The wooden collar which joins two animals, usually oxen, to enable them to pull together. Used metaphorically the term may denote the partnership of those who share a yoke or, more usually, the subjection of those under a yoke. As his covenant partners God’s people are yoked to him and he will break the oppressive yoke of their enemies.
Literal references to yokes
1Sa 6:7; 1Ki 19:19 See also Job 1:3; Job 42:12; Lk 14:19 Cows that have never been yoked are offered as sacrifices: Nu 19:2; Dt 21:3 Ox yokes are used to burn slaughtered animals: 2Sa 24:22; 1Ki 19:21
The yoke as a symbol of partnership
Partnership in Jesus Christ’s service Php 4:3
Unsuitable partnerships 2Co 6:14-16 Marriage to unbelievers: Ge 24:3-4; 1Ki 11:4; 1Co 7:39 Involvement with pagan gods: Nu 25:2-3; Ps 106:28; 1Co 10:18-21
1Co 5:9-10 too close association with the immoral
The yoke as a symbol of subjection
Israel under the yoke of enemies Dt 28:47-48; Jer 27:2 Jeremiah symbolically portrays the coming Babylonian exile. See also Isa 47:6; Jer 27:8,11-13 Hananiah’s prophecy of an early end to Babylonian oppression will be proved false: Jer 28:2-4,10-14
La 1:14; La 3:27; Hos 10:11
The yoke of other masters Ge 27:40 Esau will throw off the yoke of Jacob. The people’s complaint about harsh servitude under Solomon is ignored by Rehoboam: 1Ki 12:4 pp 2Ch 10:4; 1Ki 12:9-11 pp 2Ch 10:9-11; 1Ki 12:14 pp 2Ch 10:14 God’s people are urged to lift the yoke of injustice and oppression from their fellows: Isa 58:6,9
1Ti 6:1 Slaves are to respect their masters.
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