Numbers 22:28

28 Then the LORD 1opened the mouth of the donkey, and she said to Balaam, "What have I done to you, that you have struck me these three times?"

Numbers 22:28 Meaning and Commentary

Numbers 22:28

And the Lord opened the mouth of the ass, and she said unto
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 F9, 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 F12 represents Xanthus, the horse of Achilles, having the faculty of speech given it by Juno: Pliny says F13, it is commonly reported among the wonderful things of the ancients, that an ox spoke; and Livy F14 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 F15 and others; nor of the ram of Phrixus, or the dog at Ariminum, and the elephant of Porus in India, with others Bochart F16 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
and just so many times she had been smitten by him, ( Numbers 22:23-27 ) .


F9 Maimon. Moreh Nevochim, par. 2. c. 42. Ben Gersom in loc.
F11 Hygin. Poet. Astronomic. l. 2. c. 23. "Lactant, de falsa Relig". l. 1. c. 21.
F12 Iliad. 19. "prope finem".
F13 Nat. Hist. l. 8. c. 45.
F14 Hist. l. 24. c. 10. l. 27. c. 11. l. 28. c. 11. and l. 35. c. 21.
F15 De Animal. l. 12. c. 3.
F16 Hierozoic. par. 1. l. 2. c. 14. col. 197, 198.

Numbers 22:28 In-Context

26 Then the angel of the LORD went ahead and stood in a narrow place, where there was no way to turn either to the right or to the left.
27 When the donkey saw the angel of the LORD, she lay down under Balaam. And Balaam's anger was kindled, and he struck the donkey with his staff.
28 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?"
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."
30 And the donkey said to Balaam, "Am I not your donkey, on which you have ridden all your life long to this day? Is it my habit to treat you this way?" And he said, "No."

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