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Balaam And The Talking Donkey


MOW
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I was going to put this on the thread about taking the Bible literally but I changed my mind.

 

This is about the story in the Book of Numbers where Balaam sets out on a journey. He's sent by the king of the Moabites to curse the Isrealites to drive them from Moabite land. That part of the story I'm not interested in, Its the talking donkey story that I want to discuss.

 

As Balaam is riding on his donkey an angel with a sword blocks his path. The donkey can see the angel but Balaam cannot. Two times the donkey runs away from the angel and Balaam beats the donkey. Finally the donkey simply lays down and Balaam strikes the animal again. At this point God causes the donkey to speak. "why did you beat me three times" Balaam replies "because you've made a fool of me." The donkey replies "haven't I served you all your life. Have you ever known me to act this way" At this point God allows Balaam to see the angel with the sword. Balaam of course falls down on his face in fear. The angel than asks Balaam " why have you struck your donkey three times?" The donkey saw me and turned away three times." If she had not I would have killed you and let her live."

 

Now I don't take this story literally. If it had been a horse ,instead if a donkey, it might conjure up images of Mister Ed. I think the story tells us how God can"speak" to us through the animals. On the Commondreams website ,there is an article about how some bears have stopped hibernating because of global warming.

 

Jesus would often use animals in his sayings.

 

MOW

Edited by MOW
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  • 3 weeks later...
I always loved that story. I can see her saying "Why are you beatin' me? Haven't I always been a good ass and not a bad ass?"

 

I think it's one of the funniest stories in the OT, although preachers don't use it as a sermon text much anymore.

 

One Sunday school teacher that I had said" the funny thing is, Balaam ,was so mad , that not only did he not see the angel, he didn't realize that he was talking to a donkey."

 

It's also interesting that in the mythology of angels, the ones in the OT are generally warlike , and the ones in the NT are gentler. The book of Revelations being an exeption.

 

 

MOW

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