Mules and Donkeys in the Bible


When I posted this on Facebook about mules in the Bible…

Origins: The mule is mentioned in mankind’s earliest records. Consider this passage from the Bible: “And Absolom met the servants of David. And Absolom rode upon a mule, and the mule went under the thick boughs of a great oak, and his head caught hold of the oak, and he was taken up between the Heavens and the earth, and the mule that was under him went away.” (II Samuel 18:9). If you choose to ride a mule, you will need a good sense of humor!!!

…we were asked about mules really being in the Bible.  We sent an email to a Rabbi inquiring about the translation of the ancient Hebrew word for “mule” or “pered.” Here is the reply:

“Solomon rode on a mule (1Ki 1:38) because his father David told Zadok, Nathan, and Benaiah to “cause Solomon my son to ride upon mine own mule” (v 33). This is the word for a “she-mule” (BDB, TWOT). Its three Old Testament uses are all in this passage (see v 44), referring to one mule, David’s. Solomon’s riding on David’s mule in company with David’s advisors gave a clear message: he was the successor David had chosen. Years later in secular history, female mules became preferable for riding and males for bearing burdens. That may have been a factor in David’s having this special mule. Second, an observation. David’s sons all rode on (male) mules (2Sa 13:29) and Absalom rode a mule at the end of his life (2Sa 18:9). Since a mule is crossbred between a mare and a male donkey, and since crossbreeding was prohibited in Israel (Lev 19:19), mules were likely imported (TWOT), and were thus more valued. They (along with horses, silver, and gold, etc.) symbolized the wealth that other kings brought to Solomon annually (1Ki 10:25). Third, a suggestion. The greatest reason for David’s choice of a mule rather than a horse may have been God’s prohibition for kings (Deu 17:16): they were not to multiply horses to themselves. David was careful in this. Solomon, to his own destruction, was not (1Ki 10:26, 28).”

  1. Deborah Graham06-23-2018

    Thank you for educating me on the use of mules by King David and his sons. I recently got a donkey and had remembered incorrectly that David rode a donkey. Now I know the truth and have a better understanding of what is written in the Word. God Bless You. Deborah Graham (My Lord’s Arabians)

    • Abdul03-30-2019

      The son of David, our savior rode on a donky.

      • Mark08-12-2022

        David rode a mule as did all his sons.

  2. LOIS MARFO01-24-2019

    My question is , what actually is a mule and why are they having different interpretation when used. Example male for burden and female for other things. Can you please help me out.
    THANK YOU very much.
    God richly bless u for educating me.

    • Meredith02-06-2019

      The mule is a hybrid cross between a male donkey and a female horse (see FAQ’s on my website at under TRAINING). The mule inherits the best qualities from both the mare and the jack and makes him a tougher, stronger and more athletic animal than the horse he came out of. Mules are now used in as many different activities as are horses and even more. Males and females each have their redeeming qualities and like people, it depends on how they are approached as to how they will react to any given human being in any given situation. To get the best from both males and females, it’s better to be patient, respectful, take time with training and instead of trying to get things done quickly, just raise and train them as you would a child. Introducing things that are physically and mentally appropriate for their age, be considerate and set clear boundaries for behavior. There is a wealth of information in the different sections under TRAINING on my website to help you learn more.

  3. Christopher I Polycarp01-18-2022

    What exactly did Anah the child of zibeon found , Is it hot spring or horse or mules ?

    • Meredith01-19-2022

      It was a mule. The mule is “the most common and oldest known manmade hybrid.” It was likely invented in ancient times in what is now Turkey. They were common in Egypt by 3000 BCE. Homer noted their arrival in Asia Minor in the Iliad in 800 BCE.

  4. DaleRoach06-15-2022

    What was the name of David s mule?

    • Meredith06-22-2022

      In the Bible, they do not refer to animals as having names. Rather, they say, as in this case “King David’s mule” or “Absalom rode upon a mule.” No names of animals are ever mentioned.

  5. Cathy C09-25-2022

    It has been my assertion that in both Old and New Testament biblical times that riding a mule was a status symbol because a mule had to be imported (due to an Israele law in Lev.19:19) and therefore more expensive. Is there any historical data to prove this claim?
    thank you sincerely

Leave a Reply