From all the things God commanded His people, the Israelites, this one command got my attention last week:
“Do not plow with an ox and a donkey yoked together.” (Deuteronomy 22:10)
Okay, I clearly understand those commands such as, “Don’t kill” and “Don’t do adultery”; but “don’t yoke an ox and a donkey” command kind of got me a bit confused.
So, I sat down with my Bible thinking and searching about this one verse for quite sometimes and I will share with you what I found out.
Why didn’t God want His people to plow the ground with two kinds of animals?
Well, the other place we find the word “yoked together” is found on 2 Corinthians 6:14a; it says, “ Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers.”
So, there must be some kind of relationship between these two Bible verses, don’t you think so?
Well, some theologians say “Maybe or maybe not” but for me personally, I believe that these two verses do relate and I will tell you why I said that.
These two different animals, an ox and a donkey, other than both of them being herbivorous animals (animals which eat plants), they have distinctly different characters and two of those characters are these: A donkey has a much smaller body than an ox; and because of its size, its strides are much shorter than the ox.
These differences are major when they both are considered to be yoked together to plow the ground because their movements won’t be equal and one or both of them suffer pain throughout the process of plowing.
Well, the interesting characteristic difference they have is not there; but here:
An ox is a very clean animal when it comes to what kind of plant it lets into its mouth. It is a very selective animal. Just because it is hungry and a plant is on its way, an ox doesn’t eat it. (Clue! Clue! Clue!)
When we come to a donkey, the story is very different. A donkey eats any plant on its way, including those poisonous “weeds and plant species.” (Wow, do you already see where I’m going with this?)
Because the donkey eats anything including those “coarse and poisonous” plants, its mouth stinks very badly! That is not a big deal for an ox until it has to be yoked with a donkey for the whole day.
No two animals can be in that close proximity unless they are yoked, “joined” together for the whole day, for one common goal and purpose, to plow the ground. (Genesis 2:21-24)
One or both of them can’t say, “I can’t take this. This is painful!”
No, my dear, they can’t say that. They are yoked for the long haul!
Don’t miss this:
If a farmer continues to “yoke” together an ox and a donkey, the ox eventually die of the donkey’s bad breath. The donkey’s bad breath is a lethal chemical to the ox (this is scientifically proven and the practice is discouraged but it is still seen in some third world countries.)
So, when the Bible says, “ Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers,” in a nutshell, it is saying this to the believers of Jesus Christ:
“Deciding to marry a person who doesn’t believe in Christ is a lethal decision because it will eventually lead a Christian’s spiritual life into weakness and even death.”
So, here is the message: Do not get yoked with an unbeliever, don’t even date him/her. If you are in the process of dating and thinking of marrying an unbeliever, remind yourself of the above two Bible verses so that you may rethink your decision before it is too late. ///