Numbers 22:28
Parallel Verses
English Standard Version
Then the LORD opened the mouth of the donkey, and she said to Balaam, “What have I done to you, that you have struck me these three times?”

King James Bible
And the LORD opened the mouth of the ass, and she said unto Balaam, What have I done unto thee, that thou hast smitten me these three times?

American Standard Version
And Jehovah opened the mouth of the ass, and she said unto Balaam, What have I done unto thee, that thou hast smitten me these three times?

Douay-Rheims Bible
And the Lord opened the mouth of the ass, and she said: What have I done to thee? Why strikest thou me, lo, now this third time?

English Revised Version
And the LORD opened the mouth of the ass, and she said unto Balaam, What have I done unto thee, that thou hast smitten me these three times?

Webster's Bible Translation
And the LORD opened the mouth of the ass, and she said to Balaam, What have I done to thee, that thou hast smitten me these three times?

Numbers 22:28 Parallel
Commentary
Keil and Delitzsch Biblical Commentary on the Old Testament

Balaam's Speaking Ass. - Numbers 22:22. "And the anger of God burned, that he was going (הוּא הולך): and the angel of Jehovah placed himself in the way, as an adversary to him." From the use of the participle הולך instead of the imperfect, with which it is not interchangeable, it is evident, on the one hand, that the anger of God was not excited by the fact that Balaam went with the elders of Moab, but by his behaviour wither on setting out or upon the journey;

(Note: From a failure to observe the use of the participle in distinction from the preterite, and from a misinterpretation of the words of the angel of the Lord (Numbers 22:32), "I have come out as an adversary, for the way leads headlong to destruction," which have been understood as implying that the angel meant to prohibit the seer from going, whereas he only intended to warn him of the destruction towards which he was going, the critics have invented a contradiction between the account of the speaking ass (Numbers 22:22-35) and the preceding part of the history. And in consequence of this, A. G. Hoffmann and others have pronounced the section from Numbers 22:22 to Numbers 22:35 to be a later interpolation; whilst Baur, on the other hand (in his Geschichte d. alttestl. Weissagung), regards the account of the ass as the original form of the narrative, and the preceding portion as a composition of the Jehovist. But there is no "contradiction" or "evident incongruity," unless we suppose that the only reason for the appearance of the angel of the Lord was, that he might once more forbid the seer to go, and then give him permission, with a certain limitation. The other difference, which E. v. Ortenberg adduces, are involved in the very nature of the case. The manifestation of God, in the form of the Angel of Jehovah, was necessarily different in its character from a direct spiritual revelation of the divine will. And lastly, the difference in the expressions used to signify "three times," in Numbers 22:28, Numbers 22:32-33, and Numbers 24:10, etc., prove nothing more than that king Balak did not mould his style of speaking according to that of the ass.)

and, on the other hand, that the occurrence which followed did not take place at the commencement, but rather towards the close of, the journey. As it was a longing for wages and honour that had induced the soothsayer to undertake the journey, the nearer he came to his destination, under the guidance of the distinguished Moabitish ambassadors, the more was his mind occupied with the honours and riches in prospect; and so completely did they take possession of his heart, that he was in danger of casting to the winds the condition which had been imposed upon him by God. The wrath of God was kindled against this dangerous enemy of his soul; and as he was riding upon his ass with two attendants, the angel of the Lord stood in his way לו לשׂטן, "as an adversary to him," i.e., to restrain him from advancing farther on a road that would inevitably lead him headlong into destruction (cf. Numbers 22:32). This visible manifestation of God was seen by the ass; but Balaam the seer was so blinded, that it was entirely hidden from his eye, darkened as it was by sinful lust; and this happened three times before Jehovah brought him to his senses by the speaking of the dumb animal, and thus opened his eyes.

(Note: "To the great disgrace of the prophet, the glory of the angel was first of all apparent to the ass... He had been boasting before this of extraordinary visions, and now what was visible to the eyes of a beast was invisible to him. Whence came this blindness, but from the avarice by which he had been so stupefied, that he preferred filthy lucre to the holy calling of God?" (Calvin.))

The "drawn sword" in the angel's hand was a manifestation of the wrath of God. The ass turned from the road into the field before the threatening sight, and was smitten by Balaam in consequence to turn her or guide her back into the road.

Numbers 22:28 Parallel Commentaries

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

the Lord opened. And where is the wonder of all this? If the ass had opened her own mouth, and reproved the rash prophet, we might well be astonished; but when God opens the mouth, an ass can speak as well as a man. It is to no purpose to speak of the construction of the ass's mouth, of the formation of the tongue and jaws being unfit for speaking; for an adequate cause is assigned for this wonderful effect. The Lord opened the mouth of the ass; and no one who believes in a God, can doubt of his power to do this and much more.

Exodus 4:11 And the LORD said to him, Who has made man's mouth? or who makes the dumb, or deaf, or the seeing, or the blind? have not I the LORD?

Luke 1:37 For with God nothing shall be impossible.

1 Corinthians 1:19 For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent.

2 Peter 2:16 But was rebuked for his iniquity: the dumb donkey speaking with man's voice forbade the madness of the prophet.

what have I

Romans 8:22 For we know that the whole creation groans and travails in pain together until now.

Cross References
2 Peter 2:16
but was rebuked for his own transgression; a speechless donkey spoke with human voice and restrained the prophet's madness.

Numbers 22:29
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."

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ESV Text Edition: 2016. The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.
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