Hosea 11:4
Parallel Verses
New International Version
I led them with cords of human kindness, with ties of love. To them I was like one who lifts a little child to the cheek, and I bent down to feed them.

New Living Translation
I led Israel along with my ropes of kindness and love. I lifted the yoke from his neck, and I myself stooped to feed him.

English Standard Version
I led them with cords of kindness, with the bands of love, and I became to them as one who eases the yoke on their jaws, and I bent down to them and fed them.

New American Standard Bible
I led them with cords of a man, with bonds of love, And I became to them as one who lifts the yoke from their jaws; And I bent down and fed them.

King James Bible
I drew them with cords of a man, with bands of love: and I was to them as they that take off the yoke on their jaws, and I laid meat unto them.

Holman Christian Standard Bible
I led them with human cords, with ropes of love. To them I was like one who eases the yoke from their jaws; I bent down to give them food.

International Standard Version
I guided them with human kindness, with loving reins. I acted toward them like one who removes a yoke from their neck; I bent down and fed them.

NET Bible
I led them with leather cords, with leather ropes; I lifted the yoke from their neck, and gently fed them.

GOD'S WORD® Translation
I led them with cords of human kindness, with ropes of love. I removed the yokes from their necks. I bent down and fed them.

Jubilee Bible 2000
I drew them with human cords, with bands of love, and I was to them as those that raise the yoke from upon their cheeks, and I fed them.

King James 2000 Bible
I drew them with cords of compassion, with bands of love: and I was to them as they that take off the yoke from their jaws, and I laid food before them.

American King James Version
I drew them with cords of a man, with bands of love: and I was to them as they that take off the yoke on their jaws, and I laid meat to them.

American Standard Version
I drew them with cords of a man, with bands of love; and I was to them as they that lift up the yoke on their jaws; and I laid food before them.

Douay-Rheims Bible
I will draw them with the cords of Adam, with the bands of love : and I will be to them as one that taketh off the yoke on their jaws: and I put his meat to him that he might eat.

Darby Bible Translation
I drew them with bands of a man, with cords of love; and I was to them as they that take off the yoke on their jaws, and I gently caused them to eat.

English Revised Version
I drew them with cords of a man, with bands of love; and I was to them as they that take off the yoke on their jaws, and I laid meat before them.

Webster's Bible Translation
I drew them with cords of a man, with bands of love: and I was to them as they that take off the yoke on their jaws, and I laid food for them.

World English Bible
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.

Young's Literal Translation
With cords of man I do draw them, With thick cords of love, And I am to them as a raiser up of a yoke on their jaws, And I incline unto him -- I feed him.
Parallel Commentaries
Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary

11:1-7 When Israel were weak and helpless as children, foolish and froward as children, then God loved them; he bore them as the nurse does the sucking child, nourished them, and suffered their manners. All who are grown up, ought often to reflect upon the goodness of God to them in their childhood. He took care of them, took pains with them, not only as a father, or a tutor, but as a mother, or nurse. When they were in the wilderness, God showed them the way in which they should go, and bore them up, taking them by the arms. He taught them the way of his commandments by the ceremonial law given by Moses. He took them by the arms, to guide them, that they might not stray, and to hold them up, that they might not stumble and fall. God's spiritual Israel are all thus supported. It is God's work to draw poor souls to himself; and none can come to him except he draw them. With bands of love; this word signifies stronger cords than the former. He eased them of the burdens they had long groaned under. Israel is very ungrateful to God. God's counsels would have saved them, but their own counsels ruined them. They backslide; there is no hold of them, no stedfastness in them. They backslide from me, from God, the chief good. They are bent to backslide; they are ready to sin; they are forward to close with every temptation. Their hearts are fully set in them to do evil. Those only are truly happy, whom the Lord teaches by his Spirit, upholds by his power, and causes to walk in his ways. By his grace he takes away the love and dominion of sin, and creates a desire for the blessed feast of the gospel, that they may feed thereon, and live for ever.

Pulpit Commentary

Verse 4. - I drew them with cords of a man, with bands of love. This verse contains a further representation of Jehovah's fatherly guidance of Israel. The cords of a man are such as parents use in leading weak or young children. Bands of lore qualify more closely the preceding expression, "cords of a man," and are the opposite of those which men employ in taming or breaking wild and unmanageable animals. The explanation of Rashi is similar: "I have always led them with tender cords such as these with which a man leads his child, as if he said with loving guidance." Aben Ezra and Kimchi, in their explanations, carry out more fully the same idea. The former says, "The bands of love are not like the bands which are fastened on the neck of a plowing heifer;" the latter, "Because he compared Ephraim to a heifer, and people lead a heifer with cords, he says, 'I have led Israel by the cords of a man, and not the cords of a heifer which one drags along with resistance, but as a man draws his fellow-man without compelling him to go with resistance: even so I have led them after a gentle method;' and therefore he afterward calls them (cords of a man) bands of love." The LXX., taking חֶבֶל from חָבַל, in the sense of" injure," "destroy," have the mistaken rendering ἐν διαφθορᾶ ἀνθρώτων... ἐξέτεινα αὐτοὺς, "When men were destroyed I drew them." The other Greek versions have the correct rendering. And I was to them as they that take off the yoke. The word herim does not mean "to lift up on" and so "impose a yoke," as some think, nor "to take away the yoke," but "to lift it up." The figure is that of a humane and compassionate husbandman raising upwards or pushing backwards the yoke over the cheeks or dewlaps of the ox, that it may not press too heavily upon him or hinder him while eating. The reference is, according to Kimchi, to "taking the yoke off the neck, and letting it hang on the jaw, that it may not pull but rest from labor one or more hours of the day." The fact thus figuratively expressed is, not the deliverance from the bondage of Egypt, but the loving-kindness of Jehovah in lightening the fulfillment of the Law to Israel.

(2) The LXX. omit the word עֹל, yoke, and strangely translates the clause, "I will be to them as a man smiting (another) on the cheeks." And I laid meat unto them. The older and many modern interpreters,

(1) taking וְאַט as the first person future apoc., Hiph., from נטח, translate, "And I reached them food to eat," namely, the manna in the wilderness. This would require וָאַט, which some substitute for the present reading.

(2) Ewald, Keil, and others take אט as an adverb in the sense of" gradually," "gently," translating, "And gently towards him did I give him feral," or "I gently fed him." Some, again, as Kimchi, take

(a) אוכיל as a noun, after the form of אופיר; and others

(b) take it to be an anomalous form for אַאַכִיל, the first person future Hiph., like אובִיר for אַאֲבִיד (Jeremiah 46:8).

(3) In this clause also the Septuagint, probably reading as follows: וֵאַט אֵלָיו אוּכַל לו, translates, Ἐπιβλέψομαι πρὸς αὐτὸν δυνήσομαι αὐτῷ, "I will have respect to him; I will prevail with him." Continuing the several clauses of this verse, we may express the meaning of the whole as follows: "Cords of a man" denote humane methods which Jehovah employed in dealing with and drawing his people - not such cords as oxen or other animals are drawn by; while "bands of love" is a kindred expression, explaining and emphasizing the former, and signifying such leading-strings as those with which a parent lovingly guides his child. The means employed by God for the help, encouragement, and support of his people were kind as they were bountiful. His benevolent and beneficent modes of procedure are further exhibited by another figure of like origin; for just as a considerate and compassionate man, a humane husbandman, gives respite and relief to the oxen at work by loosening the yoke and lifting it up off the neck upon the cheeks; and thus affords not only temporary rest and ease, but also allows an occasional mouthful or more of food, or even abundant provender, to the animal which toils in the yoke while plowing or at other work; so Jehovah extended to Israel, notwithstanding their frequent acts of unfaithfulness, his sparing mercy and tender compassions, supplying them in abundant measure with all that they needed for the sustenance and even comforts of life. Thus their sin in turning aside to other gods, which were no gods, in quest of larger benefits and more liberal support and succor, was all the more inexcusable. The next three verses (5-7) describe the severe chastisement Israel incurred by ingratitude for, and contempt of, the Divine love.

Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible

I drew them with cords of a man, with bands of love,.... As Ephraim is compared to a heifer in the preceding chapter, here he is said to be drawn; but not with such cords and bands as cattle are, but with such as men are; in a rational and gentle way, in a kind, loving, tender, humane, friendly, and fatherly way and manner; so the Lord drew Israel on in the wilderness, till he was brought to Canaan's land, by bestowing kind favours upon them, and by making precious promises to them. So the Lord deals with his spiritual Israel; he draws them out of the present state and circumstances, in which they are by nature, to himself, and to his Son, and to follow after him, and run in the ways of his commandments; and which he does not by force and compulsion against their wills, nor by mere moral persuasion, but by the invincible power of his grace, sweetly working upon them, and attracting them; he does it by revealing Christ in them, in the glories of his person and in the riches of his grace, and by letting in his love into their hearts; and by kind invitations, precious promises, and divine teachings, attended with his powerful and efficacious grace; see Jeremiah 31:3;

and I was to them as they that take off the yoke on their jaws; as one that is merciful to his beast; as a kind and humane husbandman, when his cattle have been hard at work, takes off their bridles or muzzles, or the yokes on them, fastened with a halter about their jaws, that they may have liberty to feed on food set before them, as the next clause shows. So the Targum,

"my word was to them as a good husbandman, who lightens the shoulder of oxen, and looses "the bridles" on their jaws.''

This may refer to Israel's deliverance from their bondage in Egypt; and be spiritually applied to Christ, the essential Word of God, breaking and taking the yoke of sin, Satan, and the law from off his people, and bringing them into the liberty of the children of God. Schmidt reads and interprets the words quite otherwise, "and I was to them as they that lift up the yoke upon their jaws"; not remove it from them but put it on them; expressing their ignorance and ingratitude, who, when the Lord drew them in the kind and loving manner he did, reckoned it as if he put a yoke upon them, and treated them rather as beasts than men; but this seems not to agree with what follows:

and I laid meat unto them: or declined, or brought it down to them, to their very mouths; referring to the manna and quails he rained about their tents. So the Targum,

"and, even when they were in the wilderness, I multiplied to them good things to eat.''

And thus in a spiritual sense the Lord gives meat to them that fear him, while in the wilderness of this world; he brings it near, and sets it before them, in the ministry of the word and ordinances; even that meat which endures to everlasting life, the flesh of Christ, which is meat indeed; and the doctrines of the Gospel, which are milk for babes, and strong meat for more experienced saints.

Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary

4. cords of a man—parallel to "bands of love"; not such cords as oxen are led by, but humane methods, such as men employ when inducing others, as for instance, a father drawing his child, by leading-strings, teaching him to go (Ho 11:1).

I was … as they that take off the yoke on their jaws … I laid meat—as the humane husbandman occasionally loosens the straps under the jaws by which the yoke is bound on the neck of oxen and lays food before them to eat. An appropriate image of God's deliverance of Israel from the Egyptian yoke, and of His feeding them in the wilderness.

Hosea 11:4 Additional Commentaries
Context
Out of Egypt I called my Son
3Yet it is I who taught Ephraim to walk, I took them in My arms; But they did not know that I healed them. 4I led them with cords of a man, with bonds of love, And I became to them as one who lifts the yoke from their jaws; And I bent down and fed them. 5They will not return to the land of Egypt; But Assyria-- he will be their king Because they refused to return to Me.…
Cross References
John 6:44
"No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws them, and I will raise them up at the last day.

Exodus 16:32
Moses said, "This is what the LORD has commanded: 'Take an omer of manna and keep it for the generations to come, so they can see the bread I gave you to eat in the wilderness when I brought you out of Egypt.'"

Leviticus 26:13
I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of Egypt so that you would no longer be slaves to the Egyptians; I broke the bars of your yoke and enabled you to walk with heads held high.

Psalm 78:25
Human beings ate the bread of angels; he sent them all the food they could eat.

Jeremiah 31:2
This is what the LORD says: "The people who survive the sword will find favor in the wilderness; I will come to give rest to Israel."

Jeremiah 31:3
The LORD appeared to us in the past, saying: "I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with unfailing kindness.
Treasury of Scripture

I drew them with cords of a man, with bands of love: and I was to them as they that take off the yoke on their jaws, and I laid meat to them.

drew.

Songs 1:4 Draw me, we will run after you: the king has brought me into his …

Isaiah 63:9 In all their affliction he was afflicted, and the angel of his presence …

John 6:44 No man can come to me, except the Father which has sent me draw him: …

John 12:32 And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to me.

2 Corinthians 5:14 For the love of Christ constrains us; because we thus judge, that …

of a.

2 Samuel 7:14 I will be his father, and he shall be my son. If he commit iniquity, …

I was.

Leviticus 26:13 I am the LORD your God, which brought you forth out of the land of …

take off. Heb. lift up. and I laid.

Hosea 2:8 For she did not know that I gave her corn, and wine, and oil, and …

Psalm 78:23-25 Though he had commanded the clouds from above, and opened the doors of heaven…

Psalm 105:40 The people asked, and he brought quails, and satisfied them with …

John 6:32-58 Then Jesus said to them, Truly, truly, I say to you, Moses gave you …

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