Frequently mentioned throughout Scripture. Of the domesticated species we read of,
The she ass (Heb. 'athon), so named from its slowness (Genesis 12:16; 45:23; Numbers 22:23; 1 Samuel 9:3).
The male ass (Heb. hamor), the common working ass of Western Asia, so called from its red colour. Issachar is compared to a strong ass (Genesis 49:14). It was forbidden to yoke together an ass and an ox in the plough (Deuteronomy 22:10).
The ass's colt (Heb. 'air), mentioned Judges 10:4; 12:14. It is rendered "foal" in Genesis 32:15; 49:11. (Compare Job 11:12; Isaiah 30:6.) The ass is an unclean animal, because it does not chew the cud (Leviticus 11:26. Compare 2 Kings 6:25). 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), etc. (Zechariah 9:9) predicted our Lord's triumphal entrance into Jerusalem, "riding upon an ass, and upon a colt," etc. (Matthew 21:5, RSV).
Of wild asses two species are noticed, (1) that called in Hebrew
, Mentioned Job 39:5 and Daniel 5:21, noted for its swiftness; and (2) that called
, The wild ass of Asia (Job 39:6-8; 6:5; 11:12; Isaiah 32:14; Jeremiah 2:24; 14:6, etc.). The wild ass was distinguished for its fleetness and its extreme shyness. In allusion to his mode of life, Ishmael is likened to a wild ass (Genesis 16:12. Here the word is simply rendered "wild" in the Authorized Version, but in the Revised Version, "wild-ass among men").
These dictionary topics are from M.G. Easton M.A., D.D., Illustrated Bible Dictionary, Third Edition, published by Thomas Nelson, 1897. Public Domain, copy freely.
Easton, Matthew George. "Entry for 'Ass'". "Easton's Bible Dictionary".