Numbers 22:31

Hebrew Bible

29 And Balaam said to the donkey, “You have made me look stupid; I wish there were a sword in my hand, for I would kill you right now.” 30 The donkey said to Balaam, “Am I not your donkey that you have ridden ever since I was yours until this day? Have I ever attempted to treat you this way?” And he said, “No.” 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. 32 The angel of the Lord said to him, “Why have you beaten your donkey these three times? Look, I came out to oppose you because what you are doing is perverse before me. 33 The donkey saw me and turned from me these three times. If she had not turned from me, I would have killed you but saved her alive.”

1 Chronicles 21:16

Hebrew Bible

14 So the Lord sent a plague through Israel, and 70,000 Israelite men died. 15 God sent an angel to ravage Jerusalem. As he was doing so, the Lord watched and relented from his judgment. He told the angel who was destroying, “That’s enough! Stop now!” Now the angel of the Lord was standing near the threshing floor of Ornan the Jebusite. 16 David looked up and saw the angel of the Lord standing between the earth and sky with his sword drawn and in his hand, stretched out over Jerusalem. David and the leaders, covered with sackcloth, threw themselves down with their faces to the ground. 17 David said to God, “Was I not the one who decided to number the army? I am the one who sinned and committed this awful deed! As for these sheep—what have they done? O Lord my God, attack me and my family, but remove the plague from your people!” 18 So the angel of the Lord told Gad to instruct David to go up and build an altar for the Lord on the threshing floor of Ornan the Jebusite.

 Notes and References

"... One scholar who focuses on imagery present in Joshua’s encounter is Römer: following the lead of Keel, he suggests the Commander of Yahweh’s host gave Joshua the sword held in his hand. Römer understands Joshua 5:13–15 as a paradigmatic scene of legitimization and preparation for divine warfare. Nelson instead views the drawn sword as a demonstration of Jericho’s impending doom: “The appearance of the Divine Warrior’s commanding officer brandishing a sword signifies that battle is impending and that Yahweh’s heavenly army has been mobilized.” The perspective that the sword is a symbol of coming destruction has value both in suggesting the Commander’s mission and for interpretation of other passages which contain sword-wielding angels (Numbers 22:23, 31; 1 Chronicles 21:16). Joshua’s reverence is a sign of ritual cleansing and presenting himself in an acceptable manner before Yahweh and the Commander Earl emphasizes the need for Israel to be on God’s side as Yahweh will be faithful to those who are faithful to him ..."

Pass, Benjamin A. The Commander of Yahweh’s Host (Josh 5:13–15): Angels as Executors of God’s Judgement and War (pp. 32-33) Kingswood University, 2018

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