What the scriptures say about
YOKE
n. crosspiece for joining two oxen; v. couple, unite
References:
Easton's Bible Dictionary | Smith's Bible Dictionary | International Standard Bible Encyclopedia

YOKE in scriptures [BibleGateway Search]   Site search: FreeFind

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Jeremiah 28:2
Matthew 11:28-30 (take Jesus' yoke on; unite with Him)


YOKE [Easton's Bible Dictionary]

  • Fitted on the neck of oxen for the purpose of binding to them the traces by which they might draw the plough, etc. (Numbers 19:2; Deuteronomy 21:3). It was a curved piece of wood called 'Ol .

  • In Jeremiah 27:2; 28:10,12the word in the Authorized Version rendered "yoke" is Motah , which properly means a "staff," or as in the Revised Version, "bar."
    These words in the Hebrew are both used figuratively of severe bondage, or affliction, or subjection (Leviticus 26:13; 1 Kings 12:4; Isaiah 47:6; Lamentations 1:14; 3:27).

    In the New Testament the word "yoke" is also used to denote servitude (Matthew 11:29,30; Acts 15:10; Galatians 5:1).

  • In 1Sam 1 Samuel 19:21, Job 1:3 the word thus translated is Tzemed , Which signifies a pair, two oxen yoked or coupled together, and hence in 1 Samuel 14:14 it represents as much land as a yoke of oxen could plough in a day, like the Latin Jugum . In Isaiah 5:10 this word in the plural is translated "acres."

  • YOKE [Smith's Bible Dictionary]

    1. A well-known implement of husbandry, frequently used metaphorically for subjection , e.g. (1 Kings 12:4,9-11; Isaiah 9:4; Jeremiah 5:5) hence an "iron yoke" represents an unusually galling bondage. ( 28:48; Jeremiah 28:13)

    2. A pair of oxen, so termed as being yoked together. (1 Samuel 11:7; 1 Kings 19:19,21) The Hebrew term is also applied to asses, (Judges 19:10) and mules, (2 Kings 5:17) and even to a couple of riders. (Isaiah 21:7)

    3. The term is also applied to a certain amount of land, (1 Samuel 14:14) equivalent to that which a couple of oxen could plough in a day, (Isaiah 5:10) (Authorized Version "acre"), corresponding to the Latin jugum .


    YOKE [International Standard Bible Encyclopedia]

    (1) The usual word is `ol (Genesis 27:40, etc.), less commonly the (apparently later) form moTah (Isaiah 58:6, etc.; in Nab 1:13 moT), which the Revised Version (British and American) in Jeremiah 27; 28 translates "bar" (a most needless and obscuring change). The Greek in Apocrypha (Sirach 28:19, etc.) and in the New Testament (Matthew 11:29 f, etc.) is invariably zugos.

    Egyptian monuments show a yoke that consisted of a straight bar fastened to the foreheads of the cattle at the root of the horns, and such yokes were no doubt used in Palestine also; but the more usual form was one that rested on the neck (Genesis 27:40, etc.). It was provided with straight "bars" (moToth in Leviticus 26:13; Ezekiel 34:27) projecting downward, against which the shoulders of the oxen pressed, and it was held in position by thongs or "bonds" (moceroth in Jeremiah 2:20; 5:5; 27:2; 30:8; 'aghuddoth in Isaiah 58:6, "bands"), fastened under the animals' throats. Such yokes could of course be of any weight (1 Kings 12:4 ff), depending on the nature of the work to be done, but the use of "iron yokes" (Deuteronomy 28:48; Jeremiah 28:13 f) must have been very rare, if, indeed, the phrase is anything more than a figure of speech.

    What is meant by "the yoke on their jaws" in Hosea 11:4 is quite obscure. Possibly a horse's bit is meant; possibly the phrase is a condensed form for "the yoke that prevents their feeding"; possibly the text is corrupt.

    See JAW; JAWBONE; JAW TEETH .

    The figurative use of "yoke" in the sense of "servitude" is intensely obvious (compare especially Jeremiah 27, Jeremiah 28). Attention needs to be called only to Lamentations 3:27, where "disciplining sorrow" is meant, and to Jeremiah 5:5, where the phrase is a figure for "the law of God." This last use became popular with the Jews at a later period and it is found, e.g. in Apocrypha Baruch 41:3; Psalter of Solomon 7:9; 17:32; Ab. iii.7,. and in this sense the phrase is employed. by Christ in Matthew 11:29 f. "My yoke" here means "the service of God as I teach it" (the common interpretation, "the sorrows that I bear," is utterly irrelevant) and the emphasis is on "my." The contrast is not between "yoke" and "no yoke," but between "my teaching" (light yoke) and "the current scribal teaching'; (heavy yoke).

    (2) "Yoke" in the sense of "a pair of oxen" is tsemedh (1 Samuel 11:7, etc.), or zeugos (Luke 14:19).

    See also UNEQUAL ; YOKE-FELLOW .

    Burton Scott Easton


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