“Do Not Become Unevenly Yoked”
AS YOU can see here, the camel and the bull that are plowing together look very uncomfortable. The yoke linking them together—intended for two animals of similar size and strength—makes both beasts suffer. Concerned about the welfare of such draft animals, God told the Israelites: “You must not plow with a bull and an ass together.” (Deuteronomy 22:10) The same principle would apply to a bull and a camel.
Normally, a farmer would not impose such a hardship on his animals. But if he did not have two bulls, he might yoke together two animals he had available. Apparently, this is what the 19th-century farmer in the illustration decided to do. Because of the difference in their size and weight, the weaker animal would have to struggle to keep up the pace, and the stronger would have a greater burden to bear.
The apostle Paul used the illustration of an uneven yoking to teach us an important lesson. “Do not become unevenly yoked with unbelievers,” he wrote. “For what fellowship do righteousness and lawlessness have? Or what sharing does light have with darkness?” (2 Corinthians 6:14) How could a Christian become unevenly yoked?
One way would be if a Christian chose a marriage mate who did not share his or her beliefs. Such a union would prove uncomfortable for both parties, the couple disagreeing on fundamental issues.
When Jehovah originated marriage, he gave the wife the role of “a complement,” or “counterpart.” (Genesis 2:18; footnote) Likewise, through the prophet Malachi, God referred to a wife as a “partner.” (Malachi 2:14) Our Creator wants married couples to pull together in the same spiritual direction, sharing the burdens and reaping the benefits equitably.
By marrying “only in the Lord,” a Christian shows respect for our heavenly Father’s counsel. (1 Corinthians 7:39) This lays a foundation for a united marriage, which can bring praise and honor to God as both spouses serve him as ‘genuine yokefellows’ in a special sense.—Philippians 4:3.
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Camel and ox: From the book La Tierra Santa, Volume 1, 1830