledged to be married
[3] 2:7 Or guest room
[4] 2:14 Some manuscripts peace, good will among men
[5] 2:29 Or bondservant

Deliver Me from My Enemies

To the choirmaster: according to xDo Not Destroy. A yMiktam1 of David, zwhen Saul sent men to watch his house in order to kill him.

59  aDeliver me from my enemies, O my God;

bprotect me from those who crise up against me;

deliver me from dthose who work evil,

and save me from ebloodthirsty men.

For behold, they flie in wait for my life;

fierce men gstir up strife against me.

hFor no transgression or sin of mine, O Lord,

for no fault of mine, they run and make ready.

iAwake, come to meet me, and see!

You, jLord God of hosts, are God of Israel.

Rouse yourself to punish all the nations;

spare none of those who treacherously plot evil. Selah

Each evening they kcome back,

howling like dogs

and prowling about the city.

There they are, lbellowing with their mouths

with mswords in their lips—

for n“Who,” they think,2 “will hear us?”

But you, O Lord, olaugh at them;

you hold all the nations in derision.

O my Strength, I will watch for you,

for you, O God, are pmy fortress.

10  qMy God in his steadfast love3 rwill meet me;

God will let me slook in triumph on my enemies.

11  Kill them not, lest my people forget;

make them totter4 by your power and tbring them down,

O Lord, our ushield!

12  For vthe sin of their mouths, the words of their lips,

let them be trapped in their pride.

For the cursing and lies that they utter,

13  wconsume them in wrath;

consume them till they are no more,

that they may xknow that God rules over Jacob

to ythe ends of the earth. Selah

14  zEach evening they come back,

howling like dogs

and prowling about the city.

15  They awander about for food

and growl if they do not get their fill.

16  But I will sing of your strength;

I will sing aloud of your steadfast love in the morning.

For you have been to me ba fortress

and ca refuge in dthe day of my distress.

17  O my Strength, I will sing praises to you,

for you, O God, bare my fortress,

ethe God who shows me steadfast love.


[1] 59:1 Probably a musical or liturgical term
[2] 59:7 Hebrew lacks they think
[3] 59:10 Or The God who shows me steadfast love
[4] 59:11 Or wander

14  Where there is sno guidance, a people falls,

sbut in an abundance of counselors there is safety.