2 Peter 2:16
But was rebuked for his iniquity: the dumb ass speaking with man's voice forbad the madness of the prophet.
a. NLT: But Balaam was stopped from his mad course when his donkey rebuked him with a human voice. [Scripture quotations marked (NLT) are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2007. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.]
b. ASV: But he was rebuked for his own transgression: a dumb ass spake with man’s voice and stayed the madness of the prophet.[Thomas Nelson & Sons first published the American Standard Version in 1901. This translation of the Bible is in the public domain.]
c. YLT: And had a rebuke of his own iniquity -- a dumb ass, in man's voice having spoken, did forbid the madness of the prophet. [The Young's Literal Translation was translated by Robert Young, who believed in a strictly literal translation of God's word. This version of the Bible is in the public domain.]
d. Classic Amplified: But he was rebuked for his own transgression when a dumb beast of burden spoke with human voice and checked the prophet’s madness. [Amplified Bible, Classic Edition (AMPC) Copyright © 1954, 1958, 1962, 1964, 1965, 1987 by The Lockman Foundation]
1. “But was rebuked for his iniquity…”
a. But [Strong: 1161. de deh a primary particle (adversative or continuative); but, and, etc.:--also, and, but, moreover, now (often unexpressed in English).]
b. was [Strong: 2192. echo ekh'-o, including an alternate form scheo skheh'-o; (used in certain tenses only) a primary verb; to hold (used in very various applications, literally or figuratively, direct or remote; such as possession; ability, contiuity, relation, or condition):--be (able, X hold, possessed with), accompany, + begin to amend, can(+ -not), X conceive, count, diseased, do + eat, + enjoy, + fear, following, have, hold, keep, + lack, + go to law, lie, + must needs, + of necessity, + need, next, + recover, + reign, + rest, + return, X sick, take for, + tremble, + uncircumcised, use.]
c. rebuked [Strong: 1649. elegxis el'-eng-xis from 1651; refutation, i.e. reproof:--rebuke.] [Thayer: refutation, rebuke.]
d. [for] his [Strong: 2398. idios id'-ee-os of uncertain affinity; pertaining to self, i.e. one's own; by implication, private or separate:--X his acquaintance, when they were alone, apart, aside, due, his (own, proper, several), home, (her, our, thine, your) own (business), private(-ly), proper, severally, their (own).]
e. iniquity [Strong: 3892. paranomia par-an-om-ee'-ah from the same as 3891; transgression: iniquity.] [Thayer: breach of law, transgression, wickedness.]
1). Balaam was rebuked for his sin. The source for it though is astonishing, coming from an animal.
2. “…the dumb ass speaking with man's voice forbad the madness of the prophet.”
a. [the] dumb [Strong: 880. aphonos af'-o-nos from 1 (as a negative particle) and 5456; voiceless, i.e. mute (by nature or choice); figuratively, unmeaning:--dumb, without signification.]
b. ass [Strong: 5268. hupozugion hoop-od-zoog'-ee-on neuter of a compound of 5259 and 2218; an animal under the yoke (draught-beast), i.e. (specially), a donkey:--ass.]
c. speaking [Strong: 5350. phtheggomai ftheng'-gom-ahee probably akin to 5338 and thus to 5346; to utter a clear sound, i.e. (generally) to proclaim:--speak.]
d. with [Strong: 1722. en en a primary preposition denoting (fixed) position (in place, time or state), and (by implication) instrumentality (medially or constructively), i.e. a relation of rest (intermediate between 1519 and 1537); "in," at, (up-)on, by, etc.:--about, after, against, + almost, X altogether, among, X as, at, before, between, (here-)by (+ all means), for (... sake of), + give self wholly to, (here-)in(-to, -wardly), X mightily, (because) of, (up-)on, (open-)ly, X outwardly, one, X quickly, X shortly, (speedi-)ly, X that, X there(-in, -on), through(-out), (un-)to(-ward), under, when, where(-with), while, with(-in). Often used in compounds, with substantially the same import; rarely with verbs of motion, and then not to indicate direction, except (elliptically) by a separate (and different) preposition.]
e. man’s [Strong: 444. anthropos anth'-ro-pos from 435 and ops (the countenance; from 3700); man-faced, i.e. a human being:--certain, man.]
f. voice [Strong: 5456. phone fo-nay' probably akin to 5316 through the idea of disclosure; a tone (articulate, bestial or artificial); by implication, an address (for any purpose), saying or language:--noise, sound, voice.]
g. forbade [Strong: 2967. koluo ko-loo'-o from the base of 2849; to estop, i.e. prevent (by word or act):--forbid, hinder, keep from, let, not suffer, withstand.]
h. the [Strong: 3588. [ten] ho ho, including the feminine he hay, and the neuter to to in all their inflections; the definite article; the (sometimes to be supplied, at others omitted, in English idiom):--the, this, that, one, he, she, it, etc.] [Thayer: [ten] ὁ, ἡ, τό, originally τος, τῇ, τό (as is evident from the forms τοι, ται for οἱ, αἱ in Homer and the Ionic writings), corresponds to our definite article the (German der, die, das), which is properly a demonstrative pronoun, which we see in its full force in Homer, and of which we find certain indubitable traces also in all kinds of Greek prose, and hence also in the N. T.]
i. madness [Strong: 3913. paraphronia par-af-ron-ee'-ah from 3912; insanity, i.e. foolhardiness:--madness.]
j. [of] the [Strong: 3588. [tou] ho ho, including the feminine he hay, and the neuter to to in all their inflections; the definite article; the (sometimes to be supplied, at others omitted, in English idiom):--the, this, that, one, he, she, it, etc.] [Thayer: [tou] ὁ, ἡ, τό, originally τος, τῇ, τό (as is evident from the forms τοι, ται for οἱ, αἱ in Homer and the Ionic writings), corresponds to our definite article the (German der, die, das), which is properly a demonstrative pronoun, which we see in its full force in Homer, and of which we find certain indubitable traces also in all kinds of Greek prose, and hence also in the N. T.]
k. prophet [Strong: 4396. prophetes prof-ay'-tace from a compound of 4253 and 5346; a foreteller ("prophet"); by analogy, an inspired speaker; by extension, a poet:--prophet.]
1). The Scripture pronounces what Balaam did was insanity. Most people who read the passage miss what happened in verses 20-22. Perhaps the translation they read confuses them or they just don’t see it. The Lord got mad at Balaam because Balaam didn’t wait for the men to call on him. The first thing in the morning he just saddled his ass and went. This is the only explanation for the response from God. If the verses in Numbers 22:20-22 are compared with Numbers 22:35, it is obvious that the only real difference between the two was the condition the LORD stated in verse 20: “If the men come to call thee…” Why would God be mad enough to kill him because he was doing something that God had said he could do? He was mad enough to kill him because he didn’t wait. It was disobedience. The underlying reason Balaam left before the men came was because of greed. Balaam was running “greedily after the… reward.” Hence the Scripture says it was insanity.
a). Numbers 22:15-35 And Balak sent yet again princes, more, and more honourable than they.
22:16 And they came to Balaam, and said to him, Thus saith Balak the son of Zippor, Let nothing, I pray thee, hinder thee from coming unto me:
22:17 For I will promote thee unto very great honour, and I will do whatsoever thou sayest unto me: come therefore, I pray thee, curse me this people.
22:18And Balaam answered and said unto the servants of Balak, If Balak would give me his house full of silver and gold, I cannot go beyond the word of the LORD my God, to do less or more.
22:19 Now therefore, I pray you, tarry ye here this night, that I may know what the LORD will say unto me more.
22:20 And God came unto Balaam at night, and said unto him, IF THE MEN COME TO CALL THEE, RISE UP, AND GO WITH THEM; but yet the word which I shall say unto thee, that shall thou do.
22:21 AND BALAAM ROSE UP IN THE MORNING, AND SADDLED HIS ASS, AND WENT WITH THE PRINCES OF MOAB.
22:22 AND GOD’S ANGER WAS KINDLED BECAUSE HE WENT: and the angel of the LORD stood in the way for an adversary against him. Now he was riding upon his ass, and his two servants were with him.
22:23 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.
22:24 But the angel of the LORD stood in a path of the vineyard, a wall being on this side, and a wall being on that side.
22:25 And when the ass saw the angel of the LORD, she thrust herself unto the wall, and crushed Balaam’s foot against the wall: and he smote her again.
22:26 And the angel of the LORD went further, and stood in a narrow place, where was no way to turn either to the right hand or to the left.
22:27 And when the ass saw the angel of the LORD, she fell down under Balaam: and Balaam’s anger was kindled, and he smote the ass with a staff.
22:28 And the LORD opened the mouth of the ass, and she said unto Balaam, What have I done unto thee, that thou hast smitten me these three times?
22:29 And Balaam said unto the ass, Because thou hast mocked me: I would there were a sword in mine hand, for now would I kill thee.
22:30 And the ass said unto Balaam, Am not I thine ass, upon which thou hast ridden ever since I was thine unto this day? Was I ever wont to do so unto thee? And he said, Nay.
22:31 Then the LORD opened the eyes of Balaam, and he saw the angel of the LORD standing in his way, and his sword drawn in his hand: and he bowed down his head, and fell flat on his face.
22:32 And the angel of the LORD said unto him, Wherefore hast thou smitten thine ass these three times? Behold, I went out to withstand thee, because thy way is perverse before me:
22:33 And thine ass saw me, and turned from me these three times: unless she had turned from, me surely now also I had slain thee, and saved her alive.
22:34 And Balaam said unto the angel of the LORD, I have sinned; for I knew not that thou stoodest in the way against me: not therefore, if it displease thee, I will get me back again.
22:35 And the angel of the LORD said unto Balaam, Go with the men: but only the word that I shall speak unto thee, that thou shalt speak. So Balaam went with the princes of Balak.
2). Institute Of Creation Research Daily Devotional 1/16/14 This tale of a donkey talking has been the object of great ridicule by skeptics. That it is not an allegory or fable, however, but a real historical event was confirmed in the New Testament by the apostle Peter (2 Peter 2:15-16). There is no naturalistic explanation for it, of course, but to insist that the event was impossible is simply to deny the power of God. Such miracles of creation are very rare, however, and there must always be a good reason when God intervenes in the laws which normally govern His creation. One reason in this case, obviously, was to rebuke the prophet Balaam, who was resisting God’s will simply for monetary gain. Balaam’s voice itself would soon also have to be constrained and controlled by God to force him to do God’s will (Numbers 22:38; 23:16, 26; 24:13), blessing Israel instead of pronouncing the curse for which he was to have been paid by the Moabites, who were desperately trying to keep God’s people out of the Promised Land. The Moabites also needed an unforgettable rebuke. They were apostate descendants of Lot, who had known the true God (Numbers 25:1-3), but they were determined to thwart God’s purposes. There may be another, more universal reason: God is concerned about His animal creation, caring even for every sparrow (Matthew 10:29). The animals have been placed under man’s dominion, but they are for his service, his instruction, and his enjoyment—not for his abuse. Thus, Balaam’s ass was providentially allowed by God to rebuke not only Balaam but also anyone who would unnecessarily abuse one of His specially and beautifully designed animal subjects. Most Christians need to be much more sensitive to this concern of God. HMM