Speak, ye that ride on white asses
Though in some countries, as in ours, it is reckoned disgraceful to ride on asses; so Leo Africanus F2 makes mention of a preacher in Africa, who was called the ass rider; because he was continually, sitting on an ass; yet in Judea, where there were no horses, or very few, it was accounted honourable; so it was in the time of our Lord; for his riding on an ass to Jerusalem was not mean and disgraceful, but honourable and glorious: and so it certainly was in those early times of the judges; for we read of the sons of two of them, which were very numerous, that rode on asses' colts, ( Judges 10:4 ) ( 12:14 ) , and it seems that white asses were the most valuable, and chiefly used by great personages. The ass in the Hebrew language has its name from redness, that being the usual colour of them in those parts; and hence they were hateful to the Egyptians, because that their Typhon was of that colour F3; but there were some that were white, as there are wild ones now of that colour. A traveller
ye that sit
which seems to describe judges upon the bench, sitting to hear and try causes, and pass righteous judgment; these are also exhorted to give thanks to the Lord, that they were now restored to their seats of judgment, from which they were driven; or where they could not peaceably exercise their office, which they now might and did: Cocceius renders the word "on measures", as if these were persons that presided over measures, and took care that they were just and right. Though Kimchi and Ben Melech say, that Middin, which we render "in judgment", is either the name of a city in the book of Joshua, (See Gill on Joshua 15:61), or the name of a way F6 well known, in which they were afraid to go because of the enemy, but now went in it with safety, and therefore had reason to speak well of God, and praise his name; but this is rather intended in the next clause:
and walk by
the common people that travelled from place to place on business, who before were obliged to leave the public roads, and go in byways, ( Judges 5:6 ) but now could travel in the common road without fear, and therefore ought to be thankful.
F2 Descriptio Africae, l. 5. p. 574.
F3 Plutarch. de Iside.
F4 Cartwright's Preacher's Travels, p. 106.
F5 Ludolph. Ethiop. Hist. l. 1. c. 10. Vid. Philostorg. Eccles. Hist. l. 3. c. 11.
F6 Vid. David de Pomis Lexic. fol. 19. 3.