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English Bible Dictionary

Ass

 

Five Hebrew names of the genus Asinus occur in the Old Testament.

  • Chamor denotes the male domestic ass.

  • Athon, the common domestic she-ass.

  • Air, the name of a wild ass, which occurs (Genesis 32:15; 49:11)

  • Pere, a species of wild ass mentioned (Genesis 12:16)

  • Arod occurs only in (Job 39:5) but in what respect it differs from the Pere is uncertain. The ass in eastern countries is a very different animal from what he is in western Europe. The most noble and honorable amongst the Jews were wont to be mounted on asses. (With us the ass is a symbol of stubbornness and stupidity, while in the East it is especially remarkable for its patience, gentleness, intelligence, meek submission and great power of endurance."--L. Abbott. The color is usually a reddish brown, but there are white asses, which are much prized, and you can find more about that here on st-takla.org on other commentaries and dictionary entries.The ass was the animal of peace as the horse was the animal of war; hence the appropriateness of Christ in his triumphal entry riding on an ass. The wild ass is a beautiful animal: ED.) Mr. Lavard remarks that in fleetness the wild ass (Asinus hemippus) equals the gazelle and to overtake it is a feat which only one or two of the most celebrated mares have been known to accomplish.

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