HAVE you ever heard of a donkey’s talking? ‘No,’ you may say. ‘Animals can’t talk.’ But the Bible tells about a donkey that did. Let’s see how it happened.
The Israelites are almost ready to go into the land of Caʹnaan. Baʹlak, the king of Moʹab, is afraid of the Israelites. So he sends for a smart man named Baʹlaam to come to curse the Israelites. Baʹlak promises to give Baʹlaam a lot of money, so Baʹlaam gets on his donkey and starts on his way to see Baʹlak.
Jehovah does not want Baʹlaam to curse His people. So he sends an angel with a long sword to stand in the road to stop Baʹlaam. Baʹlaam can’t see the angel, but his donkey does. So the donkey keeps trying to turn away from the angel, and finally just lies down on the road. Baʹlaam is very angry, and beats his donkey with a stick.
Then Jehovah causes Baʹlaam to hear his donkey speak to him. ‘What have I done to you so that you should beat me?’ asks the donkey.
‘You have made me look like a fool,’ Baʹlaam says. ‘If I had a sword I would kill you!’
‘Have I ever treated you like this before?’ the donkey asks.
‘No,’ Baʹlaam answers.
Then Jehovah lets Baʹlaam see the angel with the sword standing on the road. The angel says: ‘Why have you beaten your donkey? I have come to block your way, because you should not be going to curse Israel. If your donkey had not turned away from me, I would have struck you dead, but I would not have hurt your donkey.’
Baʹlaam says: ‘I have sinned. I did not know that you were standing on the road.’ The angel lets Baʹlaam go, and Baʹlaam goes on to see Baʹlak. He still tries to curse Israel, but, instead, Jehovah makes him bless Israel three times.