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Mark 11:5

ESV And some of those standing there said to them, “What are you doing, untying the colt?”
NIV some people standing there asked, 'What are you doing, untying that colt?'
NASB And some of the bystanders were saying to them, 'What are you doing, untying the colt?'
CSB and some of those standing there said to them, "What are you doing, untying the colt? "
NLT As they were untying it, some bystanders demanded, 'What are you doing, untying that colt?'
KJV And certain of them that stood there said unto them, What do ye, loosing the colt?

What does Mark 11:5 mean?

Jesus has sent two disciples to a village on the Mount of Olives to find a colt, untie it, and bring it back to Him. As He warned the disciples would happen, nearby men challenge the apparent theft. Matthew more specifically states the disciples have come to find a donkey jenny and her colt (Matthew 21:2). A donkey sounds like an odd mount for a king, but Jews greatly value donkeys. Using this animal also serves to separate Jesus' earthly mission with a more military choice, such as a horse.

People in Jesus' time use many large animals, such as camels, oxen, and horses. None are so flexible as the donkey. Donkeys in Israel are relatively small but still strong. They can be ridden or fitted with a pack and led. Some are used to power grain mills. Although donkeys have a reputation for being stubborn, they are smarter and more resilient than horses, and more sure-footed over rough terrain.

Donkeys are apparently one of the only animals the Israelites esteem, but which they cannot eat (Exodus 34:19–20; Leviticus 11:2). Wild predators, such as coyotes and wolves, are afraid of them, making them good watch animals for sheep. Mules may surpass donkeys in intelligence and versatility, but Jewish scholars interpret the ban of mixed cattle, seeds, and cloth to extend to horse-donkey hybrids (Leviticus 19:19; Deuteronomy 22:9–11), and virtually all mules are infertile, which limits their usefulness to a small farmer.
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