The ass (or donkey) is an animal frequently mentioned throughout Scripture. The name donkey did not enter the vocabulary until the late 1700s. This is a domesticated member of the horse family. Its current scientific name is Equus africanus asinus.
Of the domesticated species we read of…
The male donkey (a jack) is called in Hebrew Hamor.
Asses constituted a considerable portion of wealth in ancient times (Genesis 12:16; 30:43; 1 Chronicles 27:30; Job 1:3; 42:12). They were noted for their spirit and their attachment to their master (Isaiah 1:3).
They are frequently spoken of as having been ridden upon, as by…
- Abraham (Genesis 22:3)
- Balaam (Numbers 22:21)
- the disobedient prophet (1 Kings 13:23)
- the family of Abdon the judge, seventy in number (Judges 12:14)
- Zipporah (Exodus 4:20)
- the Shunammite (1 Samuel 25:30)
Of wild donkeys, two species are noted in the Bible:
The wild donkey was distinguished for its fleetness and its extreme shyness. In allusion to his mode of life, Ishmael is likened to a wild donkey (Genesis 16:12. Here the word is simply rendered “wild” in the King James Version, but in the Revised King James Version, “wild-ass among men”).