The donkey spoke to Balaam (2 Pet 2:16)

“Balaam

Was rebuked

For his own transgressions.

A speechless donkey

Spoke

With a human voice

And restrained

The prophet’s madness.”

ἔλεγξιν δὲ ἔσχεν ἰδίας παρανομίας· ὑποζύγιον ἄφωνον ἐν ἀνθρώπου φωνῇ φθεγξάμενον ἐκώλυσεν τὴν τοῦ προφήτου παραφρονίαν.

This author said, “Balaam was rebuked (ἔλεγξιν) for his own transgressions (δὲ ἔσχεν ἰδίας παρανομίας).  A speechless donkey (ὑποζύγιον ἄφωνον) spoke (φθεγξάμενον) with a human voice (ἐν ἀνθρώπου φωνῇ) and restrained (ἐκώλυσεν) the prophet’s (τὴν τοῦ προφήτου) madness (παραφρονίαν).”  Among the canonical Greek New Testament writings, this is the only time that these words appear in 2 Peter, the word ἔλεγξιν, that means reproof, rebuke, or refute, and the word παρανομίας, that means lawbreaking, transgression, or violation of the law, as well as the word παραφρονίαν, that means madness or folly.  This author indicated that God spoke to Balaam through a donkey speaking with a human voice.  This changed the mind of the Babylonian Balaam and he listed to God.  This is the story in Numbers, chapter 22:21-35.  God was angry because Balaam was going to see Balak, the King of Moab.  The donkey saw the angel of God standing in the road, with a drawn sword in his hand.  The donkey turned off the road, and went into a field.  However, Balaam struck the donkey.  Next the angel of God stood in a narrow path between the vineyards, with a wall on either side.  Then the donkey scraped Balaam’s foot against the wall.  Balaam struck the donkey again.  Then the angel of God went ahead, and stood in a narrow place, where there was no way to turn either to the right or to the left.  When the donkey saw the angel of God, it lay down under Balaam.  Balaam was angry.  He struck the donkey a third time.  Then God opened the mouth of the donkey.  The donkey spoke to Balaam, ‘What have I done to you that you have struck me these three times?’  Balaam spoke back to the donkey, saying that the donkey had made a fool of him.  He wanted to kill the donkey.  Then God opened the eyes of Balaam.  He finally saw the angel of God standing in the road, with his drawn sword in his hand.  Balaam bowed down, falling on his face.  Then Balaam admitted that he had sinned.  He had not seen the angel of God.  He was willing to go home, but the angel of God told him to speak only when God told him to speak.  This author used this story of a donkey helping God.  What do you know about Balaam and the talking donkey?

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