The Daily Audio Bible Reading for Thursday March 16, 2023 (NIV)

Numbers 24-25

Balaam’s Third Prophecy

24 When Balaam saw that the Lord wanted to bless Israel, he didn’t look for omens as he had done before. He turned toward the desert, looked up, and saw Israel’s camp grouped by tribes. The Spirit of God entered him, and he delivered this message:

“This is the message of Balaam, son of Beor.
This is the message of the man whose eyesight is clear.
This is the message of the one who hears God’s words,
has a vision from the Almighty,
and falls ⌞into a trance⌟ with his eyes open:
How beautiful are your tents, Jacob,
and the places where you live, Israel.
Your tents spread out like rivers,
like gardens by a river,
like aloes planted by the Lord,
like cedars by the water.
Water will flow from their buckets,
and their crops will have plenty of water.
Their king will be greater than Agag,
and their kingdom will be considered the best.
The God who brought them out of Egypt
has the strength of a wild bull.
He will devour nations that are his enemies,
crush their bones,
and pierce them with arrows.
His people lie down ⌞and⌟ rest like a lion.
They are like a lioness. Who dares to disturb them?
Those who bless you will be blessed!
Those who curse you will be cursed!”

Balaam’s Fourth Prophecy

10 Balak became angry with Balaam. He clapped his hands and said, “I summoned you to curse my enemies, and now you have blessed them three times. 11 Get out of here! Go home! I said I’d reward you richly, but the Lord has made you lose your reward.”

12 Balaam answered Balak, “I told the messengers you sent me, 13 ‘Even if Balak would give me his palace filled with silver and gold, I couldn’t disobey the Lord’s command no matter how good or bad the request might seem to me. I must say only what the Lord says.’ 14 Even though I’m going back to my people, I’ll give you some advice. I’ll tell you what these people will do to your people in the days to come.”

15 Then Balaam delivered this message:

“This is the message of Balaam, son of Beor.
This is the message of the man whose eyesight is clear.
16 This is the message of the one who hears God’s words,
receives knowledge from the Most High,
has a vision from the Almighty,
and falls ⌞into a trance⌟ with his eyes open:
17 I see someone who is not here now.
I look at someone who is not nearby.
A star will come from Jacob.
A scepter will rise from Israel.
He will crush the heads of the Moabites
and destroy all the people of Sheth.[a]
18 Edom will be conquered,
and Seir, his enemy, will be conquered.
So Israel will become wealthy.
19 He will rule from Jacob
and destroy whoever is left in their cities.”

20 Then Balaam saw the Amalekites and delivered this message:

“Amalek was first among the nations,
but in the end it will be destroyed.”

21 Then he saw the Kenites and delivered this message:

“You have a permanent place to live.
Your nest is built in a rock.
22 But it is destined to be burned, you ⌞descendants of⌟ Cain,
when Assyria takes you as prisoners of war.” [b]

23 He delivered this message:

“Oh no! Who will live when God decides to do this?
24 Ships will come from the shores of Cyprus.
They will conquer Assyria and Eber.
But they, too, will be totally destroyed.”

25 Then Balaam got up and went back home, and Balak also went on his way.

Israel Commits Idolatry

25 While Israel was staying at Shittim, the men began to have sex with Moabite women who invited the people to the sacrifices offered to their gods. The people ate the meat from the sacrifices and worshiped these gods. Since the Israelites joined in worshiping the god Baal of Peor, the Lord became angry with Israel.

The Lord said to Moses, “Take all the leaders of the people, and execute them in broad daylight in the Lord’s presence. This will turn the Lord’s anger away from Israel.”

So Moses said to the judges of Israel, “Each of you must kill the men who have joined in worshiping the god Baal of Peor.”

One of the Israelite men brought a Midianite woman to his brothers. He did this right in front of Moses and the whole community of Israel while they were crying at the entrance to the tent of meeting. Phinehas, son of Eleazar and grandson of the priest Aaron, saw this. So he left the assembly, took a spear in his hand, and went into the tent after the Israelite man. He drove the spear through the man and into the woman’s body. Because of this, the plague that the Israelites were experiencing stopped. However, 24,000 people died from that plague.

10 Then the Lord said to Moses, 11 “Phinehas, son of Eleazar and grandson of the priest Aaron, turned my fury away from the Israelites. Since he stood up for me, I didn’t have to stand up for myself and destroy them. 12 So tell Phinehas that I’m making a promise of peace to him. 13 My promise is that he and his descendants will be priests permanently because he stood up for his God and he made peace with the Lord for the Israelites.”

14 The name of the Israelite man who was killed with the Midianite woman was Zimri, son of Salu. (Salu was the leader of a family from Simeon.) 15 The name of the Midianite woman who was killed was Cozbi, daughter of Zur. (Zur was the head of a family from the Midianite tribes.)

16 The Lord said to Moses, 17 “Treat the Midianites as your enemies, and kill them 18 because they treated you as enemies. They plotted to trick you in the incident that took place at Peor. They used their sister Cozbi, daughter of a Midianite leader, who was killed on the day of the plague caused by the incident at Peor.”


  1. 24:17 Or “all the descendants of Seth.”
  2. 24:21–22 There is a play on words here among Hebrew qeyniy (Kenite   ), qinneka (your nest), and qayin (Cain).
GOD’S WORD Translation (GW)

Copyright © 1995, 2003, 2013, 2014, 2019, 2020 by God’s Word to the Nations Mission Society. All rights reserved.

Luke 2:1-35

Jesus Is Born

At that time the Emperor Augustus ordered a census of the Roman Empire. This was the first census taken while Quirinius was governor of Syria. All the people went to register in the cities where their ancestors had lived.

So Joseph went from Nazareth, a city in Galilee, to a Judean city called Bethlehem. Joseph, a descendant of King David, went to Bethlehem because David had been born there. Joseph went there to register with Mary. She had been promised to him in marriage and was pregnant.

While they were in Bethlehem, the time came for Mary to have her child. She gave birth to her firstborn son. She wrapped him in strips of cloth and laid him in a manger because there wasn’t any room for them in the inn.

Angels Announce the Birth of Jesus

Shepherds were in the fields near Bethlehem. They were taking turns watching their flock during the night. An angel from the Lord suddenly appeared to them. The glory of the Lord filled the area with light, and they were terrified. 10 The angel said to them, “Don’t be afraid! I have good news for you, a message that will fill everyone with joy. 11 Today your Savior, Christ the Lord, was born in David’s city. 12 This is how you will recognize him: You will find an infant wrapped in strips of cloth and lying in a manger.”

13 Suddenly, a large army of angels appeared with the angel. They were praising God by saying,

14 “Glory to God in the highest heaven,
and on earth peace to those who have his good will!”

15 The angels left them and went back to heaven. The shepherds said to each other, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see what the Lord has told us about.”

16 They went quickly and found Mary and Joseph with the baby, who was lying in a manger. 17 When they saw the child, they repeated what they had been told about him. 18 Everyone who heard the shepherds’ story was amazed.

19 Mary treasured all these things in her heart and always thought about them.

20 As the shepherds returned to their flock, they glorified and praised God for everything they had seen and heard. Everything happened the way the angel had told them.

Jesus’ Parents Obey Moses’ Teachings

21 Eight days after his birth, the child was circumcised and named Jesus. This was the name the angel had given him before his mother became pregnant.

22 After the days required by Moses’ Teachings to make a mother clean [a] had passed, Joseph and Mary went to Jerusalem. They took Jesus to present him to the Lord. 23 They did exactly what was written in the Lord’s Teachings: “Every firstborn boy is to be set apart as holy to the Lord.” 24 They also offered a sacrifice as required by the Lord’s Teachings: “a pair of mourning doves or two young pigeons.”

Simeon’s Prophecy

25 A man named Simeon was in Jerusalem. He lived an honorable and devout life. He was waiting for the one who would comfort Israel. The Holy Spirit was with Simeon 26 and had told him that he wouldn’t die until he had seen the Messiah, whom the Lord would send.

27 Moved by the Spirit, Simeon went into the temple courtyard. Mary and Joseph were bringing the child Jesus into the courtyard at the same time. They brought him so that they could do for him what Moses’ Teachings required. 28 Then Simeon took the child in his arms and praised God by saying,

29 “Now, Lord, you are allowing your servant to leave in peace
as you promised.
30 My eyes have seen your salvation,
31 which you have prepared for all people to see.
32 He is a light that will reveal ⌞salvation⌟ to the nations
and bring glory to your people Israel.”

33 Jesus’ father and mother were amazed at what was said about him. 34 Then Simeon blessed them and said to Mary, his mother, “This child is the reason that many people in Israel will be condemned and many others will be saved. He will be a sign that will expose 35 the thoughts of those who reject him. And a sword will pierce your heart.”


  1. 2:22 Clean   ” refers to anything that Moses’ Teachings say is presentable to God.
GOD’S WORD Translation (GW)

Copyright © 1995, 2003, 2013, 2014, 2019, 2020 by God’s Word to the Nations Mission Society. All rights reserved.

Psalm 59

For the choir director; al tashcheth; a miktam by David when Saul sent men to watch David’s home and kill him.

59 Rescue me from my enemies, O my God.
Protect me from those who attack me.
Rescue me from troublemakers.
Save me from bloodthirsty people.
They lie in ambush for me right here!
Fierce men attack me, O Lord,
but not because of any disobedience,
or any sin, or any guilt on my part.
They hurry to take positions against me.
Wake up, and help me; see ⌞for yourself⌟.
O Lord God of Armies, God of Israel,
arise to punish all the nations.
Have no pity on any traitors. Selah

They return in the evening.
They howl like dogs.
They prowl the city.

See what pours out of their mouths—
swords from their lips!
⌞They think,⌟ “Who will hear us?”
O Lord, you laugh at them.
You make fun of all the nations.

O my strength, I watch for you!
God is my stronghold, my merciful God!

10 God will come to meet me.
He will let me gloat over those who spy on me.
11 Do not kill them.
Otherwise, my people may forget.
Make them wander aimlessly by your power.
Bring them down, O Lord, our shield,
12 ⌞because of⌟ the sins from their mouths
and the words on their lips.
Let them be trapped by their own arrogance
because they speak curses and lies.
13 Destroy them in your rage.
Destroy them until not one of them is left.
Then they will know that God rules Jacob
to the ends of the earth. Selah

14 They return in the evening.
They howl like dogs.
They prowl the city.

15 They wander around to find something to eat.
If they are not full enough,
they will stay all night.
16 But I will sing about your strength.
In the morning I will joyfully sing about your mercy.
You have been my stronghold
and a place of safety in times of trouble.
17 O my strength, I will make music to praise you!
God is my stronghold, my merciful God!

GOD’S WORD Translation (GW)

Copyright © 1995, 2003, 2013, 2014, 2019, 2020 by God’s Word to the Nations Mission Society. All rights reserved.

Proverbs 11:14

14 A nation will fall when there is no direction,
but with many advisers there is victory.

GOD’S WORD Translation (GW)

Copyright © 1995, 2003, 2013, 2014, 2019, 2020 by God’s Word to the Nations Mission Society. All rights reserved.