Saddling Donkeys

Whew...  It's been a long time since my last post.  Not ok.  But today I'm gonna post. Nothing profound.  Just something funny I noticed.


A Weird Bible Story

This morning I read 1 Kings 13.  Such a weird story in the Old Testament!  It's about a "man of God" who makes an announcement against "the altar" and against Jeroboam, King of Israel.  Then God commands him to return home without eating any bread or drinking any water.

Donkey SaddleDonkey SaddleOn his way home, another prophet catches up with him.  This prophet invites the "man of God" to his house to eat and drink.  But the "man of God" refuses.  So the prophet lies, saying, "God told me he wants you to come with me."

The "man of God" now makes a big mistake.  He goes with the prophet.  At dinner, the prophet is inspired by God to tell him that because of his disobedience the "man of God" will now die.

And when the "man of God" goes on his way, a lion kills him.


The weirdest part...

That's the gist of the story.  But there's a phrase that comes up four times in this story that seems completely random.  The phrase is, "saddled the donkey" (or some variation).  Check it out:

  •  v. 13:  "he said to his sons, 'Saddle the donkey'"
  •  v. 13 again: "when they had saddled the donkey for him"
  •  v. 23: "the prophet who had brought him back saddled his donkey for him"
  •  v. 27:  The prophet said to his sons, "Saddle the donkey for me"

What in the world is that all about?  Why does that keep getting mentioned?  Why is this the only chapter of the Bible (that I know of) that emphasizes saddling donkeys?

I don't have the answer to those questions right now.  But if I were to preach on this, I would probably do some digging about this whole "saddling donkeys" thing.

  • How do you saddle a donkey?
  • What did donkey saddles consist of?
  • Is there some kind of significance in saddling donkeys?
  • Does saddling donkeys come up anywhere else in the scriptures?
  • Was saddling donkeys an innuendo or metaphor for something else?
  • How come no one in the story ever saddles their own donkey?  Why are people always saddling someone else's donkey?

So there you go.  What's the author getting at in this story by emphasizing the saddling of donkeys?  I'd love to hear if anyone has any ideas.

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