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Bible Encyclopedias

The 1901 Jewish Encyclopedia

Mule

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A hybrid between the ass and horse. The Hebrew term is "pered"; feminine, "pirdah." (For "rekesh," which some render by "mule," see HORSE.) "Yemim" (Genesis 36:24), which Targ. Yer., Arabic version, and Greek Venetus translate by "mules," is generally admitted to mean "hot springs"; so Vulgate, "aquæ calidæ." The mule is first mentioned in the time of David. It was used as a riding-animal for kings (1 Kings 1:33,38,44), for the royal household at large (2 Samuel 13:29), and in war (2 Samuel 18:9; comp. Isaiah 66:20; Zechariah 14:15). It formed part of the royal stud (1 Kings 18:5); and among the tribute paid to Solomon by subject tribes were included mules (ib. 10:25). The mule is also referred to as a beast of burden (2 Kings 5:17; comp. Josephus, "Vita," § 26). Togarmah (Armenia) was the staple market for mules (Ezekiel 27:14). The Jews were prevented from breeding the mule themselves by the prohibition of Leviticus 19:19 (comp. Philo, 2:307). Still it was a favorite animal with them, as it still is in the East, on account of its sure-footedness, hardiness, and endurance; and among the stock brought on the return from Babylon are mentioned 245 mules (Ezra 2:66; comp. Josephus, c.).

Besides the Biblical names (Ḥul. 79a) there occur in the Talmud the terms "mula" (comp. Latin "mula"; Shab. 52a) and "kudanta" (ib. 110b); for "yemim" see Ḥul. 7b (comp. Gen. R. 92:2). A distinction is made between the issue of a stallion and a she-ass and that of an ass and a mare; the former has a thicker voice, longer ears, and a shorter tail (Ḥul. 79a). The mule was one of the last things created (Pes. 54a). The she-mule, having no womb, can not propagate (Bek. 8b; Shab. 67a); a barren spouse is therefore called "kudna 'aḳarah" (B. B. 91a). The mule is less hardy than the ass, and ages early ('Er. 56a); still it is a favorite beast of burden (Pes. 119a). The bite of a white she-mule was considered dangerous (Ḥul. 7b), while its excrements were used for medicinal purposes (Shab. 110b). The mule may be yoked neither with the horse nor with the ass (Kil. 1:6).

Bibliography:
  • Tristram, Nat. Hist. p. 124;
  • Lewysohn, Z. T. p. 144.
E. G. H.
S. S.
I. M. C.

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Bibliography Information
Singer, Isidore, Ph.D, Projector and Managing Editor. Entry for 'Mule'. 1901 The Jewish Encyclopedia. https://www.studylight.org/encyclopedias/eng/tje/m/mule.html. 1901.

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