A quick Bible study

Today’s Friday Bible study comes from Numbers 22:27-28.

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. 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?

What we learn from this passage is that sometimes even God talks out His ass.




  1. davidct says

    Once again there seems to be a problem with the translation “ass” should be properly translated as “dumb-ass”.

  2. noahsarkive says

    This little story is derived from The Book of Balaam (oh, wouldn’t it be great to have the whole thing).

    Balaam is, apparently, a necromancer of some renown. He is sent to curse the Israelites, but winds up blessing them. This tale is all about magic: making animals appear to talk was a common religious trick at the time. But god turns the tables on Balaam the Magician with his own talking ass trick!

    I always thought this story hysterically funny. I ran that idea past a rabbi some many years ago. He was of the opinion that there was no such thing as humor in the Books of Moses. Sad.

      • noahsarkive says

        Well, not every verse is a masterpiece!

        I find it instructive to look at the Old Testament (I’m not familiar with the New) as ancient audiences would.

        From that perspective, Balaam’s talking mule actually adds a bit verisimilitude. It’s not meant to portray a miraculous event, but rather a commonly understood, though supernatural, phenomenon. And, of course, to demonstrate that god’s magic was more powerful than Balaam’s.

        BTW, love your blog.

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