|Easton's Bible Dictionary|
(1.) 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.
(2.) In Jeremiah 27:2; 28:10, 12 the 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).
(3.) In 1 Samuel 11:7, 1 Kings 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."
Noah Webster's Dictionary
1. (n.) A bar or frame of wood by which two oxen are joined at the heads or necks for working together.
2. (n.) A frame or piece resembling a yoke, as in use or shape.
3. (n.) A frame of wood fitted to a person's shoulders for carrying pails, etc., suspended on each side; as, a milkmaid's yoke.
4. (n.) A frame worn on the neck of an animal, as a cow, a pig, a goose, to prevent passage through a fence.
5. (n.) A frame or convex piece by which a bell is hung for ringing it. See Illust. of Bell.
6. (n.) A crosspiece upon the head of a boat's rudder. To its ends lines are attached which lead forward so that the boat can be steered from amidships.
7. (n.) A bent crosspiece connecting two other parts.
8. (n.) A tie securing two timbers together, not used for part of a regular truss, but serving a temporary purpose, as to provide against unusual strain.
9. (n.) A band shaped to fit the shoulders or the hips, and joined to the upper full edge of the waist or the skirt.
10. (n.) Fig.: That which connects or binds; a chain; a link; a bond connection.
11. (n.) A mark of servitude; hence, servitude; slavery; bondage; service.
12. (n.) Two animals yoked together; a couple; a pair that work together.
13. (n.) The quantity of land plowed in a day by a yoke of oxen.
14. (n.) A portion of the working day; as, to work two yokes, that is, to work both portions of the day, or morning and afternoon.
15. (v. t.) To put a yoke on; to join in or with a yoke; as, to yoke oxen, or pair of oxen.
16. (v. t.) To couple; to join with another.
17. (v. t.) To enslave; to bring into bondage; to restrain; to confine.
18. (v. i.) To be joined or associated; to be intimately connected; to consort closely; to mate.
Int. 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, 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; Jeremiah 5:5; Jeremiah 27:2; Jeremiah 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), 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.
The figurative use of "yoke" in the sense of "servitude" is intensely obvious (compare especially Jeremiah 27, 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
Yoke (79 Occurrences)
Matthew 11:29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart; and you will find rest for your souls. (WEB KJV WEY ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)
Matthew 11:30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light." (WEB KJV WEY ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)
Luke 14:19 "Another said,'I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I must go try them out. Please have me excused.' (WEB KJV WEY ASV DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)
Acts 15:10 Now therefore why do you tempt God, that you should put a yoke on the neck of the disciples which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear? (WEB KJV WEY ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)
Galatians 5:1 Stand firm therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and don't be entangled again with a yoke of bondage. (WEB KJV WEY ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)
Ephesians 4:3 Taking care to keep the harmony of the Spirit in the yoke of peace. (BBE)
1 Timothy 5:11 But the younger widows you must not enrol; for as soon as they begin to chafe against the yoke of Christ, they want to marry, (WEY)
1 Timothy 6:1 Let as many as are bondservants under the yoke count their own masters worthy of all honor, that the name of God and the doctrine not be blasphemed. (WEB KJV WEY ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)
Genesis 27:40 By your sword will you live, and you will serve your brother. It will happen, when you will break loose, that you shall shake his yoke from off your neck." (WEB KJV JPS ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)
Exodus 6:5 And truly my ears are open to the cry of the children of Israel whom the Egyptians keep under their yoke; and I have kept in mind my agreement. (BBE)
Exodus 6:6 Say then to the children of Israel, I am Yahweh, and I will take you out from under the yoke of the Egyptians, and make you safe from their power, and will make you free by the strength of my arm after great punishments. (BBE NIV)
Exodus 6:7 And I will take you to be my people and I will be your God; and you will be certain that I am the Lord your God, who takes you out from under the yoke of the Egyptians. (BBE NIV)
Exodus 18:10 And Jethro said, Praise be to the Lord, who has taken you out of the hand of Pharaoh and out of the hand of the Egyptians; freeing the people from the yoke of the Egyptians. (BBE)
Leviticus 26:13 I am Yahweh your God, who brought you forth out of the land of Egypt, that you should not be their slaves; and I have broken the bars of your yoke, and made you go upright. (WEB KJV JPS ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)
Numbers 19:2 "This is the statute of the law which Yahweh has commanded: Speak to the children of Israel, that they bring you a red heifer without spot, in which is no blemish, and on which never came yoke. (WEB KJV JPS ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)
Deuteronomy 6:21 Then you will say to your son, We were servants under Pharaoh's yoke in Egypt; and the Lord took us out of Egypt with a strong hand: (BBE)
Deuteronomy 21:3 and it shall be, that the city which is nearest to the slain man, even the elders of that city shall take a heifer of the herd, which hasn't been worked with, and which has not drawn in the yoke; (WEB KJV JPS ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)
Deuteronomy 26:6 And the Egyptians were cruel to us, crushing us under a hard yoke: (BBE)
Deuteronomy 28:48 therefore you shall serve your enemies whom Yahweh shall send against you, in hunger, and in thirst, and in nakedness, and in want of all things: and he shall put a yoke of iron on your neck, until he has destroyed you. (WEB KJV JPS ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)
Deuteronomy 30:7 And the Lord your God will put all these curses on those who are against you, and on your haters who put a cruel yoke on you. (BBE)
Judges 10:8 And that year the children of Israel were crushed under their yoke; for eighteen years all the children of Israel on the other side of Jordan, in the land of the Amorites which is in Gilead, were cruelly crushed down. (BBE)
1 Samuel 6:7 "Now therefore take and prepare yourselves a new cart, and two milk cows, on which there has come no yoke; and tie the cows to the cart, and bring their calves home from them; (WEB KJV JPS ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)
1 Samuel 11:7 He took a yoke of oxen, and cut them in pieces, and sent them throughout all the borders of Israel by the hand of messengers, saying, "Whoever doesn't come forth after Saul and after Samuel, so shall it be done to his oxen." The dread of Yahweh fell on the people, and they came out as one man. (WEB KJV JPS ASV DBY WBS NAS RSV)
1 Samuel 14:14 And that first slaughter, which Jonathan and his armourbearer made, was about twenty men, within as it were an half acre of land, which a yoke of oxen might plow. (KJV WBS YLT)
1 Kings 12:4 "Your father made our yoke grievous: now therefore make you the grievous service of your father, and his heavy yoke which he put on us, lighter, and we will serve you." (WEB KJV JPS ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)
1 Kings 12:9 He said to them, "What counsel do you give, that we may return answer to this people, who have spoken to me, saying,'Make the yoke that your father did put on us lighter?'" (WEB KJV JPS ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)
1 Kings 12:10 The young men who had grown up with him spoke to him, saying, "Thus you shall tell this people who spoke to you, saying,'Your father made our yoke heavy, but make it lighter to us;' you shall say to them,'My little finger is thicker than my father's waist. (WEB KJV JPS ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)
1 Kings 12:11 Now whereas my father burdened you with a heavy yoke, I will add to your yoke: my father chastised you with whips, but I will chastise you with scorpions.'" (WEB KJV JPS ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)
1 Kings 12:14 and spoke to them according to the counsel of the young men, saying, "My father made your yoke heavy, but I will add to your yoke. My father chastised you with whips, but I will chastise you with scorpions." (WEB KJV JPS ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)
1 Kings 19:19 So he departed there, and found Elisha the son of Shaphat, who was plowing, with twelve yoke of oxen before him, and he with the twelfth: and Elijah passed over to him, and cast his mantle on him. (WEB KJV JPS ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT RSV NIV)
1 Kings 19:21 He returned from following him, and took the yoke of oxen, and killed them, and boiled their flesh with the instruments of the oxen, and gave to the people, and they ate. Then he arose, and went after Elijah, and served him. (WEB KJV JPS ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT RSV NIV)
2 Kings 17:7 And the wrath of the Lord came on Israel because they had done evil against the Lord their God, who took them out of the land of Egypt from under the yoke of Pharaoh, king of Egypt, and had become worshippers of other gods, (BBE)
2 Chronicles 10:4 Your father made our yoke grievous: now therefore make you the grievous service of your father, and his heavy yoke which he put on us, lighter, and we will serve you. (WEB KJV JPS ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)
2 Chronicles 10:9 He said to them, What counsel do you give, that we may return answer to this people, who have spoken to me, saying, Make the yoke that your father did put on us lighter? (WEB KJV JPS ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)
2 Chronicles 10:10 The young men who had grown up with him spoke to him, saying, Thus you shall tell the people who spoke to you, saying, Your father made our yoke heavy, but make it lighter on us; thus you shall say to them, My little finger is thicker than my father's waist. (WEB KJV JPS ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)
2 Chronicles 10:11 Now whereas my father burdened you with a heavy yoke, I will add to your yoke: my father chastised you with whips, but I will chastise you with scorpions. (WEB KJV JPS ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)
2 Chronicles 10:14 and spoke to them after the counsel of the young men, saying, My father made your yoke heavy, but I will add thereto: my father chastised you with whips, but I will chastise you with scorpions. (WEB KJV JPS ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)
2 Chronicles 12:8 But still they will become his servants, so that they may see how different my yoke is from the yoke of the kingdoms of the lands. (BBE)
2 Chronicles 28:10 And now your purpose is to keep the children of Judah and Jerusalem as men-servants and women-servants under your yoke: but are there no sins against the Lord your God to be seen among yourselves? (BBE)
Nehemiah 5:18 Now the food made ready for one day was one ox and six fat sheep, as well as fowls; and once in ten days a store of all sorts of wine: but all the same, I did not take the food to which the ruler had a right, because the people were crushed under a hard yoke. (BBE)
Job 1:3 His possessions also were seven thousand sheep, three thousand camels, five hundred yoke of oxen, five hundred female donkeys, and a very great household; so that this man was the greatest of all the children of the east. (WEB KJV JPS ASV DBY WBS NAS RSV NIV)
Job 42:12 So Yahweh blessed the latter end of Job more than his beginning. He had fourteen thousand sheep, six thousand camels, one thousand yoke of oxen, and a thousand female donkeys. (WEB KJV JPS ASV DBY WBS NAS RSV NIV)
Isaiah 3:15 By what right are you crushing my people, and putting a bitter yoke on the necks of the poor? This is the word of the Lord, the Lord of armies. (BBE)
Isaiah 9:4 For the yoke of his burden, and the staff of his shoulder, the rod of his oppressor, you have broken as in the day of Midian. (WEB KJV JPS ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)
Isaiah 10:27 It will happen in that day, that his burden will depart from off your shoulder, and his yoke from off your neck, and the yoke shall be destroyed because of the anointing oil. (WEB KJV JPS ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)
Isaiah 14:3 And it will be, in the day when the Lord gives you rest from your sorrow, and from your trouble, and from the hard yoke which they had put on you, (BBE)
Isaiah 14:25 that I will break the Assyrian in my land, and tread him under foot on my mountains. Then his yoke will leave them, and his burden leave their shoulders. (WEB KJV JPS ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)
Isaiah 47:6 I was angry with my people, I profaned my inheritance, and gave them into your hand: you showed them no mercy; on the aged you have very heavily laid your yoke. (WEB KJV JPS ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)
Isaiah 51:23 And I will put it into the hand of your cruel masters, and of those whose yoke has been hard on you; who have said to your soul, Down on your face! so that we may go over you: and you have given your backs like the earth, even like the street, for them to go over. (BBE)
Isaiah 52:4 For the Lord God says, My people went down at first into Egypt, to get a place for themselves there: and the Assyrian put a cruel yoke on them without cause. (BBE)
Isaiah 58:6 "Isn't this the fast that I have chosen: to loose the bonds of wickedness, to undo the bands of the yoke, and to let the oppressed go free, and that you break every yoke? (WEB KJV JPS ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)
Isaiah 58:9 Then you shall call, and Yahweh will answer; you shall cry, and he will say,'Here I am.' "If you take away from the midst of you the yoke, the putting forth of the finger, and speaking wickedly; (WEB KJV JPS ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)
Jeremiah 2:20 For of old time I have broken your yoke, and burst your bonds; and you said, I will not serve; for on every high hill and under every green tree you bowed yourself, playing the prostitute. (WEB KJV JPS ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)
Jeremiah 5:5 I will get me to the great men, and will speak to them; for they know the way of Yahweh, and the law of their God. But these with one accord have broken the yoke, and burst the bonds. (WEB KJV JPS ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)
Jeremiah 27:8 It shall happen, that the nation and the kingdom which will not serve the same Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, and that will not put their neck under the yoke of the king of Babylon, that nation will I punish, says Yahweh, with the sword, and with the famine, and with the pestilence, until I have consumed them by his hand. (WEB KJV JPS ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)
Jeremiah 27:11 But the nation that shall bring their neck under the yoke of the king of Babylon, and serve him, that nation will I let remain in their own land, says Yahweh; and they shall till it, and dwell therein. (WEB KJV JPS ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)
Jeremiah 27:12 I spoke to Zedekiah king of Judah according to all these words, saying, Bring your necks under the yoke of the king of Babylon, and serve him and his people, and live. (WEB KJV JPS ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)
Jeremiah 28:2 Thus speaks Yahweh of Armies, the God of Israel, saying, I have broken the yoke of the king of Babylon. (WEB KJV JPS ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)
Jeremiah 28:4 and I will bring again to this place Jeconiah the son of Jehoiakim, king of Judah, with all the captives of Judah, who went to Babylon, says Yahweh; for I will break the yoke of the king of Babylon. Lamentations (WEB KJV JPS ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)
Jeremiah 28:10 Then Hananiah the prophet took the yoke from off the prophet Jeremiah's neck, and brake it. (KJV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)
Jeremiah 28:11 Hananiah spoke in the presence of all the people, saying, Thus says Yahweh: Even so will I break the yoke of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon within two full years from off the neck of all the nations. The prophet Jeremiah went his way. (WEB KJV JPS ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)
Jeremiah 28:12 Then the word of the LORD came unto Jeremiah the prophet, after that Hananiah the prophet had broken the yoke from off the neck of the prophet Jeremiah, saying, (KJV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)
Jeremiah 28:13 Go and tell Hananiah, saying, Thus saith the LORD; Thou hast broken the yokes of wood; but thou shalt make for them yokes of iron. (Root in KJV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS NIV)
Jeremiah 28:14 For thus says Yahweh of Armies, the God of Israel: I have put a yoke of iron on the neck of all these nations, that they may serve Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon; and they shall serve him: and I have given him the animals of the field also. (WEB KJV JPS ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)
Jeremiah 30:8 It shall come to pass in that day, says Yahweh of Armies, that I will break his yoke from off your neck, and will burst your bonds; and strangers shall no more make him their bondservant; (WEB KJV JPS ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)
Jeremiah 31:18 I have surely heard Ephraim bemoaning himself thus, You have chastised me, and I was chastised, as a calf unaccustomed to the yoke : turn me, and I shall be turned; for you are Yahweh my God. (WEB KJV ASV BBE WBS)
Jeremiah 34:11 But later, they took back again the servants and the servant-girls whom they had let go free, and put them again under the yoke as servants and servant-girls. (BBE)
Jeremiah 34:16 But again you have put shame on my name, and you have taken back, every one his man-servant and his servant-girl, whom you had sent away free, and you have put them under the yoke again to be your servants and servant-girls. (BBE)
Jeremiah 51:23 and with you will I break in pieces the shepherd and his flock; and with you will I break in pieces the farmer and his yoke of oxen; and with you will I break in pieces governors and deputies. (WEB KJV JPS ASV DBY WBS)
Lamentations 1:1 See her seated by herself, the town which was full of people! She who was great among the nations has become like a widow! She who was a princess among the countries has come under the yoke of forced work! (BBE)
Lamentations 1:14 The yoke of my transgressions is bound by his hand; They are knit together, they are come up on my neck; he has made my strength to fail: The Lord has delivered me into their hands, against whom I am not able to stand. (WEB KJV JPS ASV DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)
Lamentations 3:27 It is good for a man that he bear the yoke in his youth. (WEB KJV JPS ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)
Lamentations 5:5 Our pursuers are on our necks: We are weary, and have no rest. (See RSV)
Ezekiel 30:18 At Tehaphnehes also the day shall withdraw itself, when I shall break there the yokes of Egypt, and the pride of her power shall cease in her: as for her, a cloud shall cover her, and her daughters shall go into captivity. (Root in WEB KJV JPS ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS NIV)
Ezekiel 34:27 The tree of the field shall yield its fruit, and the earth shall yield its increase, and they shall be secure in their land; and they shall know that I am Yahweh, when I have broken the bars of their yoke, and have delivered them out of the hand of those who made slaves of them. (WEB KJV JPS ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)
Hosea 10:11 Ephraim is a trained heifer that loves to thresh; so I will put a yoke on her beautiful neck. I will set a rider on Ephraim. Judah will plow. Jacob will break his clods. (WEB BBE NAS RSV NIV)
Hosea 11:4 I drew them with cords of a man, with ties of love; and I was to them like those who lift up the yoke on their necks; and I bent down to him and I fed him. (WEB KJV JPS ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)
Hosea 11:7 My people are determined to turn from me. Though they call to the Most High, he certainly won't exalt them. (See RSV)
Nahum 1:13 Now will I break his yoke from off you, and will burst your bonds apart." (WEB KJV JPS ASV BBE DBY WBS NAS RSV NIV)