March 29

Numbers 23:27-30

27Then Balak said to Balaam, Come now, I will take you to another place; it may be that God will let you put a curse on them from there.

28So Balak took Balaam to the top of Peor, looking down over the waste land.

29And Balaam said to Balak, Make me seven altars here and get seven oxen and seven male sheep ready for me.

30And Balak did as Balaam said, offering an ox and a male sheep on every altar.

Numbers 24

1Now when Balaam saw that it was the Lord’s pleasure to give his blessing to Israel, he did not, as at other times, make use of secret arts, but turning his face to the waste land,

2And lifting up his eyes, he saw Israel there, with their tents in the order of their tribes: and the spirit of God came on him.

3And moved by the spirit, he said, These are the words of Balaam, son of Beor, the words of the man whose eyes are open:

4He says, whose ears are open to the words of God, who has seen the vision of the Ruler of all, falling down, but having his eyes open:

5How fair are your tents, O Jacob, your houses, O Israel!

6They are stretched out like valleys, like gardens by the riverside, like flowering trees planted by the Lord, like cedar-trees by the waters.

7Peoples will be in fear before his strength, his arm will be on great nations: his king will be higher than Agag, and his kingdom made great in honour.

8It is God who has taken him out of Egypt; his horns are like those of the mountain ox; the nations warring against him will be his food, their bones will be broken, they will be wounded with his arrows.

9He took his sleep stretched out like a lion, and like a she-lion: by whom will his rest be broken? May a blessing be on everyone who gives you blessing, and a curse on everyone by whom you are cursed.

10Then Balak was full of wrath against Balaam, and angrily waving his hands he said to Balaam, I sent for you so that those who are against me might be cursed, but now, see, three times you have given them a blessing.

11Go back quickly to the place you came from: it was my purpose to give you a place of honour, but now the Lord has kept you back from honour.

12Then Balaam said to Balak, Did I not say to the men you sent to me,

13Even if Balak gave me his house full of silver and gold, it would not be possible for me to go outside the orders of the Lord, doing good or evil at the impulse of my mind; whatever the Lord says I will say?

14So now I will go back to my people: but first let me make clear to you what this people will do to your people in days to come.

15Then he went on with his story and said, These are the words of Balaam, the son of Beor, the words of him whose eyes are open:

16He says, whose ear is open to the words of God, who has knowledge of the Most High, who has seen the vision of the Ruler of all, falling down and having his eyes open:

17I see him, but not now: looking on him, but not near: a star will come out of Jacob, and a rod of authority out of Israel, sending destruction to the farthest limits of Moab and on the head of all the sons of Sheth.

18Edom will be his heritage, and he will put an end to the last of the people of Seir.

19And Israel will go on in strength, and Jacob will have rule over his haters.

20Then, turning his eyes to Amalek, he went on with his story and said, Amalek was the first of the nations, but his part will be destruction for ever.

21And looking on the Kenites he went on with his story and said, Strong is your living-place, and your secret place is safe in the rock.

22But still the Kenites will be wasted, till Asshur takes you away prisoner.

23Then he went on with his story and said, But who may keep his life when God does this?

24But ships will come from the direction of Kittim, troubling Asshur and troubling Eber, and like the others their fate will be destruction.

25Then Balaam got up and went back to his place: and Balak went away.

Song of Solomon 5:2-16

2I am sleeping, but my heart is awake; it is the sound of my loved one at the door, saying, Be open to me, my sister, my love, my dove, my very beautiful one; my head is wet with dew, and my hair with the drops of the night.

3I have put off my coat; how may I put it on? My feet are washed; how may I make them unclean?

4My loved one put his hand on the door, and my heart was moved for him.

5I got up to let my loved one in; and my hands were dropping with myrrh, and my fingers with liquid myrrh, on the lock of the door.

6I made the door open to my loved one; but my loved one had taken himself away, and was gone, my soul was feeble when his back was turned on me; I went after him, but I did not come near him; I said his name, but he gave me no answer.

7The keepers who go about the town overtook me; they gave me blows and wounds; the keepers of the walls took away my veil from me.

8I say to you, O daughters of Jerusalem, if you see my loved one, what will you say to him? That I am overcome with love.

9What is your loved one more than another, O fairest among women? What is your loved one more than another, that you say this to us?

10My loved one is white and red, the chief among ten thousand.

11His head is as the most delicate gold; his hair is thick, and black as a raven.

12His eyes are as the eyes of doves by the water streams, washed with milk, and rightly placed.

13His face is as beds of spices, giving out perfumes of every sort; his lips like lilies, dropping liquid myrrh.

14His hands are as rings of gold ornamented with beryl-stones; his body is as a smooth plate of ivory covered with sapphires.

15His legs are as pillars of stone on a base of delicate gold; his looks are as Lebanon, beautiful as the cedar-tree.

16His mouth is most sweet; yes, he is all beautiful. This is my loved one, and this is my friend, O daughters of Jerusalem.

Song of Solomon 6:1-3

1Where is your loved one gone, O most fair among women? Where is your loved one turned away, that we may go looking for him with you?

2My loved one is gone down into his garden, to the beds of spices, to take food in the gardens, and to get lilies.

3I am for my loved one, and my loved one is for me; he takes food among the lilies.

Matthew 23:13-39

13But a curse is on you, scribes and Pharisees, false ones! because you are shutting the kingdom of heaven against men: for you do not go in yourselves, and those who are going in, you keep back.

15A curse is on you, scribes and Pharisees, false ones! for you go about land and sea to get one disciple and, having him, you make him twice as much a son of hell as yourselves.

16A curse is on you, blind guides, who say, Whoever takes an oath by the Temple, it is nothing; but whoever takes an oath by the gold of the Temple, he is responsible.

17You foolish ones and blind: which is greater, the gold, or the Temple which makes the gold holy?

18And, Whoever takes an oath by the altar, it is nothing; but whoever takes an oath by the offering which is on it, he is responsible.

19You blind ones: which is greater, the offering, or the altar which makes the offering holy?

20He, then, who takes an oath by the altar, takes it by the altar and by all things on it.

21And he who takes an oath by the Temple, takes it by the Temple and by him whose house it is.

22And he who takes an oath by heaven, takes it by the seat of God, and by him who is seated on it.

23A curse is on you, scribes and Pharisees, false ones! for you make men give a tenth of all sorts of sweet-smelling plants, but you give no thought to the more important things of the law, righteousness, and mercy, and faith; but it is right for you to do these, and not to let the others be undone.

24You blind guides, who take out a fly from your drink, but make no trouble over a camel.

25A curse is on you, scribes and Pharisees, false ones! for you make clean the outside of the cup and of the plate, but inside they are full of violent behaviour and uncontrolled desire.

26You blind Pharisee, first make clean the inside of the cup and of the plate, so that the outside may become equally clean.

27A curse is on you, scribes and Pharisees, false ones! for you are like the resting-places of the dead, which are made white, and seem beautiful on the outside, but inside are full of dead men’s bones and of all unclean things.

28Even so you seem to men to be full of righteousness, but inside you are all false and full of wrongdoing.

29A curse is on you, scribes and Pharisees, false ones! because you put up buildings for housing the dead bodies of the prophets, and make fair the last resting-places of good men, and say,

30If we had been living in the days of our fathers, we would not have taken part with them in the blood of the prophets.

31So that you are witnesses against yourselves that you are the sons of those who put the prophets to death.

32Make full, then, the measure of your fathers.

33You snakes, offspring of snakes, how will you be kept from the punishment of hell?

34For this reason, I send you prophets, and wise men, and scribes: some of them you will put to death and put on the cross, and to some of them you will give blows in your Synagogues, driving them from town to town;

35So that on you may come all the blood of the upright on the earth, from the blood of upright Abel to the blood of Zachariah, son of Barachiah, whom you put to death between the Temple and the altar.

36Truly I say to you, All these things will come on this generation.

37O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, putting to death the prophets, and stoning those who are sent to her! Again and again would I have taken your children to myself as a bird takes her young ones under her wings, and you would not!

38See, your house is made waste.

39For I say to you, You will not see me from this time till you say, A blessing on him who comes in the name of the Lord.

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