KJV Numbers 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.
The Message: Numbers 22:30 The donkey said to Balaam, “Am I not your trusty donkey on whom you’ve ridden for years right up until now? Have I ever done anything like this to you before? Have I?” He said, “No.”
What a pompous ass! Balaam was God's man. And look at the tone and questioning of God's man by a lowly ass. Who does this ass think he is? Balaam doesn't have to answer to an ass, amen! And why does the ass ask him questions instead of just respectfully saying in a hushed, whispering voice of admiration "Doctor pastor, man of God, I'm your trusty ass you've ridden for years and I've never done anything like this to you before." Why ask a series of questions except to be disrespectful? Or maybe he is familiar with, and prefers, the Socratic method of teaching. (Socrates lived from 470 - 399 BCE, which is the same time frame this story was written, so it's possible.) And that second question: "Have I?" I can almost picture this donkey jerking the glasses from his face and stomping while asking the second time after a dramatic pause: "WELL, HAVE I?" To me, there is no doubt this talking donkey was indeed a pompous ass, literally.
Of course, the donkey had more to say earlier in the sacred text: Verse 28 states: Then God gave speech to the donkey. She said to Balaam: “What have I ever done to you that you have beat me these three times?” 29 Balaam said, “Because you’ve been playing games with me! If I had a sword I would have killed you by now.” Even donkeys know you don't "play games" with God's man or you could be killed. What arrogance by Balaam. What anger. What disrespect for the faithful donkey. "I would have killed you by now." It looks like there are TWO pompous asses in this story.
|Wilford Brimley plays a pompous ass in The China Syndrome|
"... like those who dine well off the plainest dishes, he (Aesop) made use of humble incidents to teach great truths, and after serving up a story he adds to it the advice to do a thing or not to do it. Then, too, he was really more attached to truth than the poets are; for the latter do violence to their own stories in order to make them probable; but he by announcing a story which everyone knows not to be true, told the truth by the very fact that he did not claim to be relating real events."
—Philostratus, Life of Apollonius of Tyana, Book V:14
Might this story have been just a fable used by God to make some good points? Who really cares, right? Unfortunately, many modern day fundamentalists care deeply. So deeply in fact, that if you don't believe this story, you cannot trust in Jesus Christ for salvation. Why? Because the same book that tells of Christ, also tells us of this talking donkey. They say you can't pick and choose. They say if you find parts that are not true, then you can't trust the rest of it either. They will say, why do you trust and believe in John 3:15, but not in Numbers 22:30. So they paint themselves, and their faith, into a corner and force otherwise good Christian people to decide: "Do I believe in talking donkeys or not? No. So I guess there is no salvation for me. I'm done with religion."
But before you simply say this is a waste of time, who cares about whether the donkey talked or not, you need to see also 2 Peter 2:15 and 16 which says: "Forsaking the right way, they have gone astray. They have followed the way of Balaam, the son of Beor, who loved gain from wrongdoing, 16 but was rebuked for his own transgression; a speechless donkey spoke with human voice and restrained the prophet’s madness." So there you have it. It's not just an Old Testament story. Peter says it happened. You can't ignore his teachings.
So am I "attacking" the Holy Bible? Not at all. I'm just pointing out that religious fanatics who demand that other believers have to agree with their narrow doctrines and theological views are hurting the cause of Christ and in many cases, are hurting their own families and their own ministries. I'll say it again. It is NOT necessary or essential to believe all the Bible in order to believe its overall message of redemption through Christ. You don't have to believe all of it or none of it. It does not have to be perfect and inerrant. We know that it is not. So that type of insistence on these matters of "religion" will drive more and more people away. And more importantly, it makes those people sitting in the pews open to any kind of manipulation and exploitation. And it causes division amongst the brethren and amongst families, and in marriages and in relationships.
Thankfully, most Christians don't really believe this nonsense anyway. Love Jesus. Learn from Him. You can learn alot from his life and ministry that will help you in your life, career and family. Serve Him. Tell others about Him. Love. Laugh. And leave the talking donkeys and the tower of Babel to the seminarians and theologians to get all tore up about. Don't turn your back on Christ because of a corrupt church and angry fanatical Christians. The church can't save you. Religion can't save you. The Bible can't save you. Only Jesus.