Humble Beast or Royal Mule?

Dear Palm Sunday Observers,

The donkey is a humble beast, right? WRONG!!

In the Hebrew scriptures, it is the kings who ride on donkeys.

That may sound strange—especially in light of countless Palm Sunday sermons we’ve heard. Yet, in 1 Kings 1:32-34, an elderly King David summons the religious leaders, commanding them to make arrangements for the coronation of King Solomon. He instructs them to “have my son Solomon ride on my mule.”

A royal mule? What’s that all about?

David was a hill country chieftain, and Solomon was a hill country chieftain's son. Although years before, this scrappy warrior had become king of Israel, he never forgot where he came from.

King David’s royal mount was not a horse. A horse is for those who dwell in the plains, who traverse the highways broad and straight. A king like David, who got his start leading bands of raiders from cave to cave along rocky trails, preferred a sure footed mule.

This is why, in later times, those who foretold of the coming of a new king, a Messiah, to assume the throne of David, always had that monarch riding into Jerusalem on a donkey.

The Roman overlords might have been amused by this somewhat comical sight, but Jewish zealots who knew their history would not of missed the symbolism.

See Mark 11:1-11 for further reflection.

Prayer: For Holy Week transformation of our hearts,  individually and communally.

Where are you in the Palm Sunday crowd? 

Still in One Peace,

Pastor David J. Jensen

*Join us in reading the Daily Texts.

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