yoke

yoke

A wooden or iron frame for joining two oxen or other draft animals so they can pull a plow, cart, or other heavy load. A yoke generally consisted of a single crossbar with leather or rope nooses or wooden rods that were fastened around the animals’ necks (Jer 27:2). The crossbar was attached to a shaft that pulled the load (Deut 21:3; 1Sam 6:7; 1Sam 11:5; 1Kgs 19:19). A “yoke of oxen” might refer to a pair of oxen (1Sam 11:7; 1Kgs 19:21; Luke 14:19). The image of a yoke was used figuratively as a symbol of hardship, submission, or servitude. Jeremiah wore a yoke to symbolize his message that Judah should submit to Babylon (Jer 27-28). The image of a yoke may also be used with reference to other burdens or responsibilities, such as hard service (1Kgs 12:1-11), sin (Lam 1:14), service to God (Lam 3:27; Jer 2:20; Jer 5:5), or obedience to Torah (Acts 15:10; Matt 11:29-30).

Jer 27:2

2Thus the Lord said to me: Make yourself a yoke of straps and bars, and put them on your neck.

Deut 21:3

3The elders of the town nearest the body shall take a heifer that has never been worked, one that has not pulled in the yoke;

1Sam 6:7

7Now then, get ready a new cart and two milch cows that have never borne a yoke, and yoke the cows to the cart, but take their calves home, away from them.

1Sam 11:5

5Now Saul was coming from the field behind the oxen; and Saul said, “What is the matter with the people, that they are weeping?” So they told him the message fr ... View more

1Kgs 19:19

Elisha Becomes Elijah's Disciple
19So he set out from there, and found Elisha son of Shaphat, who was plowing. There were twelve yoke of oxen ahead of him, and ... View more

1Sam 11:7

7He took a yoke of oxen, and cut them in pieces and sent them throughout all the territory of Israel by messengers, saying, “Whoever does not come out after Sau ... View more

1Kgs 19:21

21He returned from following him, took the yoke of oxen, and slaughtered them; using the equipment from the oxen, he boiled their flesh, and gave it to the peop ... View more

Luke 14:19

19Another said, ‘I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I am going to try them out; please accept my regrets.’

Jer 27-28

The Sign of the Yoke
1In the beginning of the reign of King Zedekiah son of Josiah of Judah, this word came to Jeremiah from the Lord.2Thus the Lord said to me: ... View more

1Kgs 12:1-11

The Northern Tribes Secede
1Rehoboam went to Shechem, for all Israel had come to Shechem to make him king.2When Jeroboam son of Nebat heard of it (for he was st ... View more

Lam 1:14

14My transgressions were bound into a yoke;
by his hand they were fastened together;
they weigh on my neck,
sapping my strength;
the Lord handed me over
to thos ... View more

Lam 3:27

27It is good for one to bear
the yoke in youth,

Jer 2:20

20For long ago you broke your yoke
and burst your bonds,
and you said, “I will not serve!”
On every high hill
and under every green tree
you sprawled and played ... View more

Jer 5:5

5Let me go to the rich
and speak to them;
surely they know the way of the Lord,
the law of their God.”
But they all alike had broken the yoke,
they had burst th ... View more

Acts 15:10

10Now therefore why are you putting God to the test by placing on the neck of the disciples a yoke that neither our ancestors nor we have been able to bear?

Matt 11:29-30

29Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.30For my yoke is easy, and my burden is l ... View more

 NEH Logo
Bible Odyssey has been made possible in part by the National Endowment for the Humanities: Exploring the human endeavor
Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this website, do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities.