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Wilson's Dictionary of Bible Types
Genesis 36:24 (c) If this word is correctly understood, then there is a wonderful lesson to be found in this passage. Mules were found in the wilderness because the asses had been mingling with the horses and producing these fine work animals while it was all unknown to the owners. It is the story of "unearned increment." It is the story of GOD granting rich blessing and increase without our definite planning or knowledge. GOD does this for His children frequently.
2 Samuel 18:9 (c) In this story we see a picture of the disappointment which comes to those who trust in human devices and rest their hopes on earthly provisions. Absalom had hoped to use the mule either to carry him to victory, or else to carry him to safety. He was disappointed in both cases, and the mule became the means of his death. It is a warning to us not to place our confidence in any means or methods provided by earth's resources. The animal represents any doctrine, or theory, or religion which is man-made, and on which one often depends for salvation and deliverance. It will fail us in the hour of need.
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Watson, Walter. Entry for 'Mule'. Wilson's Dictoinary of Bible Types. https://www.studylight.org/dictionaries/eng/wdt/m/mule.html. 1957.