Numbers 22:28
Parallel Verses
New International Version
Then the LORD opened the donkey's mouth, and it said to Balaam, "What have I done to you to make you beat me these three times?"

New Living Translation
Then the LORD gave the donkey the ability to speak. "What have I done to you that deserves your beating me three times?" it asked Balaam.

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?”

New American Standard Bible
And 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?

Holman Christian Standard Bible
Then the LORD opened the donkey's mouth, and she asked Balaam, "What have I done to you that you have beaten me these three times?"

International Standard Version
That's when the LORD enabled the donkey to speak. She asked Balaam, "What did I do to you that you would beat me in the space of only three footsteps?"

NET Bible
Then the LORD opened the mouth of the donkey, and she said to Balaam, "What have I done to you that you have beaten me these three times?"

GOD'S WORD® Translation
Then the LORD made the donkey speak, and it asked Balaam, "What have I done to make you hit me three times?"

Jubilee Bible 2000
Then 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?

King James 2000 Bible
And the LORD opened the mouth of the donkey, and she said unto Balaam, What have I done unto you, that you have smitten me these three times?

American King James Version
And the LORD opened the mouth of the ass, and she said to Balaam, What have I done to you, that you have 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?

Darby Bible Translation
And Jehovah 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?

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?

World English Bible
Yahweh 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?"

Young's Literal Translation
And Jehovah openeth the mouth of the ass, and she saith to Balaam, 'What have I done to thee that thou hast smitten me these three times?'
Parallel Commentaries
Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary

22:22-35 We must not think, that because God does not always by his providence restrain men from sin, therefore he approves of it, or that it is not hateful to him. The holy angels oppose sin, and perhaps are employed in preventing it more than we are aware. This angel was an adversary to Balaam, because Balaam counted him his adversary; those are really our best friends, and we ought so to reckon them, who stop our progress in sinful ways. Balaam has notice of God's displeasure by the ass. It is common for those whose hearts are fully set in them to do evil, to push on violently, through the difficulties Providence lays in their way. The Lord opened the mouth of the ass. This was a great miracle wrought by the power of God. He who made man speak, could, when he pleased, make the ass to speak with man's voice. The ass complained of Balaam's cruelty. The righteous God does not allow the meanest or weakest to be abused; but they shall be able to speak in their own defence, or he will some way or other speak for them. Balaam at length has his eyes opened. God has many ways to bring down the hard and unhumbled heart. When our eyes are opened, we shall see the danger of sinful ways, and how much it was for our advantage to be crossed. Balaam seemed to relent; I have sinned; but it does not appear that he was sensible of this wickedness of his heart, or willing to own it. If he finds he cannot go forward, he will be content, since there is no remedy, to go back. Thus many leave their sins, only because their sins have left them. The angel declared that he should not only be unable to curse Israel, but should be forced to bless them: this would be more for the glory of God, and to his own confusion, than if he had turned back.

Pulpit Commentary

Verse 28. - And the Lord opened the mouth of the ass. On the face of it this expression would seem decisive that an audible human voice proceeded from the ass's mouth, as St. Peter beyond doubt believed: ὑποζύγιον ἀφωνον ἐν ἀνθρώτου φωνῇ φθεγξάμενον. It is truly said, however, that a passing illusion of this kind, while it testifies that the Apostle understood the words, like all his contemporaries, in their most natural and simple sense, does not oblige us to hold the same view; if he was mistaken in this matter, it does not at all affect the inspired truth of his teaching. Two theories, therefore, have been proposed in order to avoid the difficulties of the ordinary belief, while vindicating the reality of the occurrence. It has been held by some that the whole affair took place in a trance, and resembled St. Peter's vision of the sheet let down from heaven (Acts 10:10), which we rightly conceive to have been purely subjective. This is open to the obvious and apparently fatal objection that no hint is given of any state of trance or ecstasy, and that, on the contrary, the wording of the narrative as given to us is inconsistent with such a thing. In verse 31 Balaam's eyes are said to have been opened so that he saw the angel; but to have the eyes open so that the (ordinarily) invisible became visible, and the (otherwise) inaudible became audible, was precisely the condition of which Balaam speaks (Numbers 24:3, 4) as that of trance. According to the narrative, therefore, Balaam was in an ecstasy, if at all, after the speaking of the ass, and not before. By others it has been put forward, somewhat confusedly, that although Balaam was in his ordinary senses, he did not really hear a human voice, but that the "cries" of the ass became intelligible to his mind; and it is noted that as an augur he had been accustomed to assign meanings to the cries of animals. If instead of "cries" we read "brayings," for the ass is endowed by nature with no other capacity of voice, being indeed one of the dumbest of "dumb" animals, we have the matter more fairly before us. To most people it would appear more incredible that the brayings of an ass should convey these rational questions to the mind of its rider than that the beast should have spoken outright with a man's voice. It would indeed seem much more satisfactory to regard the story, if we cannot accept it as literally true, as a parable which Balaam wrote against himself, and which Moses simply incorporated in the narrative; we should at least preserve in this way the immense moral and spiritual value of the story, without the necessity of placing non-natural constructions upon its simple statements. Supposing the miracle to have really occurred, it must always be observed that the words put into the ass's mouth do nothing more than express such feeling's as a docile and intelligent animal of her kind would have actually felt. That domestic animals, and especially such as have been long in the service of man, feel surprise, indignation, and grief in the presence of injustice and ill-treatment is abundantly certain. In many well-authenticated cases they have done things in order to express these feelings which seemed as much beyond their "irrational" nature as if they had spoken. We constantly say of a dog or a horse that he can do everything but speak, and why should it seem incredible that God, who has given the dumb beast so close an approximation to human feeling and reason, should for once have given it human voice? With respect to Balaam's companions, their presence need not cause any difficulty. The princes of Midian and Moab had probably gone on to announce the coming of Beldam; his servants would naturally follow him at some little distance, unless he summoned them to his side. It is very likely too that Balaam was wont to carry on conversations with himself, or with imaginary beings, as he rode along, and this circumstance would account for any sound of voices which reached the ears of others.

Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible

And the Lord opened the mouth of the ass, and she said unto Balaam,.... This was a very extraordinary and miraculous affair, and effected by a supernatural power, that a dumb creature, which had not organs endued with speech, should speak so plainly and distinctly, as is after expressed; and yet it should not be thought incredible, for what is it that Omnipotence cannot do? wherefore there is no need to say, as some Jewish writers (i), that this was all done in a visionary way, and not really and literally performed; nor can Heathens well object to the verity of it, if they believe what they themselves report concerning one of the asses which carried Bacchus over a river, to which, for reward, he gave the power of speaking with an human voice (k); though it is very probable the fable was framed from this story, and frequently do their writers speak of other brute creatures endued with speech; so Homer (l) represents Xanthus, the horse of Achilles, having the faculty of speech given it by Juno: Pliny says (m), it is commonly reported among the wonderful things of the ancients, that an ox spoke; and Livy (n) frequently makes mention of an ox spoke speaking in divers places, and of one particularly that said,"Rome, take heed to thyself;''not to take notice of a lamb in Egypt in the times of Bocchoris that spoke, related by Aelianus (o) and others; nor of the ram of Phrixus, or the dog at Ariminum, and the elephant of Porus in India, with others Bochart (p) has collected together: the words spoken by the ass were as follow:

what have l done unto thee, that thou hast smitten me these three times? and just so many times she had been smitten by him, Numbers 22:23.

(i) Maimon. Moreh Nevochim, par. 2. c. 42. Ben Gersom in loc. (k) Hygin. Poet. Astronomic. l. 2. c. 23. "Lactant, de falsa Relig". l. 1. c. 21. (l) Iliad. 19. "prope finem". (m) Nat. Hist. l. 8. c. 45. (n) Hist. l. 24. c. 10. l. 27. c. 11. l. 28. c. 11. and l. 35. c. 21. (o) De Animal. l. 12. c. 3.((p) Hierozoic. par. 1. l. 2. c. 14. col. 197, 198.

Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary

28. the Lord opened the mouth of the ass—to utter, like a parrot, articulate sounds, without understanding them. That this was a visionary scene is a notion which seems inadmissible, because of the improbability of a vision being described as an actual occurrence in the middle of a plain history. Besides, the opening of the ass's mouth must have been an external act, and that, with the manifest tenor of Peter's language, strongly favors the literal view [2Pe 2:15, 16]. The absence of any surprise at such a phenomenon on the part of Balaam may be accounted for by his mind being wholly engrossed with the prospect of gain, which produced "the madness of the prophet" [2Pe 2:16]. "It was a miracle, wrought to humble his proud heart, which had to be first subjected in the school of an ass before he was brought to attend to the voice of God speaking by the angel" [Calvin].

Numbers 22:28 Additional Commentaries
Context
The Angel and Balaam's Donkey
27When the donkey saw the angel of the LORD, she lay down under Balaam; so Balaam was angry and struck the donkey with his stick. 28And 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?" 29Then Balaam said to the donkey, "Because you have made a mockery of me! If there had been a sword in my hand, I would have killed you by now."…
Cross References
2 Peter 2:16
But he was rebuked for his wrongdoing by a donkey--an animal without speech--who spoke with a human voice and restrained the prophet's madness.

Numbers 22:29
Balaam answered the donkey, "You have made a fool of me! If only I had a sword in my hand, I would kill you right now."
Treasury of Scripture

And the LORD opened the mouth of the ass, and she said to Balaam, What have I done to you, that you have smitten me these three times?

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 …

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 …

2 Peter 2:16 But was rebuked for his iniquity: the dumb donkey speaking with man's …

what have I

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

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