New American Standard Bible
Do not be as the horse or as the mule which have no understanding, Whose trappings include bit and bridle to hold them in check, Otherwise they will not come near to you.
King James Bible
Be ye not as the horse, or as the mule, which have no understanding: whose mouth must be held in with bit and bridle, lest they come near unto thee.
Darby Bible Translation
Be ye not as a horse, as a mule, which have no understanding: whose trappings must be bit and bridle, for restraint, or they will not come unto thee.
World English Bible
Don't be like the horse, or like the mule, which have no understanding, who are controlled by bit and bridle, or else they will not come near to you.
Young's Literal Translation
Be ye not as a horse -- as a mule, Without understanding, With bridle and bit, its ornaments, to curb, Not to come near unto thee.
Psalm 32:9 Parallel
CommentaryBarnes' Notes on the Bible
Be ye not as the horse - The horse as it is by nature - wild, ungoverned, unwilling to be caught and made obedient. The counsel referred to in the previous verse is here given; and it is, that one who wishes to obtain the favor of God should not be as the wild and unbroken horse, an animal that can be subdued only by a curb, but should evince a calm, submissive spirit - a spirit "disposed" to obey and submit. If he becomes a subject of God's government, he is not to be subdued and held as the horse is - by mere force; there must be the cheerful submission of the will. People are not brought into the service of God by physical power; they are not kept there by an iron "curb." They come and yield themselves willingly to his law; they "must" come with that spirit if they would find the favor of God.
Or as the mule - The mule is distinguished for its obstinacy, and this is evidently the ground of comparison here. The meaning is, be tractable, gentle, yielding; submit to the guidance and direction of God and his truth.
Which have no understanding - That cannot be controlled by reason and conscience. They are governed only by power and by fear. People have reason and conscience, and they should allow themselves to be controlled by appeals TO their reason and to their moral sense. They are not made to be governed as brutes are. Since they have a higher nature, they should permit themselves to be governed by it.
Whose mouth must be held in with bit and bridle - More literally, "in bit and bridle is their ornament to restrain them;" that is, the trappings or the ornaments of the horse and the mule consist of the bridle and the bit, the purpose of which is to restrain or control them. The allusion, however, is not to the bit and bridle as an "ornament," but as the ordinary trappings of the mule and the horse.
Lest they come near unto thee - Or rather, "because of its not approaching thee;" that is, because the horse and the mule will not come to thee of their own accord, but must be restrained and controlled.
LibrarySelf-Scrutiny in God's Presence.
ISAIAH, i. 11.--"Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord; though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool." These words were at first addressed to the Church of God. The prophet Isaiah begins his prophecy, by calling upon the heavens and the earth to witness the exceeding sinfulness of God's chosen people. "Hear, O heavens, and give ear O earth: for the Lord hath spoken; I have nourished and brought up children, …
William G.T. Shedd—Sermons to the Natural Man
Heroes and Heroines (Whitsunday. )
Question Lxxxiii of Prayer
Epistle Xlvi. To Isacius, Bishop of Jerusalem .
Now if we put the bits into the horses' mouths so that they will obey us, we direct their entire body as well.
"Because He has loosed His bowstring and afflicted me, They have cast off the bridle before me.
A whip is for the horse, a bridle for the donkey, And a rod for the back of fools.
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