"Then Balak offered oxen and sheep, and he sent some to Balaam and to the princes who were with him."
Balaam had princes with him when he rode his donkey and it talked to him. I had always assumed he was alone, missing verse 40. Did they hear the donkey speak, too? Were they like the men with Saul on the Damascus road? "the men who journeyed with him stood speechless, hearing a voice but seeing no one" (Acts 9:7).
It only makes sense. Balaam is sought after by princes and kings. Of course he has servants in that day. So this altercation is very public. They see Balaam abusing his donkey, and his wavering between resolving to speak only what God says (Numbers 22:18), accepting bribes (22:32), and advising Balak to tempt Israel in other ways (Numbers 25:1-2; Revelation 2:14). They see their boss constrained by God, uniquely taught by Him. Yet they also see Balaam working against Him in the end, enticing the very people he blessed to sin.
What a chump.
But out of the mouth of this donkey comes God's view of His people:
- no sin observed in them (23:21)
- God is with them (23:21)
- they are beautiful and lovely (24:5-6)
- they will spread out and multiply (24:7)
- a King shall arise from them (24:17)