Mark 11:2

“Go to the village facing you,” he said; “and, as soon as you get there, you will find a foal tethered, which no one has ever ridden; untie it, and bring it.


tasks come in many sizes
in some we can please
our selves and others
in some we can please
others but not our self
in others’ the only pleasure
is in the doing of the doing

what is yet unknown
of pleasure’s direction
is a task on the edge
of propriety
confiscating property
is problematic
in its indeterminacy

information is being gathered
who knows the area
has contacts in place
plans are being laid
regarding surveillance
timing approach
and get away


Matthew’s account of Jesus says he came on a donkey. This has colored other recountings as Mark and Luke can be read as either donkey or horse. There is still the Humane Society question of whether riding a young animal is doing harm or not, though the metaphoric weight of Jesus doing a symbolic ride may well be acceptable.

Mark’s emphasis is not upon the species of the animal but past allusions from scripture and Malina248 saying Mark’s

emphasis is on the fact that no human being has as yet sat upon and ridden the animal. Jesus, then, is seated on and rides a “sacred animal”, untamed and alien to the world of human use, consecrated to the special, extraordinary task of bearing “he who comes in the name of the Lord” to the very central place consecrated to that Lord.

Duling312 traces another meaning for this colt:

The Babylonian Talmud preserves a traditional exegesis that claims that if Israel is worthy the Messiah will come in might “upon the clouds of heaven” (that is, in fulfillment of the coming of the Son of Man in Dan 7:13; if it is not worthy he will come “lowly, and riding on a donkey” (that is, in fulfillment of Zech 9:9). Mark implies that Israel was unworthy, and so the Messiah entered Jerusalem in this way.

Whichever imagery is helpful to you, there is still the question of appropriating the animal, untying it. This sounds very much like the requisitioning a Roman soldier would do—a demand not a request.

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