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2 Peter 2:16

ESV but was rebuked for his own transgression; a speechless donkey spoke with human voice and restrained the prophet’s madness.
NIV But he was rebuked for his wrongdoing by a donkey--an animal without speech--who spoke with a human voice and restrained the prophet's madness.
NASB but he received a rebuke for his own offense, for a mute donkey, speaking with a human voice, restrained the insanity of the prophet.
CSB but received a rebuke for his lawlessness: A speechless donkey spoke with a human voice and restrained the prophet's madness.
NLT But Balaam was stopped from his mad course when his donkey rebuked him with a human voice.
KJV But was rebuked for his iniquity: the dumb ass speaking with man's voice forbad the madness of the prophet.

What does 2 Peter 2:16 mean?

Peter continues to compare false teachers among the Christians of the early church to the Old Testament prophet Balaam, mentioned in verse 15.

In verse 16, Peter refers to the story for which Balaam is most commonly known: the talking donkey. This incident is recorded in Numbers 22:22–35. Balaam was riding to a meeting with Israel's enemy, against the will of God. The donkey he was riding on saw what Balaam did not: the angel of the Lord, on the path ahead, with a drawn sword and ready to strike. Very reasonably, the donkey refused to go forward, no matter how vehemently Balaam beat her. After several stops and beatings, the Lord granted the donkey speech. She promptly protested about the beatings. Only this shock rattled Balaam enough to see the angel.

Peter is making the case that the false teachers in the church are just like Balaam was in that story. They cannot see what would be obvious to even a barnyard animal: God's judgment is waiting on their path.
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