Numbers 22:27
And when the ass saw the angel of the LORD, she fell down under Balaam: and Balaam's anger was kindled, and he smote the ass with a staff.
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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.A city of Moab - Or, Ir-Moab, probably the same with Ar-Moab Numbers 21:15. As Balaam in his journey would avoid the districts occupied by the Israelites, he must have approached this city from the east, by the course of the Nahaliel; and in the name Balu'a, still borne by one of the upper branches of this stream, there is perhaps a reminiscence of the name of the prophet. 24. the angel of the Lord stood in a path of the vineyards—The roads which lead through fields and vineyards are so narrow that in most parts a man could not pass a beast without care and caution. A stone or mud fence flanks each side of these roads, to prevent the soil being washed off by the rains. No text from Poole on this verse.

And when the ass saw the angel of the Lord,.... The third time; for it seems that he was not always in sight, but disappeared as he removed from place to place, and at every new place where he stood the ass saw him, though her master did not:

she fell down under Balaam; upon her knees on the ground, not being able to go backwards nor forwards, nor to turn out of the way to the right or left:

and Balaam's anger was kindled; he was displeased and out of humour before, when it turned into the field, and when it squeezed his foot against the wall, and therefore he smote it; but now falling down with him, he was in a fume and fury, quite enraged:

and he smote the ass with a staff; which he rode with, perhaps his divining staff, see Hosea 4:12, it is not said what he smote it with before but probably with the same: Aben Ezra says, at the first and second time he smote it with a small stick, or with a thong.

And when the ass saw the angel of the LORD, she fell down under Balaam: and Balaam's anger was kindled, and he smote the ass with a staff.
Numbers 22:27The angel moved still farther, and stationed himself in front of him, in so narrow a pass, that there was no room to move either to the right or to the left. As the ass could neither turn aside nor go past this time, she threw herself. down. Balaam was still more enraged at this, and smote her with the stick (בּמקּל, which he carried; see Genesis 38:18).
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