The Talking Donkey in the Bible

Maybe you thought Disney’s Eeyore from Winnie The Pooh or even DreamWork’s Donkey from Shrek was one of the first talking donkeys right? Well … You may want to look again. The Bible shows us there was a talking donkey long before Eeyore or Donkey came out.

The Talking Donkey in the Bible

See for yourself about the talking donkey of the Bible way before these talking donkey characters.

Donkey Clipart by vector-clip-art.com

Numbers 22:28-30 NKJV

28 Then the Lord opened the mouth of the donkey, and she said to Balaam, “What have I done to you, that you have struck me these three times?”

29 And Balaam said to the donkey, “Because you have abused me. I wish there were a sword in my hand, for now I would kill you!”

30 So the donkey said to Balaam, “Am I not your donkey on which you have ridden, ever since I became yours, to this day? Was I ever disposed to do this to you?”

And he said, “No.”

God used the donkey to talk to Balaam. If you read on in this chapter, you will see that just after that, the Lord opened Balaam’s eyes. He had an Angel of the Lord appear to Balaam and asked why he struck his donkey. The Angel of the Lord said the donkey saw me, and was turning aside, but you struck it three times. If the donkey didn’t turn away, then I would have killed you. Then Balaam knew he sinned and repented.

The Angel of the Lord, was usually meaning an appearance of God Himself.

In the Bible, there is a story in the Book of Numbers (Chapter 22) about a prophet named Balaam who was hired by the king of Moab to curse the Israelites. As Balaam was riding his donkey towards Moab, an angel of the Lord appeared in the road and blocked their way. Balaam was unable to see the angel, but his donkey could, and she refused to move forward. Balaam became angry and beat the donkey three times, but each time she refused to move.

Finally, the donkey spoke to Balaam and asked him why he was hitting her. Balaam was shocked that his donkey was speaking to him, and the angel revealed himself to Balaam and explained that the donkey had saved his life by preventing him from continuing on the path that would lead to his death. Balaam was humbled and realized the error of his ways. He blessed the Israelites instead of cursing them, as he had been hired to do.

The story of the talking donkey in the Bible is often interpreted as a lesson in humility and the ability of God to use any means necessary to get his message across. It also serves as a reminder that all of God’s creation is valuable and worthy of respect, even a lowly donkey.

To see the whole story read Numbers chapter 22 through 25.

Check out the The Legend of the Donkey’s Cross.

Talking Donkey Characters

Talking donkey characters are often used as comic relief or to provide a unique perspective on the events of a story. Their ability to speak and interact with other characters allows for humorous situations and memorable moments.

Talking donkey characters are also a popular element in various forms of media, including literature, film, and television. Some notable examples of talking donkey characters include:

  1. Donkey from “Shrek” – Donkey is a comedic sidekick character in the “Shrek” film franchise. Voiced by Eddie Murphy, Donkey is a talkative and enthusiastic donkey who becomes best friends with the ogre Shrek.
  2. Eeyore from “Winnie the Pooh” – Eeyore is a melancholy and pessimistic donkey character in the “Winnie the Pooh” stories by A.A. Milne. Although he often speaks in a monotone voice, Eeyore’s dry wit and resigned demeanor have made him a beloved character.

Eeyore’s Birthday

  1. The Donkey from “Pinocchio” – The unnamed Donkey from the Disney film “Pinocchio” is a minor character who is transformed into a donkey as a result of misbehavior on Pleasure Island. Although he is only seen briefly in the film, his transformation into a donkey serves as a cautionary tale about the dangers of hedonism.
  2. Donkey Kong – Donkey Kong is a video game character created by Nintendo. Although he is primarily known for his physical strength and agility, Donkey Kong is also capable of speaking in certain video game adaptations.
  3. Donkey from “The Bible” – In the Christian Bible, a talking donkey appears in the Book of Numbers. The donkey, named Balaam’s Donkey, is able to speak to the prophet Balaam and warn him of an angel blocking their path.
  1. Burro from “Three Caballeros” – Burro is a talking donkey character in the Disney film “Three Caballeros.” He speaks with a Mexican accent and helps Panchito and Donald Duck navigate through Mexico.
  2. Quick Draw McGraw’s sidekick, Baba Looey – Baba Looey is a Mexican burro and Quick Draw McGraw’s sidekick in the Hanna-Barbera cartoon series “The Quick Draw McGraw Show.” Baba Looey speaks with a heavy Mexican accent and often provides comic relief.
  3. Donkey from “Holes” – In the novel “Holes” by Louis Sachar, a character named Mary Lou speaks through a donkey named Sam. Mary Lou is a character in a fictional story within the book, and Sam is the storyteller’s donkey who acts as a conduit for Mary Lou’s voice.
  4. Donkey from “The Adventures of Donkey Ollie” – “The Adventures of Donkey Ollie” is an animated Christian television series that follows the adventures of a talking donkey named Donkey Ollie. Donkey Ollie travels through the ancient world and learns valuable lessons about faith and forgiveness.
  5. Sylvester McMonkey McBean from “Dr. Seuss’ The Sneetches and Other Stories” – Although not a donkey himself, Sylvester McMonkey McBean appears in the Dr. Seuss story “What Was I Scared Of?” and is famous for selling the Star-On and Star-Off machines to the Sneetches. In the animated adaptation of the story, he is depicted as a donkey who speaks in rhyme.
  6. Donkey from “My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic” – In the animated television series “My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic,” a character named Cranky Doodle Donkey is able to speak. He is grumpy and often complains, but he eventually becomes good friends with the ponies.
  7. Donkey from “Kung Fu Panda” – Although not a major character in the “Kung Fu Panda” franchise, a donkey named Zeng is able to speak and is a minor character in the second and third films.
  8. Donkey from “Tangled: The Series” – In the animated television series “Tangled: The Series,” a talking donkey named Hook Hand appears as a recurring character. He is the pet of a group of thugs and is able to communicate with the other characters.
  1. Sylvester McMonkey McBean from “Dr. Seuss’ The Sneetches and Other Stories” – Although not a donkey himself, Sylvester McMonkey McBean appears in the Dr. Seuss story “What Was I Scared Of?” and is famous for selling the Star-On and Star-Off machines to the Sneetches. In the animated adaptation of the story, he is depicted as a donkey who speaks in rhyme.
  2. Donkey from “Kung Fu Panda” – Although not a major character in the “Kung Fu Panda” franchise, a donkey named Zeng is able to speak and is a minor character in the second and third films.
  3. Donkey from “The Donkey King” – “The Donkey King” is a Pakistani animated film that features a talking donkey named Mangu. Mangu is the protagonist of the film and embarks on a quest to become the king of Azad Nagar.
  4. Donkey from “Hoodwinked!” – In the animated film “Hoodwinked!”, a talking donkey named Japeth provides comic relief and helps to move the story forward. Japeth is voiced by actor Benjy Gaither.
  5. Donkey from “Unikitty!” – In the animated television series “Unikitty!”, a character named Richard is able to transform into a talking donkey when he gets nervous. Richard’s transformation into a donkey is used for comedic effect in the show.
  6. Donkey from “Charlotte’s Web” – In the classic children’s book “Charlotte’s Web” by E.B. White, a character named Templeton is a talking rat who interacts with a cast of animals, including a talking donkey named Uncle the Pig. Uncle is not a major character in the story, but his ability to speak adds to the book’s charm and whimsy.
  7. Donkey from “The Last Unicorn” – In the animated film “The Last Unicorn,” a talking donkey named Jack is one of the minor characters. Jack provides comic relief and helps to move the story forward, and he is voiced by actor Robert Klein.
  8. Donkey from “Eddie Murphy: Raw” – In Eddie Murphy’s 1987 stand-up comedy film “Raw,” he tells a hilarious story about how his mother used to discipline him by threatening to turn him into a talking donkey. Murphy performs a hilarious impression of a donkey’s voice to bring the story to life.
  9. Donkey from “Hercules” – In the Disney animated film “Hercules,” a talking donkey named Philoctetes (or Phil for short) serves as a mentor to the titular hero. Phil is gruff and sarcastic, but he helps to train Hercules in the ways of heroism.
  10. Donkey from “The Lion King” – In the stage musical adaptation of “The Lion King,” a talking donkey appears as part of the ensemble cast. The donkey sings and dances alongside other animals in the show’s famous opening number, “Circle of Life.”
  11. Donkey from “Pinocchio” – In the classic Disney film “Pinocchio,” a talking donkey named Lampwick is one of the unfortunate boys who are turned into donkeys as punishment for their bad behavior on Pleasure Island. Lampwick’s transformation into a donkey is a terrifying and memorable moment in the film.
  12. “The Wonky Donkey” is a children’s book by Craig Smith is a humorous and catchy rhyming story about a donkey with various quirks and physical attributes that make him “wonky.” The donkey is depicted as endearing and charming, and the story encourages children to celebrate their own unique qualities.
  13. “The Adventures of a Donkey” by Arabella Argus and “The Further Adventures of Jemmy Donkey.” Published in 1815. Donkey. The story follows young Jemmy donkey in his life as a service animal. It is full of self-evaluation and growth; it also shows an interesting insight into the life of a nineteenth century working animal.
  14. “The Adventures of a Donkey” by Mabel Quiller-Couch, which was originally published in 1911. It tells the story of a donkey named Dapple, who goes on a journey through the English countryside and has various adventures along the way.

Any other talking donkeys?

Are there any other talking donkeys in ligature, tv, movies, cartoons? If so, feel free to share in the comments below.


Hurt by the Elephant and the Donkey? Then look to the Lamb!

Sources:

  1. Numbers 22-25

First published September 20, 2013. Last updated or Republished March 5, 2023.

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A Christian Blogger that enjoys blogging about the Bible, Theology, God, Jesus Christ, Christian Music, Family, Cats, Odd Holidays, sewing and much more. I have been blogging since 2004, however, I have been blogging on Courageous Christian Father since 2012. I enjoy listening to Christian Music. I am married with 1 daughter, 2 step-sons and a step daughter.

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