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.