And the ass saw me, and turned from me these three times
The ass saw the angel when Balaam did not, and that was the reason of its turning aside; and it was well for him it did, and therefore he should not have smote it:
unless she had turned from me;
if she had pushed on, endeavouring to make her way:
surely now also I had slain thee, and saved her alive;
had certainly and only slain him, and not the ass; and from hence the Jewish writers
F20 gather, that the ass was now slain, lest it should be said, this is the ass that spoke, and so be made an idol of.
F20 Bemidbar Rabba, sect. 20. fol. 227. 4. Aben Ezra in loc.