The donkey is a humble beast, right?
In the Hebrew Scriptures, it is 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 Solomon’s coronation. He instructs them to “have my son Solomon ride on my own mule.”
A royal mule? What’s that all about?
David was a hill-country chieftain, and Solomon a hill-country chieftain’s son. Although, years before, this scrappy warrior had become king of all Israel, he never forgot where he came from.
This is why, in later times, those who foretold 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 have missed the symbolism.