2 Peter 2:16
Parallel Verses
New American Standard Bible
but he received a rebuke for his own transgression, for a mute donkey, speaking with a voice of a man, restrained the madness of the prophet.

King James Bible
But was rebuked for his iniquity: the dumb ass speaking with man's voice forbad the madness of the prophet.

Darby Bible Translation
but had reproof of his own wickedness the dumb ass speaking with man's voice forbad the folly of the prophet.

World English Bible
but he was rebuked for his own disobedience. A mute donkey spoke with a man's voice and stopped the madness of the prophet.

Young's Literal Translation
and had a rebuke of his own iniquity -- a dumb ass, in man's voice having spoken, did forbid the madness of the prophet.

2 Peter 2:16 Parallel
Barnes' Notes on the Bible

But was rebuked for his iniquity - The object of Peter in this seems to be to show that God employed the very extraordinary means of causing the ass on which he rode to speak, because his iniquity was so monstrous. The guilt of thus debasing his high office, and going forth to curse the people of God - a people who had done him no wrong, and given no occasion for his malediction - was so extraordinary, that means as extraordinary were proper to express it. If God employed means so extraordinary to rebuke "his" depravity, it was to be expected that in some appropriate way he would express his sense of the wickedness of those who resembled him.

The dumb ass, speaking with man's voice - Numbers 22:28. God seems to have designed that both Balsam and Balak should be convinced that the children of Israel were his people; and so important was it that this conviction should rest fully on the minds of the rations through whom they passed, that he would not suffer even a pretended prophet to make use of his influence to curse them. He designed that all that influence should be in favor of the cause of truth, thus furnishing a striking instance of the use which he often makes of wicked men. To convince Balaam of the error of his course, and to make him sensible that God was an observer of his conduct, and to induce him to utter only what he should direct, nothing would be better suited than this miracle. The very animal upon which he rode, mute and naturally stupid, was made to utter a reproof; a reproof as directly from heaven as though the stones had cried out beneath his feet, or the trees of the wood had uttered the language of remonstrance. As to the nature of the miracle here referred to, it may be remarked:

(1) that it was as easy for God to perform this miracle as any other; and,

(2) that it was a miracle that would be as likely to be effectual, and to answer the purpose, as any other.

No one can show that it could not have occurred; and the occasion was one in which some decided rebuke, in language beyond that of conscience, was necessary.

Forbade the madness of the prophet - That is, the mad or perverse design of the prophet. The word here rendered "madness" means, properly, being aside from a right mind. It is not found elsewhere in the New Testament. It is used here to denote that Balaam was engaged in an enterprise which indicated a headstrong disposition; an acting contrary to reason and sober sense. He was so under the influence of avarice and ambition that his sober sense was blinded, and he acted like a madman. He knew indeed what was right, and had professed a purpose to do what was right, but he did not allow that to control him; but, for the sake of gain, went against his own sober conviction, and against what he knew to be the will of God. He was so mad or infatuated that he allowed neither reason, nor conscience, nor the will of God, to control him!

2 Peter 2:16 Parallel Commentaries

How those are to be Admonished who Abstain not from the Sins which they Bewail, and those Who, Abstaining from Them, Bewail them Not.
(Admonition 31.) Differently to be admonished are those who lament their transgressions, and yet forsake them not, and those who forsake them, and yet lament them not. For those who lament their transgressions and yet forsake them not are to be admonished to learn to consider anxiously that they cleanse themselves in vain by their weeping, if they wickedly defile themselves in their living, seeing that the end for which they wash themselves in tears is that, when clean, they may return to filth.
Leo the Great—Writings of Leo the Great

Of Councils and their Authority.
1. The true nature of Councils. 2. Whence the authority of Councils is derived. What meant by assembling in the name of Christ. 3. Objection, that no truth remains in the Church if it be not in Pastors and Councils. Answer, showing by passages from the Old Testament that Pastors were often devoid of the spirit of knowledge and truth. 4. Passages from the New Testament showing that our times were to be subject to the same evil. This confirmed by the example of almost all ages. 5. All not Pastors who
John Calvin—The Institutes of the Christian Religion

"Without faith it is impossible to please God."--Heb. xi. 6. In order to prevent the possibility of being led into paths of error, faith is directed, not to a Christ of the imagination, but to "the Christ in the garments of the Sacred Scripture," as Calvin expresses it. And therefore we must discriminate between (1) faith as a faculty implanted in the soul without our knowledge; (2) faith as a power whereby this implanted faculty begins to act; and (3) faith as a result,--since with this faith (1)
Abraham Kuyper—The Work of the Holy Spirit

How those are to be Admonished who do not Even Begin Good Things, and those who do not Finish them when Begun.
(Admonition 35.) Differently to be admonished are they who do not even begin good things, and those who in no wise complete such as they have begun. For as to those who do not even begin good things, for them the first need is, not to build up what they may wholesomely love, but to demolish that wherein they are wrongly occupied. For they will not follow the untried things they hear of, unless they first come to feel how pernicious are the things that they have tried; since neither does one desire
Leo the Great—Writings of Leo the Great

Cross References
Numbers 22:21
So Balaam arose in the morning, and saddled his donkey and went with the leaders of Moab.

Numbers 22:23
When the donkey saw the angel of the LORD standing in the way with his drawn sword in his hand, the donkey turned off from the way and went into the field; but Balaam struck the donkey to turn her back into the way.

Numbers 22:28
And the LORD opened the mouth of the donkey, and she said to Balaam, "What have I done to you, that you have struck me these three times?"

Psalm 39:11
"With reproofs You chasten a man for iniquity; You consume as a moth what is precious to him; Surely every man is a mere breath. Selah.

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