Daily Archives: February 15, 2012

Those who ride white female donkeys

Deborah was a prophetess who judged Israel (Judges 4:4). In the Song of Deborah, the prophetess describes the conditions in the country before she arrived on the scene.

Caravans had ceased. Travelers kept to the side roads. There were no warriors in Israel till Deborah arose. She describes herself “as a mother in Israel” (Judges 5:7). She cared for and nurtured the nation just as a mother cares for and nurtures her own child. Under her leadership warriors arose and conditions improved.

6 “In the days of Shamgar son of Anath,
in the days of Jael, the caravans had ceased,
the travelers, they kept to the byways.
7 The warriors ceased;
they failed to appear in Israel;
until I, Deborah, arose;
I arose as a mother in Israel.
8 God chose new leaders,
then war was at the gates;
a small shield for a spear was not seen
among forty thousand in Israel.
9 My heart goes out to the commanders of Israel,
those offering themselves willingly among the people;
bless Yahweh!
10 The riders of white female donkeys,
those sitting on saddle blankets,
and those going on the way, talk about it!
11 At the sound of those dividing the sheep
among the watering places,
there they will recount the righteous deeds of Yahweh,
the righteous deeds for his warriors in Israel.
Then the people of Yahweh went down to the gates.
12 “Wake up, wake up, Deborah!
Wake up, wake up, sing a song!
Get up, Barak!
Take captive your captives, O son of Abinoam.  (Judges 5:6-12, The Lexham English Bible)

Verse 10 caught my attention. Deborah mentioned the riders of “white female donkeys” who sat on saddle blankets. I take it that these were the more well to do individuals.

Donkey and colt at Nazareth Village. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Donkey and colt at Nazareth Village. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

The Hebrew word used for white is defined in several lexicons as “tawny.” The donkey being described by Deborah might look more like the one below.

Donkey near Nebi Samwil and Gibeon. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Donkey between Nebi Samwil and Gibeon. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.