Avraham Hai

Rider on a Mule

Hands grasping missing reins, the bronze rider sits far back along the rump of his flat headed mount. Elie Borowski interprets the strange bulbous features on the face of the rider as a lion’s mask. Borowski asserts that the rider is a prophet—a man of God—who, when he shows his face in public, wears a mask or veil. Similarly, Moses, after he had spoken with God, wore a veil to hide the radiance of his face (Exodus 34:34). Found in southern Syria and dated to the early second millennium B.C.E., this 6-inch high statue, Borowski suggests, may be the famous diviner Balaam whose altercation with his disobedient donkey is related in Numbers 22–24.