Ass. Five Hebrew names of the genus Asinus occur in the Old Testament.
1. Chamôr denotes the male domestic ass. 2. Athôn, the common domestic she-ass. 3. Aı̂r, the name of a wild ass, which occurs Gen. 32:15; 49:11. 4. Pere, a species of wild ass mentioned Gen. 12:16. 5. Arôd 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. 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. Layard 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.