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Numbers 22:27-31

Context
22:27 When the donkey saw the angel of the Lord, she crouched down under Balaam. Then Balaam was angry, and he beat his donkey with a staff.

22:28 Then the Lord opened the mouth of the donkey, and she said to Balaam, “What have I done to you that you have beaten me these three times?” 22:29 And Balaam said to the donkey, “You have made me look stupid; I wish 1  there were a sword in my hand, for I would kill you right now.” 22:30 The donkey said to Balaam, “Am not I your donkey that you have ridden ever since I was yours until this day? Have I ever attempted 2  to treat you this way?” 3  And he said, “No.” 22:31 Then the Lord opened Balaam’s eyes, and he saw the angel of the Lord standing in the way with his sword drawn in his hand; so he bowed his head and threw himself down with his face to the ground. 4 

1 tn The optative clause is introduced with the particle לוּ (lu).

2 tn Here the Hiphil perfect is preceded by the Hiphil infinitive absolute for emphasis in the sentence.

3 tn Heb “to do thus to you.”

4 tn The Hishtaphel verb חָוָה (khavah) – שָׁחָה (shakhah) with metathesis – has a basic idea of “bow oneself low to the ground,” and perhaps in some cases the idea of “coil up.” This is the normal posture of prayer and of deep humility in the ancient religious world.



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