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Numbers 22:23

23 When the donkey saw the angel of the LORD standing in the road with a drawn sword in his hand, it turned off the road into a field. Balaam beat it to get it back on the road.

Read Numbers 22:23 Using Other Translations

And the ass saw the angel of the LORD standing in the way, and his sword drawn in his hand: and the ass turned aside out of the way, and went into the field: and Balaam smote the ass, to turn her into the way.
And the donkey saw the angel of the LORD standing in the road, with a drawn sword in his hand. And the donkey turned aside out of the road and went into the field. And Balaam struck the donkey, to turn her into the road.
Balaam’s donkey saw the angel of the LORD standing in the road with a drawn sword in his hand. The donkey bolted off the road into a field, but Balaam beat it and turned it back onto the road.

What does Numbers 22:23 mean?

John Gill's Exposition of the Bible
Numbers 22:23

And the ass saw the angel of the Lord standing in the way,
&c.] Which Balaam did not; his eyes being held from seeing him by the power and providence of God, that he might be reproved and rebuked by his ass, to whom God gave power to see, more than to him, as Jarchi notes, so that he had little reason to boast of his visions and revelations, and that he was the man whose eyes were open: the angel stood in the very pathway on which the ass was carrying Balaam: and his sword drawn in his hand; as threatening to destroy him, and as if he was just about to push at him, and signifying hereby not only that he deserved to die, but what death he should die of, namely, by the sword, as he did, ( Numbers 31:8 ) ( 1 Chronicles 21:16 )

and the ass turned aside out of the way;
out of the common road, to save its master and itself, from a natural principle of self-preservation: and went into the field; adjoining to, and that lay along the road side:

and Balaam smote the ass to turn her into the way;
with his staff, as in ( Numbers 22:27 ) to bring her into the common road again.

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