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…
A weeping willow stood by the side of a pond, and in the direction of that pond it hung out its pensive-looking branches. An attempt was made to give a different direction to these branches. The attempt was useless; where the water lay, thither the boughs would turn. However an expedient presented itself. A large pond was dug on the other side of the tree, and as soon as the greater quantity of water was found there, the tree of its own accord bent its branches in that direction. What a clear illustration of the laws which govern the human heart. It turns to the water — the poisoned waters of sin, perhaps — but the only streams with which it is acquainted. Remonstrate with it, and your remonstrances are vain. It knows no better joys than those of earth, and to them it obstinately clings. But open to its apprehension fuller streams, heavenly water; show to it some better thing, some more satisfying joys; and then it is content to abandon what it once worshipped, and turns its yearning affections heavenward.
(J. A. Gordon, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: 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.