Biblical horses, asses and camels

January 13, 2013

Animals mentioned in prophecy, such as horses, asses, and camels, are symbolic, and represent certain classes of people. This article reviews the context in which these animals are mentioned throughout the Bible.

Ishmael will be “a wild ass of a man”

The angel of the Lord also said to her:

“You are now pregnant
and you will give birth to a son.
You shall name him Ishmael,
for the Lord has heard of your misery.
He will be a wild donkey of a man;
his hand will be against everyone
and everyone’s hand against him,
and he will live in hostility
toward all his brothers.”

[Gen. 16:11-12, NIV]

Throughout Scripture, asses and horses are symbolic of various groups of people.

Abraham’s ass

Abraham brought wood for the sacrifice at mount Moriah, and Isaac his son, on an ass [Gen. 22:4-6]

Abraham possessed herds of sheep, asses, and camels

And he entreated Abram well for her sake: and he had sheep, and oxen, and he asses, and menservants, and maidservants, and she asses, and camels. [Gen. 12:16]

And the Lord hath blessed my master greatly; and he is become great: and he hath given him flocks, and herds, and silver, and gold, and menservants, and maidservants, and camels, and asses. [Gen. 24:35]

Abraham sent his servant with ten camels to find a wife for Isaac

And the servant took ten camels of the camels of his master, and departed; for all the goods of his master were in his hand: and he arose, and went to Mesopotamia, unto the city of Nahor. And he made his camels to kneel down without the city by a well of water at the time of the evening, even the time that women go out to draw water. And he said O Lord God of my master Abraham, I pray thee, send me good speed this day, and shew kindness unto my master Abraham. Behold, I stand here by the well of water; and the daughters of the men of the city come out to draw water: And let it come to pass, that the damsel to whom I shall say, Let down thy pitcher, I pray thee, that I may drink; and she shall say, Drink, and I will give thy camels drink also: let the same be she that thou hast appointed for thy servant Isaac; and thereby shall I know that thou hast shewed kindness unto my master. And it came to pass, before he had done speaking, that, behold, Rebekah came out, who was born to Bethuel, son of Milcah, the wife of Nahor, Abraham’s brother, with her pitcher upon her shoulder. And the damsel was very fair to look upon, a virgin, neither had any man known her: and she went down to the well, and filled her pitcher, and came up. And the servant ran to meet her, and said, Let me, I pray thee, drink a little water of thy pitcher. And she said, Drink, my lord: and she hasted, and let down her pitcher upon her hand, and gave him drink. And when she had done giving him drink, she said, I will draw water for thy camels also, until they have done drinking. And she hasted, and emptied her pitcher into the trough, and ran again unto the well to draw water, and drew for all his camels.
[Gen. 24:8-20]

Isaac saw the returning camels

And Isaac went out to meditate in the field at the eventide: and he lifted up his eyes, and saw, and, behold, the camels were coming.
And Rebekah lifted up her eyes, and when she saw Isaac, she lighted off the camel. [Gen. 24:63-64]

Jacob’s family rode upon camels

Then Jacob rose up, and set his sons and his wives upon camels; [Gen. 31:17]

Rachel hid stolen images in the camel furniture

Now Rachel had taken the images, and put them in the camel’s furniture, and sat upon them. And Laban searched all the tent, but found them not. [Gen. 31:34]

Jacob’s gifts to Esau included asses, camels, cattle

And he lodged there that same night; and took of that which came to his hand a present for Esau his brother; Two hundred she goats, and twenty he goats, two hundred ewes, and twenty rams, Thirty milch camels with their colts, forty kine, and ten bulls, twenty she asses, and ten foals. And he delivered them into the hand of his servants, every drove by themselves; and said unto his servants, Pass over before me, and put a space betwixt drove and drove. [Gen. 32:14-16]

Joseph was taken to Egypt on camels

And they took him, and cast him into a pit: and the pit was empty, there was no water in it. And they sat down to eat bread: and they lifted up their eyes and looked, and, behold, a company of Ishmeelites came from Gilead with their camels bearing spicery and balm and myrrh, going to carry it down to Egypt. And Judah said unto his brethren, What profit is it if we slay our brother, and conceal his blood? Come, and let us sell him to the Ishmeelites, and let not our hand be upon him; for he is our brother and our flesh. And his brethren were content. Then there passed by Midianites merchantmen; and they drew and lifted up Joseph out of the pit, and sold Joseph to the Ishmeelites for twenty pieces of silver: and they brought Joseph into Egypt. And Reuben returned unto the pit; and, behold, Joseph was not in the pit; and he rent his clothes. And he returned unto his brethren, and said, The child is not; and I, whither shall I go? [Gen. 37:24-30]

The blessing of Judah

Binding his foal unto the vine, and his ass’s colt unto the choice vine [Gen. 49:11-12]

The blessing of Issachar

Issachar is a strong ass couching down between two burdens: And he saw that rest was good, and the land that it was pleasant; and bowed his shoulder to bear, and became a servant unto tribute. [Gen. 49:14-15]

A plague fell upon the cattle, horses, camels and asses of Egypt

Behold, the hand of the Lord is upon thy cattle which is in the field, upon the horses, upon the asses, upon the camels, upon the oxen, and upon the sheep: there shall be a very grievous murrain. [Ex. 9:3]

All the horses and chariots of Pharaoh pursued Israel

And it was told the king of Egypt that the people fled: and the heart of Pharaoh and of his servants was turned against the people, and they said, Why have we done this, that we have let Israel go from serving us? And he made ready his chariot, and took his people with him: And he took six hundred chosen chariots, and all the chariots of Egypt, and captains over every one of them. And the Lord hardened the heart of Pharaoh king of Egypt, and he pursued after the children of Israel: and the children of Israel went out with an high hand. But the Egyptians pursued after them, all the horses and chariots of Pharaoh, and his horsemen, and his army, and overtook them encamping by the sea, beside Pihahiroth, before Baalzephon. And when Pharaoh drew nigh, the children of Israel lifted up their eyes, and, behold, the Egyptians marched after them; and they were sore afraid: and the children of Israel cried out unto the Lord. [Ex. 14:5-10]

Pharaoh’s chariots and horses were destroyed in the sea

And Moses stretched out his hand over the sea; and the Lord caused the sea to go back by a strong east wind all that night, and made the sea dry land, and the waters were divided. And the children of Israel went into the midst of the sea upon the dry ground: and the waters were a wall unto them on their right hand, and on their left. And the Egyptians pursued, and went in after them to the midst of the sea, even all Pharaoh’s horses, his chariots, and his horsemen. And it came to pass, that in the morning watch the Lord looked unto the host of the Egyptians through the pillar of fire and of the cloud, and troubled the host of the Egyptians, And took off their chariot wheels, that they drave them heavily: so that the Egyptians said, Let us flee from the face of Israel; for the Lord fighteth for them against the Egyptians. And the Lord said unto Moses, Stretch out thine hand over the sea, that the waters may come again upon the Egyptians, upon their chariots, and upon their horsemen. And Moses stretched forth his hand over the sea, and the sea returned to his strength when the morning appeared; and the Egyptians fled against it; and the Lord overthrew the Egyptians in the midst of the sea. And the waters returned, and covered the chariots, and the horsemen, and all the host of Pharaoh that came into the sea after them; there remained not so much as one of them. But the children of Israel walked upon dry land in the midst of the sea; and the waters were a wall unto them on their right hand, and on their left. Thus the Lord saved Israel that day out of the hand of the Egyptians; and Israel saw the Egyptians dead upon the sea shore. And Israel saw that great work which the Lord did upon the Egyptians: and the people feared the Lord, and believed the Lord, and his servant Moses. [Ex. 14:21-31]

Pharaoh’s horses

Then sang Moses and the children of Israel this song unto the Lord, and spake, saying, I will sing unto the Lord, for he hath triumphed gloriously: the horse and his rider hath he thrown into the sea. The Lord is my strength and song, and he is become my salvation: he is my God, and I will prepare him an habitation; my father’s God, and I will exalt him. The Lord is a man of war: the Lord is his name. [Ex. 15:1-3]

Who is like unto thee, O Lord, among the gods? who is like thee, glorious in holiness, fearful in praises, doing wonders? Thou stretchedst out thy right hand, the earth swallowed them. Thou in thy mercy hast led forth the people which thou hast redeemed: thou hast guided them in thy strength unto thy holy habitation. The people shall hear, and be afraid: sorrow shall take hold on the inhabitants of Palestina. Then the dukes of Edom shall be amazed; the mighty men of Moab, trembling shall take hold upon them; all the inhabitants of Canaan shall melt away. Fear and dread shall fall upon them; by the greatness of thine arm they shall be as still as a stone; till thy people pass over, O Lord, till the people pass over, which thou hast purchased. Thou shalt bring them in, and plant them in the mountain of thine inheritance, in the place, O Lord, which thou hast made for thee to dwell in, in the Sanctuary, O Lord, which thy hands have established. The Lord shall reign for ever and ever. For the horse of Pharaoh went in with his chariots and with his horsemen into the sea, and the Lord brought again the waters of the sea upon them; but the children of Israel went on dry land in the midst of the sea. [Ex. 15:11:19]

A lamb must be slain to redeem a firstborn ass
The firstborn of an ass was redeemed, but not that of a horse

All that openeth the matrix is mine; and every firstling among thy cattle, whether ox or sheep, that is male. But the firstling of an ass thou shalt redeem with a lamb: and if thou redeem him not, then shalt thou break his neck. All the firstborn of thy sons thou shalt redeem. And none shall appear before me empty. [Ex. 34:19-20]

Take care of your brother’s ass

Thou shalt not see thy brother’s ass or his ox fall down by the way, and hide thyself from them: thou shalt surely help him to lift them up again. [Deut. 22:4]

In the law of Moses, an ox and an ass may not be yolked together

Thou shalt not plow with an ox and an ass together. [Deut. 22:10]

one animal is clean, and the other not

Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? [2 Cor. 6:14]

A king may not multiply horses to himself

Thou shalt in any wise set him king over thee, whom the lord thy God shall choose: one from among thy brethren shalt thou set king over thee: thou mayest not set a stranger over thee, which is not thy brother. But he shall not multiply horses to himself, nor cause the people to return to Egypt, to the end that he should multiply horses: forasmuch as the Lord hath said unto you, Ye shall henceforth return no more that way. Neither shall he multiply wives to himself, that his heart turn not away: neither shall he greatly multiply to himself silver and gold. [Deut. 17:14-17]

Balaam’s ass

Balaam was hired by Balak to curse Israel. On this journey, when his ass fell under him he abused her, and the ass spoke to him in a human voice.

And Balaam rose up in the morning, and saddled his ass, and went with the princes of Moab.  And God’s anger was kindled because he went: and the angel of the Lord stood in the way for an adversary against him. Now he was riding upon his ass, and his two servants were with him.  And the ass saw the angel of the Lord standing in the way, and his sword drawn in his hand: and the ass turned aside out of the way, and went into the field: and Balaam smote the ass, to turn her into the way.  But the angel of the Lord stood in a path of the vineyards, a wall being on this side, and a wall on that side.  And when the ass saw the angel of the Lord, she thrust herself unto the wall, and crushed Balaam’s foot against the wall: and he smote her again.  And the angel of the Lord went further, and stood in a narrow place, where was no way to turn either to the right hand or to the left.  And when the ass saw the angel of the Lord, she fell down under Balaam: and Balaam’s anger was kindled, and he smote the ass with a staff.  And the Lord opened the mouth of the ass, and she said unto Balaam, What have I done unto thee, that thou hast smitten me these three times?  And Balaam said unto the ass, Because thou hast mocked me: I would there were a sword in mine hand, for now would I kill thee.  And the ass said unto Balaam, Am not I thine ass, upon which thou hast ridden ever since I was thine unto this day? was I ever wont to do so unto thee? and he said, Nay.  Then the Lord opened the eyes of Balaam, and he saw the angel of the Lord standing in the way, and his sword drawn in his hand: and he bowed down his head, and fell flat on his face.  And the angel of the Lord said unto him, Wherefore hast thou smitten thine ass these three times? behold, I went out to withstand thee, because thy way is perverse before me:  And the ass saw me, and turned from me these three times: unless she had turned from me, surely now also I had slain thee, and saved her alive.  And Balaam said unto the angel of the Lord, I have sinned; for I knew not that thou stoodest in the way against me: now therefore, if it displease thee, I will get me back again.  And the angel of the Lord said unto Balaam, Go with the men: but only the word that I shall speak unto thee, that thou shalt speak. So Balaam went with the princes of Balak. [Num. 22:21-35]

Peter refers to Balaam, and connects him with false teachers.

Having eyes full of adultery, and that cannot cease from sin; beguiling unstable souls: an heart they have exercised with covetous practices; cursed children: Which have forsaken the right way, and are gone astray, following the way of Balaam the son of Bosor, who loved the wages of unrighteousness; But was rebuked for his iniquity: the dumb ass speaking with man’s voice forbad the madness of the prophet. [2 Pet. 2:14-17]

The ass speaking in a human voice may be interpreted; Balaam’s ass may represent people ridden by an abusive, seducing spirit; the spirit of Balaam the prophet who sought monetary rewards.

Achsah’s ass

Achsah, Caleb’s daughter, received some land, and then also requested springs of water from her father. The land represents the word, and springs of water represent the gift of the spirit.

And it came to pass, as she came unto him, that she moved him to ask of her father a field: and she lighted off her ass; and Caleb said unto her, What wouldest thou? Who answered, Give me a blessing; for thou hast given me a south land; give me also springs of water. And he gave her the upper springs, and the nether springs. [Josh. 15:16-19]

The camels of Midian were like seven-year plague of grasshoppers

And the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the Lord: and the Lord delivered them into the hand of Midian seven years. And the hand of Midian prevailed against Israel: and because of the Midianites the children of Israel made them the dens which are in the mountains, and caves, and strong holds. And so it was, when Israel had sown, that the Midianites came up, and the Amalekites, and the children of the east, even they came up against them; And they encamped against them, and destroyed the increase of the earth, till thou come unto Gaza, and left no sustenance for Israel, neither sheep, nor ox, nor ass. For they came up with their cattle and their tents, and they came as grasshoppers for multitude; for both they and their camels were without number: and they entered into the land to destroy it. [Jud. 6:1-6]

Camels were as numerous as grasshoppers, and as the sand of the sea

And the Midianites and the Amalekites and all the children of the east lay along in the valley like grasshoppers for multitude; and their camels were without number, as the sand by the sea side for multitude. [Jud. 7:12]

The camels were adorned with golden chains

And the weight of the golden earrings that he requested was a thousand and seven hundred shekels of gold; beside ornaments, and collars, and purple raiment that was on the kings of Midian, and beside the chains that were about their camels’ necks. [Jud. 8:26]

The golden chains that adorned the camels support the idea that camels are symbolic of those who are laden with riches.

Samson’s jawbone of an ass

Samson used a jawbone of an ass as a weapon to slay 1,000 men.

The Hebrew word for ass also meant “heap,” and Samson made a pun on “heaps upon heaps”

And Samson said, With the jawbone of an ass, heaps upon heaps, with the jaw of an ass have I slain a thousand men. [Judges 15:15-16]

The chariots of Solomon

And Solomon had forty thousand stalls of horses for his chariots, and twelve thousand horsemen. [1 Kings 4:26]

Solomon made the people of Israel horsemen and men of war

But of the children of Israel did Solomon make no bondmen: but they were men of war, and his servants, and his princes, and his captains, and rulers of his chariots, and his horsemen. [1 Kings 9:21-23]

But of the children of Israel did Solomon make no servants for his work; but they were men of war, and chief of his captains, and captains of his chariots and horsemen. [2 Chron. 8:9]

Solomon had 1,400 chariots and 12,000 horsemen

And Solomon gathered together chariots and horsemen: and he had a thousand and four hundred chariots, and twelve thousand horsemen, whom he bestowed in the cities for chariots, and with the king at Jerusalem. [1 Kings 10:26]
And Solomon gathered chariots and horsemen: and he had a thousand and four hundred chariots, and twelve thousand horsemen, which he placed in the chariot cities, and with the king at Jerusalem. [2 Chron. 1:14]
And Solomon had four thousand stalls for horses and chariots, and twelve thousand horsemen; whom he bestowed in the chariot cities, and with the king at Jerusalem. [2 Chron. 9:25]

A prophet from Judah rode upon an ass

A prophet from Judah foretold the reign of Josiah and a future judgment upon the false worship at Bethel established by Jeroboam. After the younger prophet was slain by a lion, the ass and the lion stood by his dead body. [1 Kings 13]

A prophet of Bethel also rode upon an ass

After he misled the prophet from Judah and caused him to stumble, the old prophet retrieved the slain prophet’s corpse for burial [1 Kings 13]

The chariot of Israel

A Chariot of fire and horses of fire separated Elijah from Elisha [2 Kings 2:10-12]

Elisha’s servant saw horses and chariots of fire

And Elisha prayed, and said, LORD, I pray thee, open his eyes, that he may see. And the LORD opened the eyes of the young man; and he saw: and, behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire round about Elisha. [2 Kings 6:17]

The visionary horses and chariots of fire that Elisha’s servant saw show the spiritual significance of horses in Bible prophecy.

Joash called Elisha the chariot of Israel

Now Elisha was fallen sick of his sickness whereof he died. And Joash the king of Israel came down unto him, and wept over his face, and said, O my father, my father, the chariot of Israel, and the horsemen thereof. [2 Kings 13:14]

Israel is the chariot, and the prophets Elijah and Elisha were horsemen

Israel’s kings make horsemen of the people

And Samuel told all the words of the Lord unto the people that asked of him a king. And he said, This will be the manner of the king that shall reign over you: He will take your sons, and appoint them for himself, for his chariots, and to be his horsemen; and some shall run before his chariots. And he will appoint him captains over thousands, and captains over fifties; and will set them to ear his ground, and to reap his harvest, and to make his instruments of war, and instruments of his chariots. [1 Sam. 8:10-12]

Saul was commanded to destroy Amalek, including their camels, asses, sheep and cattle

Samuel also said unto Saul, The Lord sent me to anoint thee to be king over his people, over Israel: now therefore hearken thou unto the voice of the words of the Lord. Thus saith the Lord of hosts, I remember that which Amalek did to Israel, how he laid wait for him in the way, when he came up from Egypt. Now go and smite Amalek, and utterly destroy all that they have, and spare them not; but slay both man and woman, infant and suckling, ox and sheep, camel and ass. [1 Sam. 15:1-4]

The asses of Amalek were not redeemed by a lamb.

Abigial’s ass

Abigial’s mission was peacemaking, and reconciliation. She turned David away from taking vengeance, when she brought some provisions for his men on her ass; she also rode on her ass, when he sent for her to come and be his wife.

When Abigail saw David, she hasted, and lighted off the ass, and fell before David on her face, and bowed herself to the ground, And fell at his feet, and said, Upon me, my lord, upon me let this iniquity be: and let thine handmaid, I pray thee, speak in thine audience, and hear the words of thine handmaid. Let not my lord, I pray thee, regard this man of Belial, even Nabal: for as his name is, so is he; Nabal is his name, and folly is with him: but I thine handmaid saw not the young men of my lord, whom thou didst send. Now therefore, my lord, as the Lord liveth, and as thy soul liveth, seeing the Lord hath withholden thee from coming to shed blood, and from avenging thyself with thine own hand, now let thine enemies, and they that seek evil to my lord, be as Nabal. And now this blessing which thine handmaid hath brought unto my lord, let it even be given unto the young men that follow my lord. [1 Sam. 25:23-27]

David smote the Amalekites

And David and his men went up, and invaded the Geshurites, and the Gezrites, and the Amalekites: for those nations were of old the inhabitants of the land, as thou goest to Shur, even unto the land of Egypt. And David smote the land, and left neither man nor woman alive, and took away the sheep, and the oxen, and the asses, and the camels, and the apparel, and returned, and came to Achish. [1 Sam. 27:8-9]

And David smote them from the twilight even unto the evening of the next day: and there escaped not a man of them, save four hundred young men, which rode upon camels, and fled. [1 Sam. 30:17]

The wild ass

The wild ass is quiet when its wants are satisfied; [Job 6:5] is self-willed; [Job 14:6; 19:5] fond of wild and solitary places; [Psa. 104:11; Isa. 32:14; Jer. 14:6] has solitary habits [Ho. 8:9]

The horse has no fear in the battle

Hast thou given the horse strength? hast thou clothed his neck with thunder? Canst thou make him afraid as a grasshopper? the glory of his nostrils is terrible. He paweth in the valley, and rejoiceth in his strength: he goeth on to meet the armed men. He mocketh at fear, and is not affrighted; neither turneth he back from the sword. The quiver rattleth against him, the glittering spear and the shield. He swalloweth the ground with fierceness and rage: neither believeth he that it is the sound of the trumpet. He saith among the trumpets, Ha, ha; and he smelleth the battle afar off, the thunder of the captains, and the shouting. [Job 39:19-25]

Trust in God, not in horses

Some trust in chariots, and some in horses: but we will remember the name of the LORD our God. [Psa. 20:7]

Horses and mules have no understanding

Be ye not as the horse, or as the mule, which have no understanding: whose mouth must be held in with bit and bridle, lest they come near unto thee. [Psa. 32:9]

Horses cannot save

A horse is a vain hope for deliverance; despite all its great strength it cannot save. [Psa. 33:17]

Horses and horsemen in God’s army

The appearance of them is as the appearance of horses; and as horsemen, so shall they run. [Joel 2:4]

Israel compared to an ox and an ass

The ox knoweth his owner, and the ass his master’s crib: but Israel does not know, my people doth not consider. [Isa. 1:2-3]

Woe to them that trust in horses and chariots

Woe to them that go down to Egypt for help; and stay on horses, and trust in chariots, because they are many; and in horsemen, because they are very strong; but they look not unto the Holy One of Israel, neither seek the LORD! [Isa. 31:1]

Israel was like a horse in the wilderness

Then he remembered the days of old, Moses, and his people, saying, Where is he that brought them up out of the sea with the shepherd of his flock? where is he that put his holy Spirit within him?  That led them by the right hand of Moses with his glorious arm, dividing the water before them, to make himself an everlasting name?  That led them through the deep, as an horse in the wilderness, that they should not stumble?  As a beast goeth down into the valley, the Spirit of the Lord caused him to rest: so didst thou lead thy people, to make thyself a glorious name. [Isa. 63:11-14]

Carnally minded people compared to horses

they were as fed horses in the morning: every one neighed after his neighbour’s wife. [Jer. 5:8]

The armies of Gog and Magog all ride upon horses

And thou shalt come from thy place out of the north parts, thou, and many people with thee, all of them riding upon horses, a great company, and a mighty army: [Ezek. 38:15]

They are armed with all sorts of armour, and with swords, spears, bow and arrow, handstaves, shields, bucklers; [vs. 4] they come like a cloud that covers the land; and like a storm or a tempest; [vs. 9] a mighty army; [vs. 15] they come against the mountains of Israel; [vs. 8] and against the prophets of Israel; [vs. 17] and against the land of unwalled villages; [vs. 11] and against the land that was brought back from the sword; [vs. 8] they seek to take a prey; [vs. 12] they want silver and gold; [vs. 13] they fall on the mountains of Israel; they are fed to the birds and beasts; their corpses are buried for 7 months; their weapons are buried for 7 years.

Horses, chariots, and men of war are devoured in God’s great sacrifice upon the mountains of Israel

Thus ye shall be filled at my table with horses and chariots, with mighty men, and with all men of war, saith the Lord God. [Ezek. 39:20]

Messiah will ride upon an ass

Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion; shout, O daughter of Jerusalem: behold, thy King cometh unto thee: he is just, and having salvation; lowly, and riding upon an ass, and upon a colt the foal of an ass. [Zech. 9:9]

Just as Jesus rode upon a literal ass, he is literally king.

Judah is the Lord’s goodly horse

Mine anger was kindled against the shepherds, and I punished the goats: for the Lord of hosts hath visited his flock the house of Judah, and hath made them as his goodly horse in the battle. [Zech. 10:3]

Judah represents the saints; Jesus said, “salvation is of the Jews.”

The riders on horses shall be confounded

And they shall be as mighty men, which tread down their enemies in the mire of the streets in the battle: and they shall fight, because the Lord is with them, and the riders on horses shall be confounded. [Zech. 10:4]

And they of Ephraim shall be like a mighty man, and their heart shall rejoice as through wine: yea, their children shall see it, and be glad; their heart shall rejoice in the Lord. [Zech. 10:7]

Perhaps the horses are people, and their riders are dogmas or beliefs.

Astonished horses with blind riders

In that day, saith the Lord, I will smite every horse with astonishment, and his rider with madness: and I will open mine eyes upon the house of Judah, and will smite every horse of the people with blindness. [Zech. 12:4]

A plague smites the horses, mules, camels and asses in the siege against Jerusalem

And this shall be the plague wherewith the Lord will smite all the people that have fought against Jerusalem; Their flesh shall consume away while they stand upon their feet, and their eyes shall consume away in their holes, and their tongue shall consume away in their mouth. … And so shall be the plague of the horse, of the mule, of the camel, and of the ass, and of all the beasts that shall be in these tents, as this plague. [Zech. 14:12,15]

The plague is a spiritual one, and Jerusalem is the heavenly city.

Horses with bells will declare God’s holiness

In that day shall there be upon the bells of the horses, Holiness Unto The Lord; and the pots in the Lord’s house shall be like the bowls before the altar. [Zech. 14:20]

Jesus compared rich men to camels

And a certain ruler asked him, saying, Good Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life? And Jesus said unto him, Why callest thou me good? none is good, save one, that is, God. Thou knowest the commandments, Do not commit adultery, Do not kill, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Honour thy father and thy mother. And he said, All these have I kept from my youth up. Now when Jesus heard these things, he said unto him, Yet lackest thou one thing: sell all that thou hast, and distribute unto the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, follow me. And when he heard this, he was very sorrowful: for he was very rich. And when Jesus saw that he was very sorrowful, he said, How hardly shall they that have riches enter into the kingdom of God! For it is easier for a camel to go through a needle’s eye, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God. And they that heard it said, Who then can be saved? [Luke 18:24-26]

The ass from Bethphage

And when they drew nigh unto Jerusalem, and were come to Bethphage, unto the mount of Olives, then sent Jesus two disciples, Saying unto them, Go into the village over against you, and straightway ye shall find an ass tied, and a colt with her: loose them, and bring them unto me. And if any man say ought unto you, ye shall say, The Lord hath need of them; and straightway he will send them. All this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying, Tell ye the daughter of Sion, Behold, thy King cometh unto thee, meek, and sitting upon an ass, and a colt the foal of an ass. And the disciples went, and did as Jesus commanded them, And brought the ass, and the colt, and put on them their clothes, and they set him thereon. And a very great multitude spread their garments in the way; others cut down branches from the trees, and strawed them in the way. And the multitudes that went before, and that followed, cried, saying, Hosanna to the son of David: Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord; Hosanna in the highest. And when he was come into Jerusalem, all the city was moved, saying, Who is this? [Matt. 21:1-10]

Jesus rides upon an ass, and the foal of an ass when he comes to his Church, but he rides a white horse, when he comes against his enemies.

Saul was like a horse kicking against the pricks

And Saul, yet breathing out threatenings and slaughter against the disciples of the Lord, went unto the high priest,  And desired of him letters to Damascus to the synagogues, that if he found any of this way, whether they were men or women, he might bring them bound unto Jerusalem.  And as he journeyed, he came near Damascus: and suddenly there shined round about him a light from heaven:  And he fell to the earth, and heard a voice saying unto him, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me?  And he said, Who art thou, Lord? And the Lord said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest: it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks. [Acts 9:4-6]

A bit in the mouth of a horse is needed for control

My brethren, be not many masters, knowing that we shall receive the greater condemnation.  For in many things we offend all. If any man offend not in word, the same is a perfect man, and able also to bridle the whole body.  Behold, we put bits in the horses’ mouths, that they may obey us; and we turn about their whole body. Behold also the ships, which though they be so great, and are driven of fierce winds, yet are they turned about with a very small helm, whithersoever the governor listeth.  Even so the tongue is a little member, and boasteth great things. Behold, how great a matter a little fire kindleth!  And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity: so is the tongue among our members, that it defileth the whole body, and setteth on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire of hell.  For every kind of beasts, and of birds, and of serpents, and of things in the sea, is tamed, and hath been tamed of mankind:  But the tongue can no man tame; it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison.  Therewith bless we God, even the Father; and therewith curse we men, which are made after the similitude of God. [Jam. 3:1-9]

In the 5th trumpet, the locusts resemble horses prepared for battle

And the shapes of the locusts were like unto horses prepared unto battle; and on their heads were as it were crowns like gold, and their faces were as the faces of men. [Rev. 9:7]

The sound of the locusts’ wings is like many horses running to battle

And they had breastplates, as it were breastplates of iron; and the sound of their wings was as the sound of chariots of many horses running to battle. [Rev. 9:9]

An army of two hundred thousand thousand horsemen

And the number of the army of the horsemen were two hundred thousand thousand. And thus I saw the horses in the vision, and them that sat on them, having breastplates of fire, and of jacinth, and brimstone: and the heads of the horses were as the heads of lions; and out of their mouths issued fire and smoke and brimstone. By these three was the third part of men killed, by the fire, and by the smoke, and by the brimstone, which issued out of their mouths. For their power is in their mouth, and in their tails: for their tails were like unto serpents, and had heads, and with them they do hurt. [Rev. 9:13-19]

The fifth trumpet and sixth trumpet plagues do not bring repentance

And the rest of the men which were not killed by these plagues yet repented not of the works of their hands, that they should not worship devils, and idols of gold, and silver, and brass, and stone, and of wood: which neither can see, nor hear, nor walk: Neither repented they of their murders, nor of their sorceries, nor of their fornication, nor of their thefts. [Rev. 9:20-21]

The depth of the blood from God’s winepress reaches to the horses’ bridles

The angel swung his sickle on the earth, gathered its grapes and threw them into the great winepress of God’s wrath. They were trampled in the winepress outside the city, and blood flowed out of the press, rising as high as the horses’ bridles for a distance of 1,600 stadia. [Rev. 14:19-20]

The reference to the horses’ bridles probably alludes to the tongue, and the words and doctrines of the false teachers which are to be destroyed. The tongue is connected with horses’ bridles in James 3:1-9.

The horse Jesus rides

And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war. His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns; and he had a name written, that no man knew, but he himself. And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God. [Rev. 19:11-13]

Christ’s armies follow him on white horses

And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean. [Rev. 19:18]

Horses and their riders are devoured by the birds

And I saw an angel standing in the sun; and he cried with a loud voice, saying to all the fowls that fly in the midst of heaven, Come and gather yourselves together unto the supper of the great God; That ye may eat the flesh of kings, and the flesh of captains, and the flesh of mighty men, and the flesh of horses, and of them that sit on them, and the flesh of all men, both free and bond, both small and great. [Rev. 19-17-18]

Fowls of the air are filled with the flesh of kings and the flesh of captains, and the flesh of mighty men, and the flesh of horses, and of them that sit on them, and the flesh of all men, both free and bond, both small and great.

The figure may be compared with Peter’s vision of the sheet let down from heaven with all manner of fourfooted beasts of the earth, and wild beasts, and creeping things, and fowls of the air in it. Peter was told to kill, and eat. The creatures in the sheet probably represent believers; in the vision they descended from heaven to the earth three times.

The remnant are those who are slain with the sword

And the remnant were slain with the sword of him that sat upon the horse, which sword proceeded out of his mouth: and all the fowls were filled with their flesh. [Rev. 19:18]

The ones slain by the sword are those who are subject to God’s word.

He that leadeth into captivity shall go into captivity: he that killeth with the sword must be killed with the sword. Here is the patience and the faith of the saints. [Rev. 13:10]