Ass in Fausset's Bible Dictionary
Hebrew athon; from athan, 'short in step".
1. The domestic she ass, named so from its slowness.
2. The chamor, the he ass, whether domesticated or
not, distinguished from the athon; Genesis 45:23. From chamar,
"red," as the Spaniards call the donkey "burro," from its red
color. Used in riding and plowing. Not held in contempt for
stupidity, as with us. Issachar is compared to an "ass, strong
boned, crouching down between the hurdles (Genesis 49:14): he
saw that rest was a good and the land pleasant; so he bowed
his shoulder to bear, and became servant unto tribute;" ease
at the cost of liberty would be his characteristic. Robust,
and with a prime agricultural inheritance, his people would
strive after material good, rather than political rule. The
prohibition of horses rendered the donkey the more esteemed in
Israel. In the E. it is a far superior animal to ours...